Here’s some stuff from when I was in Prague in February 2022. The tourist trade hadn’t started up again, so the Old Town was blessedly uncrowded for once. I was there over the weekend because I was enroute to a remote town on the Czechia/Austria border. If I’m working in border towns of Austria I often spend the weekend in the Czech Republic or Slovakia. It’s cheaper, and I fit in better there.
You know you’re in the Czech Republic when the car raffle is for a lime green Škoda. For some reason the Czechs love this colour.
I got this weird treehouse mezzanine family room at the hostel. I ended up sleeping on the single bed underneath because I wasn’t there long and I couldn’t be bothered to lug my stuff up the ladder.
See, they fucking love it. The Austrians and the Czechs have nigh-on identical buildings from the Habsburg days. The Austrians painstakingly restore everything in the blandest beige, the Czechs just slap some lime green or purple paint on it.
Ukrainian flags on a tram. The Czechs remember getting invaded by Russia in 1968 pretty well.
Prague has a complicated building numbering system where buildings have a street number like other countries (the blue sign) but also a unique building identification number for the district (the red sign). Until you get used to it, finding addresses is a pain.
There is a large Vietnamese community in the former Czechoslovakia, dating back to the 60s, so there are lots of great and cheap Vietnamese restaurants. Which is always a relief after the stooge on offer in rural Austria.
An educational view from the window of the restaurant.
There’s also lots of these weird little post-war shopping arcades in Prague. You feel like if you turned the corner at the end you might find yourself in an entirely different dimension.
Framing can do a lot for photographs.
The most uncrowded I’ve ever seen Prague Old Town. You could walk around without getting into a human traffic jam or encountering the world’s most obnoxious tourists.
A genuine Prague Defenestration! (Except they were loading up a van with sleeping bags and clothes for Ukrainian refugees, rather than disposing of annoying politicians)
There were suddenly two rival chains of pic’n’mix shops all over town. One pirate themed, one mining themed. I hope they are bitter rivals, locked in a cycle of sabotaging each other in comical ways. (Probably just some kind of money laundering thing like the ones on Oxford Street).
I can eat my overpriced tourist cake on the cliche tourist bridge, and you can’t stop me.
Pat the dog, or terrible things will happen to you.
If you want huge dumplings, giant glasses of beer, and extremely surly service, this is the place (I was already full of banh mi). I feel like Švejk himself would find some farcical way to get out of paying the bill.
I like the Czech word for theatre- divadlo. It’s literally “watching place”.
Czech and Slovak bookshops are fantastic, unlike the Austrian ones. Sadly I speak German much, much better than I do Czech.
I got this pizza slice from a kiosk at the station. I hadn’t realised it had sweetcorn on it in the dim lighting. I’m usually very against sweetcorn on pizza, but it was actually pretty good. I haven’t changed my policy though.
I was on my way to Strahov to see some bands. There’s a semi-abandoned stadium there, built for mass gymnastic displays in the communist days, which is kind of useless now because it’s too big for football. It’s sometimes used for concerts however.
Amazon has reached the panelaky.
Czech bars thoughtfully have a beer holder in the toilets. I think the beer was about £2. A Becherovka & tonic (aka Beton- the concrete) was about £3.
Czechs take their off-licences very, very seriously. And they’re also everywhere. Unlike Austria, where convenience stores don’t even exist. (I think your mother or wife is expected to cater to all your needs there).
This was at the heigh of the Bitcoin craze. Machine in the equivalent of WH Smiths in Prague station.
I always think Prague station is secretly purgatory. Low red ceilings, very confusing layout, awful food options, and a general feeling of something pressing on you.
Same poppy seed and butterstreusel pastry concept as I bought in Berlin, fucking awful execution. The centre was essentially uncooked. The cereal bars saved me.