"It's so Czech"

Let me start this post by bragging on my brilliant friend Natalie. They were basically my personal tour guide today and is essentially a walking history book on Czechia. It was a perfect balance of getting to see the typical touristy things in Prague but also a more local feel to the city. I also appreciated their love for Prague. It's truly amazing how much someone sharing their love of a place can make you fall in love with it too.
 
We started out our morning going to Vyšehrad, a historic park up on a hill that gives you an incredible view of the city. It's less touristy than other parts of the city which is a bonus.

Within the park is the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul which is beautifully painted on the inside, and has some slight sexual looking mosaics on the main doors.

Right next to the church is Vyšehrad cemetery. Unlike most cemeteries that you see in the states or the UK, the tomb stones here are each unique. Many are basically pieces of art. 

After Vyšehrad, we began wandering around the city, stopping to snap photos of the countless beautiful buildings and for Natalie to point out places where they lived and worked while studying abroad here.

As we walked around the cobblestone streets and Natalie told me about random pieces of history, I noticed a trend of random heads throughout the city. Natalie’s response? “It’s so Czech.” 

What else is “so Czech,” you ask? Well lots and lots of weird art...

…eclectic culture with a Scottish souvenir shop, an American bookstore/café, and an English fish and chips restaurant, all within 3 minutes of each other….

…Easter markets…

…and of course, food. We went to a gourmet hot chocolate shop that had countless different kinds of hot chocolate. I went with one that had a strong caramel flavour to it and it was possibly the richest, thickest, most delicious hot chocolate I’ve ever had. 

For lunch we went to Café Louvre, which is a historic café in Prague that open in 1902. It was shut down during the communist rule. Albert Einstein ate here once and I can only assume that means I too will become a famous genius after eating here.

At one of the Easter markets Natalie wanted me to try trdelník, which is similar to a donut but more cylindrical, that you can get filled with things such as chocolate or ice cream. We also got some svařák, which is essentially mulled wine.

At this point we wandered some more and made our way across the Vltava River via the Charles Bridge. After spending some time enjoying the view and chatting on the bridge, we continued walking across when I spotted a familiar face and hesitantly said “Jillian?” Around turns Jillian and Asena, both of whom I went to Bucknell with. Jillian was on spring break with some friends from medical school and Asena, who now works in Germany, was there meeting up with Jillian. 

After catching up for a few minutes with Jillian and Asena, Natalie and I continued on to the other side of the river in search of the Lennon Wall, a graffiti wall inspired by John Lennon and the Beatles. It was very much the hippie central of Prague. 

Not quite ready for dinner yet, we decided to go to a café to rest our weary feet. One thing to note about cafés here: most aren’t just a typical café with coffee, teas, and cakes but also serve alcohol. I ordered some medovina – honey wine – and Natalie got kofola which is a local soda. We were sitting at the bar, the counter of which was essentially a real life version of an I Spy book. 

Soon it was time for the most Czech thing of all: our dinner. It consisted of becherovka, beer, and goulash. It was all delicious. 

Over dinner, Natalie attempted to teach me a bit of Czech. God bless them for their patience with me as I epically failed at the Slavic pronunciations.
 
Full and sleepy, we made our way back to our hostel. Natalie went down to the bar for another drink and I headed up to our room. Upon arrival, it was still completely empty aside from the two of us. However, soon a group of 6 Americans studying abroad came in. The dorm is somewhat split in half by a wall so they were all getting ready to go out for drinks on one half while I was in my bed on the other half writing this post. One of them began telling an elaborate story of how she got really wasted in Budapest a few months ago and puked in her top bunk at a hostel with a nice Italian man Francesco on the bottom bunk. She desperately tried to cover it up, going to great lengths to get the sheets cleaned without the hostel staff finding out, but they inevitably did and laughed mercilessly at her.
 
Moral of the story: if you’re going to get so drunk that puking might be in your near future, aim to get a bottom bunk so you can vomit on the floor rather than your bed or your innocent bunkmate.