The Beautiful Yet Shady Prague

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I’m pretty sure quite a lot of Indonesian girls from my generation a.k.a. the 90’s (even though I was born in 1989, ahem) knew about Prague the first time from a teenlit novel titled Love in Prague by Riheam Junianti that was popular back in 2004. I was one of these girls.

Prague was depicted as a super breathtaking city in this novel, so when I created the itinerary for my 77 Days of Euro Trip, I knew I should not skip this city. I ended up staying for 3 days and 2 nights in this capital city of Czech Republic, back in autumn 2016.

Unlike my previous posts where I re-wrote the whole stories for this blog, this time I’m going to share the raw content from my actual Euro Trip Diary — the file in my laptop that I updated everyday (okay, at least every 3 days) during my 2.5-month trip. So… enjoy! ♥

 

First Day

Because the bus departed late the night before (from Zürich), it also arrived late in Prague. I finally reached Florenc bus station at 1PM, then I went straightly to A Plus Hotel & Hostel by foot. It was, indeed, very close to the bus station. I booked this hostel using Hostelworld app. A bed in a 8-Bed Mixed Dorm cost me 32€ for 2 nights, and I had paid the deposit of 3.84€ on the app using my credit card.

I could store my backpack first while waiting to check-in at 3PM. I exchanged 50€ at Golden Exchange, a money changer nearby. I got 26.60 Czech Koruna (CZK) for every Euro. I completed the remaining booking payment by cash (807 CZK), and then went to KFC in front of the money changer to have lunch. Alright, alright, you may laugh, but I was just so hungry that I just wanted to eat something I was already familiar with. I bought 5 pieces of chicken wings, ha!

I saw something very shocking at KFC, though. A teenage couple, I believe not more than 13 or 14 years old, were making out there, in public! They were with another friend (a girl), and they just made out in front of their friend while the friend was eating and checking her phone. OMG. What the hell. They were literally all over each other, French kissing and stuff. Gross…!

Before going back to the hostel, I went back to Florenc bus station to buy a 1-Day Pass for 110 CZK. The guy at the Tourist Information Centre told me that the ticket would be valid for 24 hours after the first punch-in. You can find more information about Prague transportation system here.

I went back to A Plus Hotel & Hostel and asked for my room key. I was assigned to Room No. 109 on the first floor. When I got inside the room, there was a very old guy there. Turned out he was also a guest, and he had been staying there for about 40 days. He said he’s from South Africa, and he’s been living in some small town in Czech Republic for 15 years. He works as a tour guide in Prague. I’m not really sure why he had to stay in a hostel instead of renting a place that he can pay monthly (since he was staying that long), but anyway he seemed to be a nice person. He told me some information about the hostel (like where’s the bathroom, how to get the room locker key, etc.).

I decided to sleep before going out tonight. I had appointment for dinner with Peter Varga (my former colleague in HotelQuickly). However, I overslept for 45 minutes. I should’ve been awake at 5.30PM but I finally got up at 6.15PM instead. I took a shower as quick as possible, and I texted Peter, telling him that I would be late about 15 minutes. I told him I would not make it to Kolkovna Olympia at 7.30PM. I would try to reach the restaurant before 7.45PM.

I got confused while looking for the metro to go to the direction of Zličín. Turned out I actually entered the station from the wrong entrance. I walked as fast as I could and got into the Metro B with the correct direction. I got off at Národní třída station and then I changed to tram 9/22 to Újezd. The restaurant was only 100m from this tram stop. I arrived there at 7.43PM, but Peter actually was not there yet, so he asked me to get a table for two first.

He arrived at almost 8PM. It was good to catch up with him. I learned from Facebook the day before that he’s actually not Czech. He’s from Bratislava, Slovakia. But anyway, Czech Republic and Slovakia used to be one country, before they became independent in 1993. So basically Czech and Slovak languages are like Indonesian and Malaysian, I would say. They can understand each other, but there are different choices or meanings of vocabularies sometimes.

