Prague: Christmas Town

We land in Czech Republic and it is a bit dismal. I learn that it is called the Czech stare, they have had such difficult times with all the world wars which brought depression and a low economy. But onward, we jump on the bus, transfer to the subway and head into town. Our hotel, the ICON, is right off the main square.

We try and take in our surroundings but its freezing. We drop off our luggage in this gorgeous hidden hotel with a marble stairwell. The rooms are super modern and we get a free drink with our reservation. Amy’s high school friend recently moved here so we head to the main square Christmas markets for some mulled wine.

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The markets are filled with food, wine and souvenir vendors. With the most beautiful church looming above the square we enjoy ham sandwiches and trdelniks and of course a couple cups of mulled wine. As you walk past the petting zoo you really feel like it is officially the Christmas season.

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We explore a couple alleys and find some adorable bars.Eventually we are hungry again and head to dinner spot recommended from a friend. We order the the local meat dishes of beef goulash and duck. I can only say: incredible. If I wasn’t as hungry as I was maybe there would have been a picture.

Post a couple $2 beers and all the meat we could eat we head out to Vinárna U Sudu. We learn the Sudu basically means local spot. When we walk in a couple older men sit smoking and drinking. Not the scene we were looking for, we notice there is a bar and then a further staircase below. As we descend we find little alcoves with people playing foosball, sitting drinking pints and smoking. The atmosphere was amazing, we grab a couple beers and find a spot in this brick underground alley to people watch. We hear czech and lots of British accents. Mostly we wave the smoke from our faces. We barely last 45 minutes because of how bad the smoke is. Europe, get over this please.

We head back to the hotel to crash for the morning’s tour. We walk into town around 12pm and shop some of the little stands. With a little airplane bottle of whiskey we grab some strong bow cider and head to Charles bridge for our free walking tour. I picked the free walking tour from Prague Extravaganza. It was pretty hard to understand where their meeting point is but eventually we figured out it was right at the bridge (duh). It is the coldest day of our entire trip. Thank God I had some hand warmers or we would not have lasted.

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We learn about their intense religious history and how currently the country is about 80% secular which is shocking considering the amount of religious symbols everywhere.

This trip takes us from the bridge to the John Lennon wall to Prague Castle. Couple answers; no John Lennon never went to Prague, also never did the Beatles to play a show in that city. Their music was banned when Communism ruled the country but everyone loved them nonetheless.

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Later my phone will tell us we climbed 25 stories. The view was definitely worth it.

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We finally arrive at Prague Castle and take in the ornate design on the church. Prague is called the city of 1000 spires because of all the  church peaks. Of course we find another Christmas market at the top and grab some hot chocolate to warm up. After some quick pictures the coldness has taken hold of us. We find the bus back to town and try to feel our toes again. _mg_1481

Back in town we find a restaurant and order the meat sampler. Again I wish there was a picture to share because epic doesn’t do it justice. We had 3 different sausages, duck, lamb and who knows what else. With happy bellies we head back outside to continue exploring. We need another trdelnik and some wine as we make a game plan for the evening.

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We know a couple bars we want to hit up. First is U Fleku for some home brewed beer and live accordion playing. By 11pm we were played out of the bar and had to choose another location. We found a place called Cile (chile pepper). This tiny tiny bar had the best bartender I have ever seen. With only 5 people in the bar he took about 8 minutes per drink. I would be a regular here for sure. With no next steps we decide to use the wifi to swipe on the international dating app, Bumble. Hilarity ensues and we plan to meet up with some Spaniards around the corner.

In the chaos of trying to find another method that wasn’t Bumble to text on we lost interest. It was officially midnight and we wanted to try a Czech Club. We walk over to one we passed earlier that seemed promising to find a group of 10 people outside. “Are you in line?” we ask. This group consists of a drunk Czech screaming Justin Beiber lyrics, a man eating a sandwich, a couple girls, one wasted tall man, and a couple friends trying to help him out. “It is closed for public party, we go to other club, come!” And off they start walking. Naturally decide to follow.

We go to this seedy club, like every other bar in Prague it is two flights below the entrance. Girls dance on elevated platforms, bad EDM music blasts and we learn about our new friends. At first we think we are celebrating one of their name days. In Czech everyone has a name that is associated with a day. This day is almost treated bigger than your birthday. We head to the bar and our new friend orders us Jager and Red Bull. Yum.

Someone orders champagne and we learn the real facts. Our Justin Beiber singing man is actually a famous singer. “He is on spotify” they excitedly say. We also realize that they are actually celebrating the fact that this wasted man just had a baby. So we ask, “wait where is the mom? Like he’s out drunk and she’s recovering from child birth?” “Yes” our new friend says, “would people celebrate like this in America?” I’m thinking no.

Throughly confused we decided we need to Irish goodbye here. We fly out tomorrow and who knows where this could go. We escape into the cold air and find our final meal; kielbasa, a gyro sandwich and pizza.

As we nom on the 4th meat centered meal in the past 24 hours I reflect on how different this major city is. I think the summertime would be a better experience but I am glad to have seen the Christmas markets, explored the graffiti art and met a famous Czech musician and celebrated a baby’s birth. Cheers Czech Republic.

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