I realized that I have hardly written anything about Prague except for the first month or so I was here. It’s easy to focus on the other trips since Prague is my day to day life. Here I wanted to talk about some of the things I’ve done and my favorite places in Prague.
Thinking of specific things I have done in Prague is actually difficult. I go out and do something most nights of the week so a lot of the experiences blend together. In general, most of my free time is spent in parks, in pubs with friends, or walking around the city. The pub is a part of life in Czech Republic, and it has become that way for me also. Whenever I meet friends, it’s usually to go to a pub to hang out there. We rarely go to anyone’s apartment since it seems pointless to be inside when we could be doing something around Prague. One particular pub that I really like is uniquely called “The Pub”. There are several locations around Prague, but it’s unique because each table has its own beer tap. Each person takes a number in the system to track the amount of beer they drink, and then when you’re done, they can split the bill accordingly. The beer is definitely always fresh! Another cool pub I’ve been to is set up where there is a train track system going to each table. After the waiter takes your order, a few minutes later a train will bring out the drinks right to your table. Of course each pub is different…some of the local pubs are very smoky but cheap beer, and some are higher scale and a bit more pricy. One thing that is consistent is that they rarely ever let you have an empty glass. Almost every time before you’re finished with your first, they’ll ask if you want a second. There are even places that will bring you out your second beer without even asking if you want it. Many local places keep track of your bill in a funny way; they’ll have a small sheet of paper and just keep a tally. Each time they bring another beer, another tally on the paper. Hardly any of the pubs have TVs, so it’s not like your typical American sports bar. I think that’s why it’s always fun to go to pubs here, since it’s always a friend or a group of friends just socializing.
Prague has many parks throughout the city, and this is something I’ve really enjoyed while living here. A few of the best are Riegrovy Sady, Letna Park, and Petrin Hill. Riegrovy Sady is located pretty close to the center of the city and makes up probably 2 or 3 city blocks. The one side is located on a hill, which on a warm day is full of people sunbathing, playing sports, and just hanging out. From here, there is a very nice view of the Prague Castle in the distance. I’ve spent several Sundays with friends just hanging out on the hill. On the other side of the park, there is a large beer garden full of tables and a big screen projection TV (good for watching sports). Letna Park is located fairly close to where I live with just about a 20 minute walk. It’s located on a hill overlooking the city, which are really nice views of main part of the city. The park is probably ½ mile long and ¼ mile wide, so it’s one of the bigger parks here. On the side closest to me is the beer garden, which is great for studying/writing this blog during the day, and hanging out with friends at night. Petrin Hill features Prague’s own mini Eiffel Tower called Petrin Tower, which was modeled after the real Eiffel Tower. Petrin Hill is a favorite for an afternoon walk on the weekend. Full of various gardens, the nice views of the city (if you can get a view past the trees, or go to the top of the Petrin Tower), and plenty of green space. Also on the hill is Strahov Stadium, seating a modest 220,000 people…or the second largest sports facility in the world behind the Indianapolis Speedway.
On Friday, I finally bought a used bike. I’ve been looking at them for a while and finally found one that I liked at a decent price. I always forget how nice it is to have a bike, especially in a city. It’s a great way to exercise, and I think it’s much more fun that running. With biking, you can see much more of the city than running. On Saturday morning, I took off on the bike path along the river right outside my apartment and followed it through the city and then south. In the 4 months I’ve been here, I had never seen much of that part of the city. In total, I think I went probably 5 miles south of the city center. Czechs are big into biking and roller blading, so there were many people out on a Saturday.
Along the way, I saw some people playing a sport that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It was a sport made up of two teams, and each player was in a type of kayak. They use a ball to pass around and try to get it in a goal that is elevated 10 feet or so. The upper body strength of the players really impressed me. They had to move their kayaks as quick as possible while also focusing on catching and throwing a ball (the size of a soccer ball) with absolutely no help from their legs.
On the way back to the city center, I stopped at a little street vendor on the bikepath and got a kielbasa sausage and a potato pancake. I needed lunch, but I think that made up for the calories I burned on the bike ride.
Earlier today (Sunday), I went for another bike ride. This time I went north of the where I live and got lost very quickly. I tried to follow a bike path on a certain route, but the path starts and stops without notice and I had trouble finding it again. I ended up by the Prague Zoo, which is maybe 4 or 5 miles from my apartment. I was already exhausted so I just took the bus back to the metro.
Last week, I was at the Letna Beer garden with some friends. Naturally, I took my phone out of my pocket and put it on the table, something I’ve done many times before. I was talking with my friends when a guy came over standing and set his beer on the table. I didn’t look at him, but he looked and smiled at my friends I was with. Then he picked up his beer and walked away. About 15 minutes later, I looked in my pocket for my phone…nothing. Looked on the table…nothing. Within a minute later, we realized that the guy had swiped my phone! I still can’t believe I let someone steal something right in front of me. I still feel cheated but feel it was my fault by being so careless. Luckily it was just a phone and I can learn from it. My British friend is nice enough to let me borrow her phone since she is leaving Prague for good.
That’s all for now. Looking forward to seeing everyone in August!