They don’t call it the fairy tale city for nothing. Prague, Praga, Praha – call it what you will – looks like it was plucked right out of the story books that my parents used to read to me before bed. Cobble stoned streets, colored houses, ornate clock towers – the whole shabang.
I skipped out on Prague as a study abroad student and instantly regretted it as soon as I returned to the states. Finally, my company sent me on a trip there this past weekend and I was not disappointed. If you’re a student who’s thinking of visitng Prague, you have to look into staying at the Czech Inn. I have pretty high standards of hostels since I’ve stayed in so many, and I had heard rumors of how great this place was so going in, I held it to a high standard. Again, not disappointed. Granted, I was allowed a private room with a fellow guide but WOW. Let’s talk about the showers. I’ve stayed in a St. Regis and the showers didn’t even measure up to this one. It was one of those fancy waterfall ones that I can only hope I’ll be able to afford one day. Showering honestly felt like I was under a waterfall in Thailand or somewhere else exotic like the Amazon. I may or may not have taken two showers a day so that I could take full advantage. Beyond the showers, their beds (and most notably, pillows) are like laying your body on a cloud. A few other quick points about the Czech Inn – it’s really clean, has a great breakfast, a cool downstairs bar with awesome happy hour deals, right across from a tram station, and like most things in Prague – cheap.
Having arrived at 9:30 AM after a 12 hour bus ride, we wasted no time to start our day. As in most of our destinations, we arrange private walking tours for our students through an awesome company called New Europe. Our hilarious tour guide took us through some of the main sites of Prague including Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, and the Astronomical Clock. After, we went for a traditional Czech lunch. Just kidding, actually. We took all of our students to the local burrito spot, Burrito Loco for Mexican food. So sue me, I had a quesadilla. It’s a tough existence in a Chipotle-less world. I will absolutely recommend this place for a Mexican fix in Prague; as a bonus, they’re open late!
In terms of night life, Eastern Europe always has a tendency to get a little weird, but in a fun, I’m-going-to-embrace-this-weirdness-for-all-its-worth kind of way. We took our group first to an underground cave bar called U Sudu. Apparently smoking in crowded underground bars is actually a thing in the Czech Republic so if you go, maybe take a page from the Asian Tourist playbook and wear one of those medical masks they always seem to think is necessary when traveling. Other than that, U Sudu was a cool local spot for a beer. The best part of the night came when we went to the infamous dance club Lucerna. Seriously, this place ROCKS. Probably because we make a habit of going on Friday nights when they play strictly music from the 80’s and 90’s but it is a must do when you visit Prague. It’s very run down, definitely not clean and somehow overpriced but it is truly a blast. They have a stage in front of this huge projector screen that plays the music videos of all of the songs. I could have danced to Britney Spears and N*Sync throwbacks all night long if I didn’t need sleep.
Saturday was more site seeing. There was of course the iconic John Lennon Wall, the Prague Castle, David Cerny’s weird baby statues that actually hold pretty profound meaning and at last, a typical Czech meal of beef goulash and dumplings. These are those meals I miss when I’m on my all carb diet in Florence. Saturday night we headed to a The Pub, a chain restaurant in Europe where you have your own tap at your table and can race against other teams to see how much beer you can consume, truly a genius business idea if you ask me. Sunday morning it was up and out early for our 12 hour bus ride back to Florence. Of course, I didn’t get nearly enough of a Czech fix so I will be headed back on March 26th, kicking off a 10 day tour through Northern Europe. Stay tuned.