Prague: A Drag Cabaret & Losing all my clothing...

Trip Start Jul 07, 2009
Trip End Jul 29, 2009

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, July 17, 2009

We arrived refreshed and ready to hit Prague. We would recommend the overnight train (sleeper cabin) for any backpackers. We both agreed that we’d slept better on the train than we had in any of the hostels we’d stayed in to this point.

We dropped our backpacks off at our hostel (Chili Hostel, Prague 1). It was extremely hot, so we changed into boardies, singlets and jandals/flipflops/thongs (given our multi-national readership, these will be known from here forth as JFT’s) before we headed out to enjoy the city.
We walked through Petrin Park and up to the Petrin lookout tower, stopping to have our photo taken at the statue of the most famous Czech romantic poet, Macha Karel Hynek (we were told that it is a Czech tradition and good luck for couples to have their photo taken here), before strolling across to Prague Castle – reputedly the largest ancient castle still in existence today. The castle has great views of the city and in particular the Vlatva river and the famous Charles Bridge. On the way back to our hostel, we stopped in at Tingl Tangl bar to sample a few of the finest Czech Pilsners. Mine is a Staropramen please. By chance, Tingl Tangl bar also happens to be a drag cabaret venue...

We returned to the hostel and checked in after a thoroughly enjoyable day out. This is when things started to go south. We went to our room (a ten bed dorm) to find no empty beds and to hear that four Australian girls had had their bags slashed and anything of value stolen from their locked hostel room. This should have been an omen of things to come, as we soon discovered that John’s backpack had been stolen from the hostel luggage room. While clearly undermanned, the hostel staff were apathetic, unsympathetic and generally unhelpful. We got the distinct impression that instances of theft from this hostel were commonplace. Not knowing quite what to do, we called the tourist police who duly sent a patrol to investigate. Needless to say the police were no better than the hostel staff. They initially refused to provide a police report documenting the theft and reprimanded us for wasting police time and for attempting to de-fraud our insurance providers by making a false claim. Quite ingenuous really… next time I go traveling for 6 months, I will intentionally set out to have all my worldly possessions stolen… at the start of the trip. We were fortunate that we either left in a security deposit, or carried on our person, anything of true value (monetary or sentimental).

After an hour or two of discussing different options we decided that we were made of sterner stuff and that we would continue on with the trip. A short trip to the nearest shopping mall and a few purchases later and we were ready to continue. John is now kitted out in tight and bright Eastern European fashion… I like, it’s nice!

The next day dawned wet and cold (much to john’s chagrin as his wardrobe now consists of JFT’s, boardies, a hoodie and four tee’s), but we decided that a day trip to Kutna Hora was still on the cards.

We were told that Kutna Hora Ossuary is a must-see by Chlo’s brother, Adam, and we were not disappointed. For centuries, Kutna Hora Ossuary has been one of the most famous European and Bohemian cemeteries. This fame is attributed to sacred earth spread over the cemetery grounds by the Abbot of Sedlec upon his return from the holy land in 1278. There are the remains of approximately 40,000 people in the Ossuary and Cemetery. These remains were excavated in the early 16th century by a near blind monk and were piled against the side of the church, where they remained until the 18th century when the Czech wood carpenter, Frantisek Rint, was commissioned to create bone arrangements. Among others arrangements, bone pyramids, chandeliers, candelabras and a coat of arms now adorn the lower chapel. Truly fascinating… if a little morbid.

We walked the old town before settling in for a meal and a few drinks at a traditional Czech tavern, Ruhardcka.

After the theft of Johns bag, neither of us were in the right frame of mind to enjoy the renowned Prague night scene and we were happy to be moving on to Cesky Krumlov early the next morning.
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