Peter ordered the food and the beer for us. We had Pilsner Urquell in very huge glasses! The dishes were some soup (Peter said it’s normally eaten during Christmas time), some duck meal with dumplings and cabbage, and Peter ordered dumplings with beef for himself. The soup and the duck (+ the sauce) were great, but to be honest I didn’t really like the dumplings (the one made of potato was alright, but not the other one) and the cabbages. It was just a weird flavour combination for my Indonesian tongue, haha!

We finally paid the bill (it was 750-something CZK for 2 persons). We left at 12 midnight and I took the same tram and metro to go back to A Plus Hotel & Hostel. When I got back into the room, there was actually a new girl already checked-in. She slept on the bed under mine. So good to have only 3 people, including me, in this big 8-bed room!

 

Second Day

I put my alarm at 8AM but I finally woke up around 8.45AM. I went to the toilet and bathroom, just to wash my face, brush my teeth, and put makeup. I planned to take a shower after I finish the day. It’s autumn and it’s cold out there… so yeah 🙂

I had my breakfast at 9.30AM, half an hour before they cleaned it up. It’s so cool to pay 16€ a night and have breakfast included as well. I mean, compared to the price I paid for the hostel in Stockholm… LOL! A Plus Hotel & Hostel provided buffet breakfast and it actually had quite good choices: bread, meat, cheese, cereals, milk, coffee, etc.

I met the girl (whose bed was under mine) again when I went back to my room. She is from Taiwan, and her name is Brandy. She just finished her master studies in the UK, and currently traveling for a while before going back to Taiwan. She’s checking out today as she will stay 2 more nights in Prague in another hostel, more in downtown area. Well, Florenc is also quite downtown, but I guess she meant somewhere closer to the Old Town Square… After a bit more of chit-chat, I said goodbye to her and left the hostel.

I went to the Golden Exchange again to exchange 10€ only. I got 266 CZK. Then I went to Bílá labuť stop in front of it. I took bus no. 207 and got off at Staroměstská. I strolled on Křižovnická street slowly, approaching Charles Bridge. I bought 1 fridge magnet (beer shape, 79 CZK) in a shop called Pashmina. I was shocked as there were so many tourists in Charles Bridge area. Mostly were old people, divided into groups, guided by tour guides with microphones and flags. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Charles Bridge is a very religious site. There were lots of crosses and statues, along the bridge.

I continued walking down the bridge until I reached St. Nicholas Church area. Then I just wandered around there, which I thought was the Old Town because of the buildings (but it was not, actually), going to several souvenirs shops to buy one more fridge magnet. I saw there were some fancy cars (with no roofs) and horse carriages (like those in fairytales) that you can rent to go around the city, like some kind of princess or someone important. Ha. Oh, and I also saw a lot of people taking Segways to move around!

I didn’t have internet connection so I just took trams randomly (LOL) and finally managed to get to the Old Town Square. There was a couple making soap bubbles to entertain people, and it was fun taking their photos! They were right in front of the Church of Our Lady before Týn. Beside them, there was a also a group of guys playing cello (I think), two guys coloured themselves in gold (full face and body!) and made bird sounds, and the most hilarious one was this guy in a baby cart. You can only see his face, the rest of his body is hidden behind a baby body doll and clothes. He was making baby expressions and sounds, and he played the hands and legs of the doll as well. So freaking funny! I like him so much.

In the same area, there was this Prague Astronomical Clock, which was super crowded by the old tourists. OMG. I continued walking, stopped at Starbucks to get some Wi-Fi, and then visited Sex Machine Museum – only the lobby area, though. Cause otherwise I would have to pay to enter further, and I didn’t think it would be worth it, haha. Did I mention that I also saw a few places with big ‘EROTIC CITY’ sign and images of women in kinky clothes around Prague? I wasn’t sure, though, if those places were actually shops, clubs, or theatres…

I walked around Pařížská, was thinking to take bus no. 194, but then I realized I could just take it from Staroměstské náměstí stop in the Old Town Square. I walked back there (anyway, Pařížská was just an area full of expensive brand shops such as Bvlgari, Fendi, etc.) I was waiting at that stop for a while with an old guy (who was in belief that the bus would come at 1.13PM), but finally decided to just look for metro as the bus never came even after almost 10 minutes past the scheduled time.

