Arriving in Prague, Maarten and I had not yet been able to arrange a place to stay, due to little luck on CouchSurfing and no need to spend half our budget on accommodation. This meant we had to go in old style; Knock and ask. As always, it gave results and that at the first house we tried. Warmly welcomed by the family’s dog we set up our tents in the garden to then grab a beer with our host Jan. On our way, he did a short show and tell about the city. Funny, we often seem to wander upon those that travel too. Jan, if that even is his name, is a man fond of hikes lasting a few days, often taking his little kid and dog with. This usually in the nature or mountains. The conversations went well and he felt comfortable enough with us staying until friday, whereas they were then going on a skiing trip.
Lost in Prague
The first days of actually exploring the city, rather than laying on the grass in the park, I spent most of it in the centrum with all the shops. The area is so big, that it was still roughly 15 kilometers to get there. Maarten and I both agreed it would be nice to walk around the town seperate. Our bikes would be the meeting spot, which we left at a complete random spot. Me, quickly distracted and who goes in whatever direction seems most appealing, alone in this big of a city, sounds like a great idea.
Hours and hours of sauntering and still dozens of streets I have not even had a glimpse of. Between the hundreds of shops, it was filled with all kinds of people; A few street artists, lots of segway traffic, obvious and almost obnoxious Americans on a trip with school, high ‘comedians’, beggars, big crowds of Asians holding big camera’s, men of colours advertising a casino or ‘special’ club and some Dutchies here and there. It was so busy everywhere and I quite enjoyed disappearing in the crowd for once, observing the others. I found myself on a crafts market, one where not many have it in them to resist buying that item you want so dearly, which includes me. I bought a beautiful, hand-made writing book. A smile appeared on the man’s face as I complimented his work and I now have his card, may I ever want to order a new one, with my own design. Awesome! 😀 Nearing the deadline of the meeting time, I thought it was a great timing to return. Now, where did I come from…?
On the day after, we again went into the town to explore some places we hadn’t given any time yet. I stood on the bridge gazing at the small movement of the water with the sun dancing over the little waves, before heading into the loud, crowded city. Capital city, 1.3 fucking million people and who do I come across? Hana and Hana… Such a small world.. In the few minutes we had, before they had to rush to the Opera, the three of us were able to do some catching up. We all found it crazy to meet each other again in such a busy street. Then when I returned to my bike to grab something, I realised my bike was left unlocked. Too busy giving myself a lecture on how stupid I am, I forget to lock the bike again.. (Please go easy on me 🙈) Thank goodness that nobody here likes bikes, on exception for the mountainbike even though it is only used for in the city.
On the night of going out, both of us were fairly in the mood of a game of billiard. First we tried the Louvre, which might have been a bit too fancy for us.. I stood there, in my dirty jeans, Iron Maiden shirt and with my hair messy as people watched with a broad smile. The guy handling the pool tables told us they were all fully booked, but I would not be surprised if he just wanted us gone.. Luckily, a few blocks further was a great bar for a game of billiard. Here we were accompanied with a Sheldon Cooper look-a-like (even wore a “Bazinga” shirt) as neighbour. A few games were played before heading back. “Beer geek”, was the name of a bar we walked by. Interesting enough, thus we went in. Seeing a beer with Dutch naming, had made it easy to make the decision. “Hell and damnation” and “Blood, sweat and tears” were our choices. There is a reason they have been given that name we found out.. Disgusting! Walking back, a homeless person asked us if he could play us a song on his guitar. He was actually quite good at it and that for someone who taught himself. Afterwards he told us about his time in Amsterdam before sending us away in a polite manner.
The best part of Prague (in my opinion)
Finally some luck on CouchSurfing; Martin, a previously tried host, was back in town and we could stay in his flat appartment from Saturday evening until Monday morning. It all worked out pretty well, I must say. Only one night without a place, we dropped our tents only a little bit from Jan’s and went back into town, whereas I this time spent most of it in the old part, over the Charles Bridge. That’s where I was for the last days as well. In this time, I visited the castle and cathedral for a quick glance which are massive, of Gothic style and absolutely stunning. From all the way up there I had view of the entire city. The only part there I was not as fond of, was that there was no food both healthy and in my price range. All the prices were tripled, due to it being a touristic place.
On the bridge I had chats with the local artists, one claiming to be the best of whole Prague, listened to the street perfomance and watched the people walk past. I was making my way to a classical concert, something I have never been to before. Calmy making my way there with plenty of time left, I stopped by the water with a dozen of swans. So majestic. After, I went for a stroll in the park with beautiful trees and with pheasants and peacocks walking freely. As the peacock moved, the colours of it’s feathers changed. In the meanwhile some folks were feeding it anf trying to to pet them. The concert itself was amazing! It lasted for an hour, one I am glad to have given for it. It was an incredible play and a great way to end the day my time in Prague.
It was already our day of departure again and my alarm clock woke me early in the morning (4AM) as I wanted to go and see the Charles Bridge and surroundings at night, on a more quiet time and be witness of the sunrise. The bridge was empty on exception of two patrouiling cops and an handful of Asian people photographing all around. It was a pretty sight, all the beauty I had seen before, yet now in dark. Especually the castle! I could see little of the sunrise, nonetheless it was super.
When I came back, Martin was up about to guide us out. Before we could leave though, Maarten’s tire needed fixing. And another one gone… Luckily, it was only little later when we could proceed cycling across the scary, dangerous roads.
*5th of April – 10th of April*