just Czeching in

safe to say I am really falling behind on the travel blogging, since this is only my third post, it's about Prague, and I am writing it in Bangkok. 


blame it on the bad internet or the magically disappearing scheduled posts or the crazy sleep deprivation. definitely don't blame my unreliable personality. 
well, here's more Prague!
I promised more architecture shots, and I got bunches of 'em, interspersed with ramblings on what I did while I was there. 

the rambling is symbolic, you see. you can meander confusedly through this post the way one might meander the winding streets of Old Town Prague. 
nailed it.

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I did a LOT of walking in Prague, and an uncharacteristically high amount of walking tours. I'm not always a tour person- I like to plan my days myself and see things at my own pace. but sometimes I do like a walking tour on my first day, like an orientation of sorts, and the hostel offered a free one, so why not, right? I had such a short time in Prague and didn't really know much about the city (I was sans guidebook for once) and after the great experience of that very first tour, I stuck with what worked. 

I did three tours with Good Prague Tours, and let me tell ya, they were more like GREAT Prague Tours!
bet their marketing team couldn't come up with that gold. 

the first free walking tour was a great way to see all the main sights and really get my bearings. our guide was Lucie, and she was fun and informative and super helpful. at the end of the walk you got a discount if you wanted to do more with that company, so I added the Prague Castle tour for a taste of Prague history, and the beer tour for a taste of... well, beer.

for the Castle tour our guide was V (he had a very Czech name and just told us all to call him V) and he was funny and really knew his stuff. touring the Castle seemed better than aimlessly wandering without really knowing what I was looking at, and as a bonus, V brought us to the John Lennon wall at the end. 

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for the beer tour our guide was James, and like his aforementioned colleagues he, too, was nice and really knew his stuff. plus he had the added challenge of keeping track of and speaking over about 15 drunk people, so kudos to James. 

people will tell you that beer tours are a waste of money- you can go anywhere and get a beer, just go to the bars, blah blah bah. but what I like about them is that you get a little cultural insight, you get to learn a little, and you get to meet people who have similar interests to you- in particular, traveling and beer. 
it's especially helpful if you're traveling alone and want to both a) experience a little nightlife and b) not be murdered. 
(side note, that was mostly a joke; Prague is extremely safe for ladies traveling alone. I only mean that if you're nervous or also just in general don't fancy drinking alone- which I don't- beer tours are very social!)

with that in mind, I did a second beer tour in Prague. 
Czechs are all about beer, you guys. it's a big deal. I needed to really immerse myself in the culture. completely necessary. 

this one was with Urban Adventures, and was actually very different from the one with Good Prague Tours. this tour had bar snacks included, and the group was smaller and less rowdy- which could be a pro or a con depending on your mood. our guide was Casey, and he took us outside the center of Prague for a different neighborhood experience. I had a great time and enjoyed learning a little about Czech beer culture. plus, the food and beer was fantastic! 

the Good Prague beer tour seemed a little more mainstream and touristy (again, could be a pro or a con) and the crowd was younger and more boisterous. I chatted a lot more with the group, and got more of a Prague "party vibe". great time once again.

overall I'm really glad I chose to do two beer tours, because they were very different experiences. I'd recommend Urban Adventures if you want a more intimate setting, but the vibe definitely depends a lot on the people who end up in your group. Good Prague Tours is more drinking-focused (shots were involved) and seemed to attract younger people (much, much younger than me). but I'm sure the group dynamic varies a little. 

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and that about covers the sightseeing and walking I did in this remarkable city! I haven't filled you in on much else yet, but Prague was definitely my favorite stop in Europe. I had such a fantastic time there- everything was five stars, would see again.

at the end of this post I included a little more info (MORE info Sarah? geez you're a bit of a windbag yeah I know, I know) and reviews of stuff from Prague if you want the specifics (ones that I can remember). 

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food & drink stuff:

first off, I'm a big dummy and didn't write down the names of places I ate or drank. mostly because  they were stopovers on one of my bazillion tours, but also because they were written in Czech. I wish I had made better notes, but live and learn! I shall improve!

I do, however, have a few general notes about Czech food and beer that I can share, and hopefully they will guide you to your own delectable discoveries.

- Prague is really rough on vegetarians. they basically eat only meat and dumplings- the only vegetable I had while I was there was cabbage. it was delicious cabbage, but still.
- Czech food is yum, though! it's all very rich and hearty and tasty. don't be afraid to try it!
- goulash is actually a "meat soup," which sounds unappetizing, but tastes fantastic. it's always just a little bit of beef, a lot of liquid on a plate (yep a plate) and huge bread dumplings to soak it up.
- svickova is my favorite Czech dish; beef in cream sauce served with cranberries and... yep, more dumplings.
- nakladany hermelin is the best bar food ever; it's a marinated cheese and comes with Czech bread, which is always fantastic.
- Petnika is the bar that we visited on the UA beer tour and it had my favorite beer in the city; Unetice 11,5 Zitna Special (rye beer). also great bar snacks! a little outside city center, but easy to get there by metro.
- Czechs invented lager, and most of their beers are pilsner/lagers. you can still find other kinds of beer, but they aren't as common or traditional.
- beer is crazy cheap and most people will have one with every meal (I've been told even breakfast). you can get a small one if you're wary of getting day drunk.
- more foam is better and never, ever scoop it off!
- beer is the most important thing in Czech culture and if you like it at all you should do some research or go on a tour because there is just no way I can accurately convey its importance.

review stuff:

the Czech Inn/ St. Christopher's: stayed at this hostel. big fan of the first name, not so much a fan of them having two names. confusing for the airport shuttle. I stayed in a female dorm and it was big and clean and quiet. there's a bar in the basement that I never went to (see: above beer tour rants). the staff is very friendly and helpful. the internet sucks.
★= 4/5  

Prague public transport: safe, cheap, easy to use.
trams are frequent and very efficient. stops are always announced and displayed, so it's hard to miss. if you end up going in the wrong direction, just hop off and walk across the street- they take the same route both ways. my hostel sold tram tickets and day passes, but you can usually get them at convenience stores nearby stops (if you can't find a ticket machine).
the metro functions pretty much the same way, but obviously you can buy tickets at the stations.
★= 5/5

Good Prague Tours: find all their stuff here. I didn't get to check out the Bone Chapel, but it sounded pretty cool.
★= 5/5

Urban Adventures Prague Beer & Czech Tapas tour: find all UA Prague tours here. I really like this company, and they do tours all over the world (of which I've done several).
★= 5/5

as you can tell, there was not much I didn't like about Prague...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the info. Lots of beer, eh. Beautiful pics.