Since my phone was dying, I also decided to head back to the hostel to take a rest while getting my phone recharged. On the way to Můstek metro station, I passed Havelské tržiště, which is a street market, full of stalls and shops, selling mostly souvenirs. It was a pretty one!

I found Můstek station already, but I realized that I was in another shopping area… where they have shops with stuff I can still afford. LOL. I went to several shops to look for socks. I desperately needed new ones. The current ones need to be washed… badly. I finally bought 2 pairs of Fila socks for 149 CZK in DEICHMANN shop and then went back to Můstek station. Oh, btw I also managed to buy another fridge magnet in shape of Prague Astronomical Clock (30 CZK) from some stall called Miniatury. I took metro back to Florenc and rested in the hostel room while charging my phone.

I left the hostel again around 4.30PM and by then I already knew all the stations/stops I needed to go to reach the places I wanted to visit. So I took Metro B from Florenc to Karlovo náměstí to reach Tančící dům (the Dancing House). The architecture was very interesting. I didn’t go inside, though.

Tančící dům (the Dancing House)
Tančící dům (the Dancing House), Prague, Czech Republic

Then I took tram no. 17 from Jiráskovo náměstí to Národní divadlo, and then tram no. 22 to Hellichova. From here, I walked to the area where they have Lennon Wall. There were quite a lot of people there that I found it hard to even take a proper selfie, haha. There was also this busker playing guitar and he was standing right beside the big graffiti of John Lennon’s face. It was an interesting area, though. You can actually feel The Beatles atmosphere there, somehow. It’s funny cause I was reminded of the area in Reeperbahn (Hamburg) where they also had this ‘statue’ of The Beatles having a concert.

There were also some areas where people put locks on the bridge. Pretty cute. From there, I walked to Malostranská metro station and then took Metro A to go to Staroměstská. From there, I walked to Josefov, aiming to visit the Old Jewish Cemetary. I wasn’t lucky this time as the cemetery already closed at 5.30PM and I arrived there around 5.50PM. They are also closed on Saturdays as they celebrate Sabbath here. So yeah, I did not manage to check it out this time. Oh well. I didn’t even check whether they had closing time or not earlier. I thought it was just gonna be an open graveyard. Anyways… maybe I would have to pay if I could even go in, so whatever.

I saw some Jewish building there… but not sure what it was, like a prayer place or something. I saw a man with 2 policemen. The old man looked like he was homeless, and then the policemen were telling things to him. Not sure what it was about. I also saw a guy saying something very long to a girl in a metro today, and people were just peeking, and seems like the girl was finally giving him some money. He looked super weird. I was thinking what he was saying, maybe he was asking for donation or something. But he had something strange with his fingers… Aargh, I don’t know. That was just absurd. But seems like people here are used to see this in metro…

Basically I was done for the day. I went to Pařížská and waited for bus no. 194 there. I was worried the bus would not come again like the last time I was waiting for it at Staroměstské náměstí… but this time the bus arrived on time, at 6.10PM. I actually took the round way and finally reached Bílá labuť (which was strangely located quite far from the other Bílá labuť stop in front of that Golden Exchange and KFC).

I walked back and stopped at McDonald’s to spend my last 51 CZK. I bought cheeseburger and french fries and spent 45 CZK. So basically I still have 6 CZK now… which I don’t know how to spend it. Anyway…

 

My conclusion or my impression of Prague: beautiful yet a bit shady. Beautiful for its landmarks and just overall city ambience, shady for a few things I mentioned in this diary (e.g. EROTIC CITY, the weird guy getting money from a girl in a metro, and even the teenage couple making out in KFC – LOL!).

What about you? Do you have any personal weird experiences in Prague? Or is there anything specific that interests you to visit Prague? Share it to me by leaving a comment below 🙂

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Cheers ×××

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