Today has been my favourite day so far. It was what I wanted to do on Friday. Jump on a tube armed with my ‘lonely planet’ and the notes my Czech teacher gave me, and get amongst the city, immersing myself in the culture, the pork and the beer. Liverpool F.C, the mighty reds, were also playing today and so I hatched a loose plan of wandering around for a bit before venturing towards the sports bar that I discovered on Saturday. So, with loose plan in mind and my book and notes in bag, I hit the streets.
My first port of call was Wenceslas Square. More oblong than square and built on a slope, it took me about half an hour to complete a circuit of it. Having been blessed with this ‘mug’ for thirty-nine years, I have grown accustom to taking beauty for granted, but Prague has blown me away so far. The architecture is amazing and many of the buildings are the originals, having avoided the bombs of WWII. Of course it’s not all grand designs, as the square has been fouled by the presence of McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks etc.
I left the square and roamed the streets for a while before stopping at a café for my first taste of traditional Czech food; roast pork, cabbage and dumplings, washed down with a nice cold beer. My meal was amazing. It nullified my craving for a Sunday roast immediately.
With my belly full I took off again, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of my new city. I walked past a shop that sold Absinthe coffee and Absinthe ice cream, amongst other Absinthe related items of joy. A shop I would have to visit one day and sample the goods.
I saw shops selling Hitler masks, a busker playing what looked like a mini BBQ, a masonic club, the word “Tory” on the window of a clothes shop on the most expensive street in Prague. I saw a robot rabbit that would beat the tortoise hands down if they were to race again now. I saw a statue of a dude who, legend has it, if you touch his feet, you’ll return to Prague one day. If you pull his finger? Well I think we all know the answer to that one. I passed a statue of a pregnant ‘Tetris’ lady, where you can reverse your birth and climb inside her. I even saw a little demonstration against the war in Ukraine. So many cool things.
I eventually arrived at the bar I found on Saturday and as I was early, I had to endure the Manchester derby. I was sat at the bar on my own and so struck up a conversation with the guy next to me. He was South African; a writer who had spent the last few years in Edinburgh, and was in Prague for a few months to work on his book. He played football every Tuesday and said that he could get me a game. Awesome! He also lived about half an hour away by tram, which meant I could go and experience a bit of Prague away from the touristy bit. Keeping it real y’all.
The game ended one all and after the disappointment of the result, my new buddy invited me back to his for a quick beer and to show me the place where we’d play football on Tuesday. Not having to go to work the next day I agreed, and so we jumped on the number 9 tram and headed away from the city centre, towards the working class area. A place where, if I fancy living on the cheap whilst I’m here, I shall be spending a lot more of my time. Bring on the 20 pence beers.
After a quick beer and the exchange of phone numbers, I left my new friend to his own devices and got the tram to the tube stop and then headed home. I still can’t believe how easy it is to get around here. I normally get lost every time I go abroad, but in Prague, as long as you stumble on a metro station, you’re as good as found again.