Prague Trip Report: Day 3 – Bye bye money, a sausage and a castle.
by Dr Anthony D. Cliffe
I slept right through tonight, a combination of exhaustion and my brain realising that no real threats existed in the apartment. I guess they could kill me at any time but I was hedging my bets that they wouldn’t do that…at least not tonight anyway! I did have a weird dream about being stranded by the both of them on this giant escalator however. Their dream selves were not very kind! At some point in that dream Laura was speaking Chinese. I was confused as to if I was dreaming or I was awake. She was incredibly loud and why she was speaking Chinese I have no idea, so I assumed I was still dreaming. I have a little chuckle to myself about the dream and the appearance of the Chinese speaking Laura while I was in the shower. While getting changed I could hear the both of them talking and Laura laughing. After I exit the bathroom I tell them both about my dream and how they left me on a huge escalator (to which they both agreed they’d totally do that in real life too. MEAN!) And then I explain how Laura appeared to be speaking Chinese really loudly in what I thought was a dream. Turns out Laura was actually sleep talking but in English much to Katie’s amusement after being terrified anyway. Why my brain translated it to Chinese I’ll never know!
Today we planned on going to the castle and then going for a walking tour. On our way to the castle we crossed over another fancy bridge (Yey! Bridges!) And had our obligatory morning selfie. One thing we learnt is that Czech drivers love to speed over bridges!
Looming up after the bridge was a ton of steps that snaked up a hill to a weird pendulum thing but offered just the best view of the city. It was amazing! The view of the city and the bridges was stunning, all surrounded by a stunning park and gardens. What a hidden gem! To top it off a Czech Military Hind helicopter (very rare to see so happy Avgeek) graced the city with its presence! You couldn’t ask for anything more.
We spent ages trying to find the entrance to the castle which is far harder than you actually would expect! The streets around there were so beautiful though that it almost felt like I was walking in some sort of Alex Rider novel! Especially as these amazing old houses had some armed guards outside. This certainly was the rich area of Prague! Eventually we found our way to the castle and made our way inside.
After finally going through security which was more of a brief half arsed look through the bag and the guard asking me if I was carrying any knives in there, to which I replied no. This was sufficient enough for him to stop the search and wave us through. Thank god all terrorists are truthful people hey!
We were greeted by a large impressive court yard with these fancy buildings all towering around us. To the left was a long snaking queue towards the information office which had tickets underneath the sign. We had no other choice but to join the back of the queue and wait. We were in the queue for no longer than two minutes until to the right of us was a smaller building with a door that also said information and tickets. Me and Katie kept our place in the queue while Laura went into the building to scope it out to see if we could buy tickets from there. After some trouble with opening a push door by pulling it, she disappeared inside. She was gone for five minutes with no word from her and by this point we were pretty close to the entrance to the original building. I tried to phone her and Whatsapp her but I got no response. We decided that Katie would now hold our place in this line while I went on a rescue mission. After entering the building there she was just about to pay for her ticket. “I tried whatsapping you!” she shouts. Fair enough I notice my data hadn’t even connected. Doh! I wave Katie over and we join a very short queue. Why every other moron was standing in a big ass snaking line in the sun is beyond me! There were many different ticket options, you could walk around the palace and the cathedral for free but you couldn’t go in anything unless you paid. Ticket prices for admission were very reasonable and with an International Student card you could get almost half price tickets! Well, that’s if you were a student aged 18-26. I used my card and got my discount. Katie however despite being a full time student and having an international student card, just misses out on the 26 upper limit. The woman on the counter was very cold in pointing out that she was not 26 and would have to pay the full amount. Proper ageist!!
Me and Laura both felt guilty that we had got discounted prices but Katie had not. She may take the piss out of us “young ones” not being able to go a day without a nap but at least we got in for cheap ;)! In all seriousness though we did feel guilty and we both offered to pay the difference to her ticket. She politely declined the offer as we walked back out into the blazing sun of the courtyard. If it’s one thing I hate and that’s injustice and something being unfair, so I offered again. My offer was to hand her 50 Koruna which works out at around £1.50. She refused again to which I state “Well, you either take it or throw it away I don’t care. I’m offering, stop being stubborn, take it!”
“I will throw it away if you give it to me Tony!” she exclaims.
