The River from the bridge by my hostel
On Friday the 6th June 2008 I set out for Leeds Bradford airport with the intention of flying out to Prague on a free flight I had won with www.Jet2.com In the airport I met a polish guy called Andy who wanted to know if there was anywhere to smoke. He later sat down next to me in the departure lounge and we briefly discussed football and Nuts magazine in his broken English. When we boarded the plane he requested that I sit next to him which I did until we were moved into the correct seats as directed on our boarding pass. I have to admit at the time the guy made me quite nervous he was extremely friendly but unfortunately in this society that can give people a negative impression! He had a tattoo that he asked me to read out saying RSA as though it would mean something to me…it did not but I later found out that a group acronym the RSA attacked the oppressive police in the 1980’s in Gdansk and perhaps it was a reference to that.
Eventually we arrived in Prague and parting company with Andy I got into a taxi. The first taxi company Airport Taxi’s charged me a price of CZK 750 which I refused and instead got in AAA taxis which cost CZK 515 expensive but I had told the hostel I would arrive at 6pm and the time was 5.30pm so I decided to accept arriving at the Travelers Hostel in Dhloua at 5:50pm. When I entered Prague city and came across the bridge the view was fantastic and reminded me of the romantic image of Germany from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Inside the Hostel the staff’s attitude was sufficient not overly welcoming but not negative and accepted my prior booking giving me a room in a 16 person dorm.
The Dorm was on the third floor and there were 2 16 person rooms next to each other. The majority of the people in my dorm were either unable or unwilling to speak English however I had a little conversation with 2 young girls a brunette Marianne (who looked like Natalie Portman) and a blonde whose name I never managed to catch both 19 from Cambridge who had it turned out been travelling around Eastern Europe together. They were very pleasant and well educated but I guess a little bit shy however they were friendly enough.
1st beer in town
I placed my suitcase in my locker, showered and began reading (Don Quixote). The bar upstairs opened at 7pm and so I headed there for a beer hoping to find some guys ready to hit the town.
I grabbed a beer from the bar and began to speak to a group of Lads from New York. They told me they were heading out on a bar crawl however the crawl cost 15 euros and so I decided I would make my own way around town although tempted and given permission by them to join in. Heading out of the hostel I met an oldish looking man who asked if was I was from England not bothering to try to explain where Wales was I answered yes upon which he asked me whether I would buy him a beer. I laughed and said that I could not afford to. He then told me that he was joking that he was rich and asked if i would like him to buy me a beer. I briefly considered the offer as I try to go on as many adventures as possible but the risks of going with him far outweighed the benefits and so I bid him farewell and headed into town.
The first bar begrudgingly served me a beer for about CZK40.
The place itself was nicely set out and was perhaps more of a restaurant than a bar with chicken served on a spit. I asked a group of 3 English blokes in Hawaiian shirts if they could take a picture of me and then I talked briefly to them, they told me that they were on a stag party weekend at that the groom was dressed in a latex Daffydd from Little Britain costume with a pink handbag. I asked them which way to go from here and they said left so left I went.
well stocked bar!
It took a while to find another decent looking place to drink but eventually I found a small but populated bar on the side streets. Unlike the other bars this place appeared to be more of a Czech hangout than a tourist trap and accordingly the Beer was only CZK 26.
I asked a tattooed and pierced guy whether he would take a photo of me at the bar but he said no and turned his back fortunately it appears that not everyone in the Czech Repulic is as obnoxious and I met 2 girls and a guy near the bar who were sixth form students (Anna, Lucas and Kate.) Happy to take my picture they were interested to hear about why I was traveling on my own and asked if I would like to come to the night club with them. As I had only just ventured out into the Czech nightlife I told them that I was going to go to a few bars first but might meet them in there later. We finished our drinks at about the same time and went our separate ways.
For a while I was on my own but I eventually sat down outside a pub and overheard a group of lads speaking English.
I asked if it would be ok to join them and they were more than willing to let me sit and drink with them. The usual conversation was struck up about football more than anything else and we got on pretty well. We went to a different bar however there was an argument with the bartender who said we could have one drink as long as it was not on draught as the bar had officially closed. The boys were happy enough to offer to pay for a vodka and coke for me out of the stag weekend kitty and I was happy enough to accept. We then went to an expensive looking bar although it was predominantly filled with Czech’s. Many were drinking champagne and there were bottles of vodka scattered round the tables, thankfully I do not know how much a drink was there as the group bought me a bottle of Stella. While in this bar one of the party told me that a number of the group were Oldham Athletic football hooligans whether this was true I am not sure but it served as a warning that I needed to remain vigilant.
Castle lit up
We soon left there probably because of the price and the group said they were hitting a Titty Bar knowing that I could not afford it I politely made my excuses and went to look for some more new friends.
Castle and river
While walking around the streets of Prague I overheard some Irish lads talking English and decided to ask them whether it would be ok if I went to the next bar with them. They were happy for my company although they made it clear that I should consider myself Welsh and a Celt rather than English or British. We had a few beers and after a few drinking games and a few heated discussions on the merits of Liverpool and Manchester United football clubs they headed back to their hotel and with nothing to do I decided to walk back with them.
We said our goodbyes near McDonalds and I turned around realizing I was hopelessly lost. Knowing that the hostel was close to a bridge on the Vltava River and so I headed towards lower ground drunkenly asking people which way the river was. I spent approximately an hour walking up and down the river bank but I could only find 3 bridges and none of them were the one that I was looking for and so admitting defeat for the time being I decided to follow the example of the people around Prague at 2.30am in the morning and crash out until I sobered up a bit on a park bench. I opened my eyes at 4am and decided that the time had come to make a decision and so I continued to walk along the river bank past the bridges that I could see and eventually came to the bridge that I had memorized earlier. There was a great sense of satisfaction when the sun rose above the aforementioned bridge and immense happiness that I could finally retire to the bed I had paid for.
I climbed into bed at 4am and there I lay until 9am.