My main plan for the day was a four-hour tour which started at about lunchtime. Anticipating I was gonna be bloody hungry by the end of it, I snacked on a Czech sausage from a road-side stall just before-hand. The sausage was pretty tasty, and for about $2 Australian, I got a 600ml bottle of coke thrown in. In what I’m sure looked like a scene from “Carry On Prague”, I gulped it down. Whatever way you try, though, you just don’t look pretty eating one I’ve decided.
Before the tour started I also had a chance to speak to Paul from “Paul’s Tours – The Real Tour Of Prague”. Paul himself is an English expat who has lived here for ten years. When I asked him, “Why are you here? Was it love?”, he replied it was the love of beer first of all, and then the love of a woman. Ahhh….
Our tour guide was a local bloke, Mikael (sp?) who has been doing only half a dozen tours every summer for the last five years. “At first Paul asked my sister, because she was prettier”, he said. I laughed, thinking of how much he looked like one of the actors in my own extensive collection of cinematic works from the Czech Republic.
The tour is long by comparison with most city tours I’ve been on. Four hours. But that includes a 45 minute stop at a more genuinely local pub than most tourists would otherwise visit. And, although the rain and cold weather were annoying for most of the tour group – mostly young Australians actually who had it as part of their package – I never once wondered when it was going to end.
There’s a heavy emphasis on architecture and history which I personally loved, though I suspect a couple of the younger backpackers may have lost interest from time to time. “Did you hear that?”, I heard one bloke say to his friend. When he replied no, his mate said “Ah, it doesn’t matter anyway”.
There are, however, a few pop culture references, as you’re taken by the John Lennon Wall (started as an anti-commuist protest in the wake of his death) and, you’re also shown a stairwell where they shot the opening sequence of a Mission Impossible movie.
But mostly it covers several hundred years of Czech history, with a particular emphasis on Czech independance. There’s a few things you wouldn’t have known, for example, if you hadn’t been told. There are bullet holes all over the National Museum from the 1968 revolution. There is also a hidden memorial to two students from that time who died tragically very young.
Our tour leader, Mikal (sp?) was excellent. Very knowledgeable. Very funny. And very charming. And I’d recommend the tour to anyone visiting Prague.
That tour took up most of the day actually. Aside from that, I’ve had a lovely breakfast at the hostel, and now I’m back here for a quick beer and a blog.
Those staying at the hostel are quite a bit younger than I’ve been used to elsewhere. Most seem to be doing “the big trip” with ten countries in ten days. There’s a bunch of Irish lager louts for example, who seem to spend most of the day at the bar discussing sport and such. They’ve been joined this afternoon by an Australian bloke . I’ve overheard the phrase “Foookin English” more than once.
It’s been fascinating being around these young folk, a timely reminder of what I was like when I was younger. Last night, for example, I listened in to the somewhat naïve conversation of an American bloke with a Czech in which the American bloke explained about “how true revolution can be achieved”. I just know that twenty years ago I would have been that stupid American.
And then today, I overheard an Australian bloke chatting to some Scottish girls about life and culture. When one of the girls mentioned calleys (sp?) the traditional Scottish dance party, he replied “We don’t really have anything like that. I mean, we’ve got The Nutbush” which I thought was one of the most genuinely funny lines I’ve ever heard in my life.
With my transport ticket, I’ve found the city easy to get around, and the locals are friendly. The only negative thing was the toilets at Museum Station. Ewwww. And I had to pay! Still it was the equivalent to about one-third of a cent Australian, so I shouldn’t complain. Oh yeah, and they still have smoking in restaurants and bars. That’s pretty gross too. But otherwise, I’m lovin’ Prague.