Meh. I slipped the 50 coin into her pocket. I thought I was doing a nice thing and she’d just accept the offer. Big mistake! I learnt very quickly that Katie is not the type of person to make idle threats! I watch, mouth half open as she places her hand into her pocket, and weighs the weight of the coin in her hand before with a smile, launching it across the court yard. I watch as my coin skims off the cobbles and through some tourist’s legs! I was too in shock to say anything. By this point Laura was laughing and in just as much shock that she actually threw it. Both of them however burst into a massive fit of laughter when a European gentlemen in broken English taps me on my shoulder and says “You’ve just dropped 50 Koruna there”. That was the icing on the cake for them two as they had tears coming down their face from laughter. Now I’m not sure how Europeans drop money but I doubt its launching them across a fucking courtyard! Now I had no choice but to trundle through the courtyard, pick up my coin and reluctantly put it back in my pocket.
“I cannot believe you actually just did that!” I say with a laugh as I walk back to them both, I did find it very funny! I’ve known plenty of independent women before but Jesus ha-ha “Fuck me Katie you mad woman!”
“I did warn you Tony! I told you I would, bitch!”
More laughter ensued.
Katie 1 – Tony 0
I guess while I’m here I should fast forward you to another story on the last morning of the holiday. Katie was getting far too much enjoyment out of empting the water bottles and standing on them to crush them before putting them into our little bin. I was watching on in amusement from my sprawled out position on the bed. I had bought a big 7Up bottle on the second day of the trip and had barely touched it. It sat there waiting nervously at the sink as it watched its fellow bottles be crushed. “Tony, are you going to drink this or are you going to empty it and bin it?” she enquires. After a short contemplation “Meh, probably not! You can go ahead and empty it and bin it if you’d like?” I reply with a smile and wink for good measure. Katie folds her arms with a smile on her face “Tony…It’s yours, you can do it yourself!” (Edit I’m 100% sure Katie swore at me here but she recalls differently haha)
Like a scolded child I get up off my bed, empty the bottle, crush it and then place it in the bin. Doing what I was told. “See! Wasn’t so hard was it!” she quipped, her words dripping in sarcasm and laughter. “I hate you” I countered with a laugh back. For a strong independent man, I’m seriously whipped by that woman that I fear my chauvinistic ways are officially dead hahaha! I would later go on to recite that story to my parents once I got back to the UK to which both of them clapped and exclaimed “Well done Katie!” So that’s now Katie 2 Tony 0. Sigh. A worthy adversary! I’m sure that’s not the last we’ll hear of it ha-ha.
Back to day three and we follow the path my poor coin had taken only moments before. After walking through an archway we were greeted by the giant Cathedral that dwarfed everything. One of my other travel quirks besides the Hard Rock Café T-Shirts is I often try to climb the highest thing in the city to get a good view and I’ll visit their Cathedral. Often those two things go hand in hand. Usually for a small price you can walk up many Cathedrals and they offer excellent views of the city. As a photographer, I love the light in Cathedrals and the Architecture and grandeur of it all. Despite being raised Catholic and spending my High School years in a school run by Nuns, I’m very much not religious in that sense at least. So visiting Cathedrals has no draw to me other than their stunning architecture and design. There is a weird feeling about Cathedrals though. They all feel the same and it’s a hard one to describe. I guess they’re designed to make you feel like there is a presence there or a higher being watching. I do get that feeling every time I go in one. Kinda’ creeps me out! The Cathedral was stunning if not a little busy! We did try out the whispering arch ways but that didn’t work. We must have looked like right weirdos (which we are anyway I guess!) talking into archways!
After the Cathedral we were quite peckish and in a smaller courtyard with a fountain there was a Czech food vendor. I am quite partial to a bit of sausage…oh wait no. That didn’t come out right. I guess I always try to eat different sausa…actually no way can I write this without immature people (myself included) laughing or thinking of anything other than the innocence of eating a food product. What I’m trying to say is I love trying different types of sausages (stop it! You’re old enough!) and I was glad to try some proper German Bratwurst when I was in Berlin. Here, they were selling some Czech Paprika sausage, which I had to try. Especially for what was only around £3. Oh wow. It was so so good! My fellow sausage connoisseur Katie 😉 agreed that it was a far nicer, milder and sweeter Chorizo. Well done Czech people. You know how to make a sausage!
Now suitably stuffed we went to the Basilica, the golden lane which was a y’olde type street. That was pretty cool especially the row of Knights armour throughout the years and the torture chamber was pretty grim! Katie made a valid point that we’re the only species who takes pleasure in creating different types of ways to kill each other. Other animals just club each other to death whereas we like to put spikes in chairs for fun. Grim.
