Prague – It's So Much More than a Stag City

When I booked flights to go to Prague, the person who was most excited was my Grandmother.

She told me to look out for bullet-holes in buildings and to make sure I had my fill of goulash [sadly I had none]. I distinctly remember my Mum cracking up when I told her Nan had said this, and making a remark along the lines of “oh, how morbid!”.

It was my first trip abroad for over a year, due to the sudden and unprecedented fear of flying which I had developed during my final year of university… Bougie 1st world problems, I know.

But me and my friend weren’t going to look at bullet holes – we were going for a neatly packaged, air-bnb-budget-escape from the day-to-day drag. God, what a mouthful.

The highlight of the trip was (and my boyfriend will laugh at me for saying this) the vibe.

Think: Amsterdam meets Budapest… and has a baby.

As I have tried to highlight, in that crap metaphor, Prague is a really small City. But its smallness only adds to the charm – you feel like a local within hours (if, like me, you spend the first hours of a holiday trying to cover as much ground as possible before collapsing into a bar).

The bridge is great, as is the castle, and all of the churches and pastel-coloured buildings on nearly every main road, but the real reason to go here is the side-streets and the side-bars. My friend is far better at navigating than I am, and she came up with a variety of names for the roads that we happened upon more than once; snake street, the big hill, that place at the top of Petrin Park, river road, the cobbled lane with the waitress who ‘let us take our time’ because we were smilier than the other customers.

So, places to go include:

Black Angels – A downstairs bar, situated on the square, dedicated to crafting unique cocktails and [no paps though -sorry instagrammers]

Chateau Rouge – A Jazz club and a Club-Club, insisting on live music and late night debauchery

Petrin Park – A hillside park. There’s a restaurant at the top of the hill – it’s worth the steep, steep climb. A good place for dog lovers and carb-burning.

Ungelt Blues and Jazz Club – An underground, table-service Jazz bar – be prepared to meet the musicians after the music ends, and be transported to a different era.

Visual Pleasure: 8/10 (It’s the lazy-man’s delight really. You can see it all in a few hours and then crash out in a bar and watch the world go by with a beer in hand.)

Street Food: 7/10 (I’m sure it’s better than that, we just didn’t get a chance to eat much)

Daytime Vibe: 7/10 (The bridge was just a little too busy, and it was April. Also the wall art / graffiti was good, but no match for Hackney Wick if I’m 100% honest)

Night Time Vibe: 9/10 (friendly locals, bars with ‘no cameras allowed’, men in waistcoats etc.)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Do you favour lightness or weight in your life? Reading this book will help you find out.

Taken in a plasticky, touristy restaurant in Prague where me and my best friend ate a lot of spaghetti in order to cure a hangover and ready ourselves for an evening of less touristy Jazz.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera rekindled my love of reading for pleasure.

I had the pleasure of being leant this book by the intelligent, (slightly off kilter), yet respectable mother of one of my best friends. It during was my final year of University. Everything was uncertain – except the fact that I knew I was going to become a TeachFirst teacher (I hadn’t yet figured out why on earth I was doing this, where in the country I would be sent, or what kind of person I was going to become).

I hadn’t experienced a page turner in a long time (especially not one that I hadn’t been given to read as part of my degree) and as you perhaps glean, I was in great need of escape. The fictional novel is three parts romance and one part history, and details the story of multiple narrators, all who desire love, some who desire certainty.

The backdrop to the romance (which I won’t detail any further) is Prague, 1968, and the oppressive influence of the then Soviet Union.

Call me cliched, but the book made me think, and not in the head-scratching ‘am I a bit thick’ kind of way that some of Kundera’s other fiction has . It forces its reader to consider the ways in which we enact our various different types of love, and honestly, it’s lovely.

Rating: 10/10

*Of course this rating is pointless, as are all ratings, being completely subjective in nature, but who cares!

Twenty-two year old me in Prague (a year or so after reading the novel) looking unimpressed. In reality I was really rather impressed.