PRAGUE– October 10, 2015 –
Apparently the Czechs love their legends and superstitions. If it’s it not a story about a lovelorn brewer who makes a pact with the devil or dying within a year after trying on the crown jewels when you’re not supposed to, it’s rub a statue’s penis or rub the breasts of the bridge lady (statue) for good luck.
The Czechs have reason to be mired in superstition. For over a thousand years, until 1989, they were oppressively ruled by warlords, drunken kings, the Romans, Nazis, Communists, and a lush of a president who likes to steal pens.
The walking tours are pretty good if you don’t have a lot of time in Prague. They’re good even if you have time. Beware that the “walking” part really means forced urban death march over a 10-square pile of ill-spaced, ill-placed, ill-sized cobblestones. This decision of urban planning, I’m sure, was a brilliant feat of social engineering and putting Darwin’s theory into practice. For example, elderly people are culled from the herd as at some point early in middle age they trip and break legs, hips, or necks on Prague’s cobblestones and are never seen or heard from again. Brilliant.
I feel completely authorized to speak for all Czech historians as I signed up for three walking tours; The Castle Tour, The Old City and Marketplace Tour, and the Beer Tour. As my Fitbit will attest I logged over 50K steps on the combined tours. My liver will also attest I managed to give the average Czech a run for his money in beer drinking.
Wikepedia and our Beer Tour guide, a French woman (!?!), says that Czechs drink an average of 160 liters of beer a year. That is about pint a day, making the Czech Republic the biggest beer consuming country per capita in the world. The USA ranks 14th. With gloomy weather, hardly any vegetables (sauerkraut is considered a vegetable here), and constant fear of snapping an ankle what else is there to do but drink beer? Plus, it’s good!
The food is all soupy, stewy and stinky. They have strange names for menu items like uncle’s fingers of pickled cheese, pork knee, gulash (ghoulass if you ask me). Other than the pork knee it’s all soupy and probably from the same pot. I recommend trying the horse. Seriously. The chicken gyro wraps at 2a.m. are the best though.
On every corner you can see the amazing influence of American democracy, freedom and a little future obesity; KFC, McDonald’s, Subway, Starbucks, Hooters, Burger King, TGiF’s. It’s a vey sad sight indeed. I mean, hey, where are the good American influences like Arby’s and Chili’s? Maybe after the next revolution.
All sarcasm aside ( difficult for me to do), Prague is a great city. It’s very affordable. The tourists are friendly and from all over the globe. Czechs all speak English. You can’t walk two feet without stumbling over a 400-year-old landmark. And, if you wait till the moment you’re about to leave, the sun may make a brief appearance. Oops, just a tad of sacrcasm again.
Praguoosians also love humor. Asking for the Czech in a restaurant always gets a laugh. Tapyour lapel and say; Czech, Czech, microphone Czech. Can you hear me? At your hotel, ask when Czech out time is? I’ve got a million of them.
Editor’s Travel Tips to Prague: Careful exchanging money. They will take advantage of your naïveté. Negotiate cab fares before you get in. Avoid driving here if possible. Bring good shoes. Always carry a jacket. Put your money in your front pocket. Validate your streetcar ticket. Don’t stare at your iPhone while walking past beautiful sights. Don’t use a selfie stick unless you want to look like a dork. If you must go to Starbuck’s, go in the early early morning to avoid being detected by me.