After that we plonked ourselves down on the floor in the courtyard with our backs against the fountain. It was so lovely to have the sun and blue skies feeling on your skin. It was lovely to just sit there and watch the milling about of fellow tourists. Now I don’t mind the sun or the heat. I’ve been in 45 degree heat before and numerous days in the desert at 38c. Summer is my favourite season…as long as I’m doing something in the sun. I can cope. If I’m just sitting there baking then after 20 minutes I can begin to hear my skin sizzle as I start to bake in my own body. For them two, they only have to look at the sun and turn brown. So. Jealous! Any burns for them in the day by time we were getting ready for bed they had already turned brown. *Sobs*. For me I have plenty of Irish blood and therefore I only have to look at the sun and burn to a crisp. Something they both found hilarious at my expense. While not once did they apply any sun cream throughout the entire holiday, I lathered myself in factor 30 constantly and still burnt! You’d think Irish heritage working on farms all day that we’d have better skin but then I remembered Ireland never gets any sun, so that makes sense! However by day 5 I did go from a brilliant white to an off white so hey, that’s a tan for me!
After 30 minutes and drinking that horrific water which now was as hot as a cup of tea, I asked politely if we could move before the very real possibility of me spontaneously combusting occurred! So on that water. While I love all types of water, I do have a tendency to drink fizzy water. I honestly don’t mind still or sparkling but for them two, sparkling water is probably on par with drinking death. They both despised it! So yesterday I mention about the whole water system in Europe. Blue Top should be still. Blue was not still to their horror. I still think it was still water but there were a few different bubbles in there. It had a horrific metallic weird taste to it. The name on the bottle was Magnesia and with a water drop logo had Mg on it. Now, they’re adamant that Magnesia was the name of the brand and that it tasted weird because it was fizzy. I drink fizzy and still all the time and fizzy water does not taste like that! I personally think for some odd reason the water had extra magnesium in it. Giving it that fizz feel but horrific metallic taste. We may never know. All you need to know was it was fucking disgusting and we only drank it because that’s all we had until we could restock later that day!
We decided that we should cancel our walking tour and to reschedule that for tomorrow. Good call guys! That gave us extra time to have a look around the place and visit the Castle. Castles in Prague are not like the Castles we’re used to but damn it was fancy! The architecture here is just stunning. It was starting to get to late afternoon by time we left the grounds of the Castle to be greeted by stunning views of the city. Which means more selfies…obviously!
Walking down the Castle steps is one of the must do things in Prague and we duly obliged as we went about our way to find the world’s narrowest street. We made a pit stop to an Italian Gelato café and once again, excellent call by the ladies! I had a mango sorbet and the girls had these really cute different flavours that were made into a little flower cones. So many flavours! Once again, curse you lactose intolerance! Grrrrr.
We found the world’s narrowest street, now I’m not sure what constitutes an alley way to a street but I guess as this narrow street down steps and between buildings led to a restaurant that counts. It’s so narrow that it has a traffic light system! That was really cool to go see and walk down.
After squeezing through the narrowest street in the world we headed back over Charles Bridge and back to the apartment. After a refresh it was back out for tea. This time, inspired by our Czech lunch we wanted to have some traditional Czech food for tea. We found a decent enough place that was underground. It gave me the feel of some Soviet Union bar/nightclub vibe. Very cool! Czech food isn’t particularly refined or looks very good! It’s Eastern European hearty food, good for those cold winter months. The number one Czech dish is Beef Goulash over there and since day one I wanted to try it. It may not look great but it tasted really good! Like the insides of a really nice beef and ale pie but instead of pastry you got bread dumplings! Katie had another Czech dish although they’ve clearly taken inspiration from their Austrian neighbours with the Chicken Schnitzel. Whereas Laura had the only real Czech vegetarian dish which is fried cheese! If that was a year ago, I know that’s all I would have eaten here!
After a good meal and an awkward selfie with the woman on the opposite table trying to avoid getting in it! We went out for another night time walk of Prague. It felt so good for everything to still feel so hot even though the sun had long set. The girls had a traditional Czech dessert which is a Trdlo. It’s basically a donut texture in a cone and Katie had hers filled with ice cream, whereas Laura went for Nutella. If I could, I think I’d have joined Laura with the Nutella choice! I did try a bit and none of us could quite place the flavour. It deffo wasn’t donut that’s for sure!
We spent hours getting lost in the city at night, just walking, taking pictures, chatting. Getting lost and just walking with no real destination is such a fun thing to do with people like these two! After a few hours we ended back up at the apartment to conclude another brilliant day in Prague. With only one full day left in Prague it was time for bed. I really don’t want to go home!