Czech It Out!

      6 Comments on Czech It Out!

Plans Evolve

OK, nothing new with this detail. Woody has kept one eye on airfares since we launched this trek. We got an amazing deal out to Spain, we wanted to make sure we capitalized on a fair deal coming back. While scoping out the options, he found a mega-bargain fare to Prague. “What the heck, let’s go to Prague!

Definitely Not In Spain

What a change! The weather, the food, the culture. In Prague, the olives do not have pits (they’re canned.) There is no language struggle, English is a natural second language (thankfully!)

The people sit down for dinner at “dinner time” (not 8:30 or later, as in Spain.) When the food comes, they eat, it gets quiet, they wrap up, and leave. In Spain, dinner lasts a few hours, it gets loud, it gets late. It seems drastically different, like “culture shock.” Well, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it is SO different.

Prague

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, and what was once known as Bohemia.

Map of Bohemia

Austro-Hungarian Empire in central Europe, roughly 1861-1918. (Image credit to Pinterest Family Search)

Contrary to the idyllic image of a life filled with “Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and above all things, Love” (the four tenets outlined in Moulin Rouge), Bohemia was actually the opposite. It was a country of monarchy, sovereignty and restrictive rules. Bohemian lifestyle was a much later generalization, given to drifting bands of Gypsies, who allegedly came from Bohemia. From 1948 to 1989 the Czech Republic was a Communist country… nope, no nonconformists here.

central plaza of Czech Government

Communist architecture, and still the center of the Government, but just through the arch…

The good news is, modern-day Prague is quite hip, awe inspiring, and simply a storybook destination. (Today a parliamentary system.) The house of the government is where it’s always been, and that’s just where this “storybook” begins.

Prague Castle

Just pass that communistic square… this gothic castle. Wonder if a Princess was held captive here??

Prague Castle

Maybe a part of Diagon Alley?? (Harry Potter)

I put Prague right up there with the other European biggies: London, Rome, and yes, even Paris.

guard at Prague Castle

Similar to London, they can’t crack a smile – or flirt with pretty girls

Beyond the storybook draw, it is has beautiful gardens, head-scratching public art, glorious cathedrals, hundreds of spires, and is so much more affordable. Reminiscent of Austrian influence, there are several classical music venues. After all, this home of famed composer Antonín Dvořák. Or, you can listen to avant-garde electro-pop in the late-night club, Bunkr Parukarka, a repurposed nuclear war bunker. Personally, I get a little claustrophobic, so took a pass on that venue.

buildings along the River

Almost has an Amsterdam feel to it…

They Love Their Beer, They Love Their Dogs

It is clear that Czechs love their beer – they drink more beer per capita, than any other nation in the world. It’s home to the original Budweiser. Interesting tidbit: they prefer more foam to beer. We originally thought the bar tenders were being chintzy with us, we learned otherwise. The Czech Republic is extremely dog friendly. As a matter of fact, a beer with your dog is practically a national pass time. Pups are welcomed just about everywhere: public transit, any park, restaurants. For us, there is nothing more delightful than seeing a human with their beast.

dog at beer kiosk

Next!

Bohemian At Heart

We stayed on the Malá Strana side (little side of the river) for a few days, then the Historic District.  We’ve learned the historic district is home to expats from everywhere: we met very young, teenage even, bartenders from Russia, a gal from Slovakia, and a cook from Dublin. A fellow from Pennsylvania, told us there are 20,000 American expats in this little district alone! English is the common denominator for communication. What is it that brings them to Prague? There is no one single answer, but one thing they share is the love of truth, beauty, and freedom.

spires in old town square

City of Spires

6 thoughts on “Czech It Out!

    1. Hali Post author

      We sure have loved it. We’re staying with an Armenian fellow & his sister. Super nice, and they just came back from a birthday celebration – said there were 70 family members, music and dancing “of course“. Now I’m wishing we spent a little more time getting to know them at the BEGINNING of our stay!

      Reply
  1. Michelle and Arne

    Wow! Everything was so well put and I wish so badly we were with you! This is making me want to retire even more and it’s hard to focus on mundane things like my project management class… Thanks for sharing and letting us live through you both!! Xxoo

    Reply
    1. Hali Post author

      ¡Me gusta jubalacion! Seriously, that’s how the Spanish refer to us/it. Our “retirement” is essentially jubilation… and once you put in that last timecard, you call us. We have to be there with you.

      Reply
  2. John Stipan

    Best writing ever! Pix fantastic! Gothic Church awesome! Did you get inside? How’s the faith in Prague? Love you & Woody!
    John & Brenda

    Reply
    1. Hali Post author

      “How’s the faith in Prague?. . . ” I can only say it seemed less passionate compared to Spain, but Woody was asked to remove his beanie as we entered – yes, they still allowed us inside.

      Reply

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