The Return to Prague

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
Trip End Sep 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Art Hole Hostel, Prague

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I visited Prague in December 2004 after my semester abroad in the UK.  I still remember how unbelievably charming it was... Old Town, Charles Bridge, cheap beer.  There weren't very many tourists and maybe that's part of the reason why I loved the city so much.  I knew that I wanted to go back to Prague during this trip to see how much it has changed.  Guidebooks warned that it was now just as expensive as London.  I arrived in the early evening via the bus and was greeted by a lovely young couple at the hostel.  After jotting down all their food recommendations, I stopped by Krcma, a quaint pub on the outskirts of the Old Town.  I was fairly hungry so I ordered the marinated cheese with crushed pepper spices and red onions with a slice of homemade Krcma sourdough bread.  That was just the starter.  I'm not a big cheese person but it was incredibly yummy!  As stated explicitly on their menu, their bread has no enzymes, no preservatives, and no artificial rising or flour improving agents.  For my main, I had beef goulash with homemade potato pancakes and dumplings.  Czech Republic is known for its beer and the people's love for the liquid goodness.  They drink the most beer out of any country in the world (157 litres per person per year)!  I had the Kozel dark beer and it was fantastic!  

After dinner, I took a stroll across Charles Bridge and it was filled with tourists.  I still remember 6 years ago, I had the bridge all to myself!  There were countless souvenir shops blasting the latest Nicki Minaj songs and hawking everything from tacky magnets made in China to 'Prague Drinking Team' t-shirts.  Chain shops like Starbucks, KFC and T.G.I. Friday's had replaced the cute family owned shops from my last visit.  Ugh.  I was not impressed. 

I returned to the hostel and a couple of friends whom I had met in Budapest were also visiting Prague.  I met up with them in the early morning to walk across Charles Bridge since there would be fewer tourists around.  It was nice to have space and not have to wrestle our way through the crowds.  We walked to Prague Castle and climbed up the south tower of St. Vitus Cathedral to get a 360 degree view of the city.  My friends wanted to do some souvenir shopping since it was their last day before flying back to Norway so we agreed to meet up later at the microbrewery, Pivovarsky Klub to try their beer and eat some pub grub.  Unfortunately, they went there and didn't see me (I was a couple of minutes late trying to buy a bus ticket) so they thought they read the wrong location and proceeded to take the metro to the sister restaurant, Pivovarsky Dum.  I waited at the original place for an hour thinking that I had mixed up the meeting time.  Long story short, I got the bartender to call the other place and attempt to find out if they were waiting for me.  Once he confirmed that they were there, I took the metro to meet them.  They were surprised to see me because nobody had informed them that I was actually on my way.  Anyways, we had a blast sampling their beers.  They had everything from coffee beer to banana beer (it actually wasn't disgusting!) to nettle beer which was green!  We did our own pub crawl and visited a couple of other places in the city before calling it a night.  It was great to see them again and hopefully I'll be able to make it up to Norway sometime to experience their 21 hours of daylight! :)
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