The desire to go exactly to Prague haunted me for several years: it so happened that Europe attracts me much more than hot countries and warm seas.
In winter, it was decided – spring Prague is beautiful, and it is already warm there, so go and stop! And then another chance turned up – good friends had a wedding there at the same time. We flew with them on a group tour, while saving a lot of money on tickets.
We did not arrange a special tour. We bought tickets, booked a hotel via the Internet, and issued a visa through the agency.
4 hours flight by Czech Airlines and here we are in the capital of the Czech Republic.
The first thing that struck me already at the airport was the very friendly people.
Since no special excursions were planned, then during the week of rest all of Prague went inside and out.
The transfer brought us directly to the hotel, as it should be. The room is modest, but neat and inexpensive. And I, as a lover of walking, needed it exclusively for the purpose of lodging.
General impressions of Prague
Since I had never been anywhere before, it was very strange for me to say that Prague is a “typical European city”.
Prague is the only city in Europe that was not destroyed during the Second World War.
The whole center of Prague is cobbled, the mixture of architecture is very chaotic, but if not a specialist, then it is not striking. Red tiles are everywhere on the roofs – sometimes advertisements do not lie.
The language is very similar to Ukrainian or Polish. In a word – brothers Slavs. Everyone over 30 understands Russian perfectly.
The city itself is very clean. This does not mean that there is no litter, it just means that they clean up very well there.
The whole city is divided into districts Praga 1, Praga 2, and so on so as not to get confused in incomprehensible Czech names.
The local population is completely nondescript – denim shorts, T-shirts, ballet flats and backpacks over their shoulders – this is a typical image of Czechs or Czech women. And no makeup on women’s faces.
There are 3 types of transport in the Czech Republic: buses, trams and metro. Transport is very expensive – a trip to the metro with one change within 15 minutes costs 20 kroons – that’s about 25 rubles. But this is the only thing that is expensive there – since gasoline is approaching about 1 euro per liter. There I was lucky to see all the same trams that travel around Yekaterinburg, but with a completely different filling inside. To begin with, all doors are equipped with buttons on each side of the door. And until the button is pressed, the doors will not open. In the subway – exactly the same. It seemed to me very convenient – why open the doors – if no one comes in and out?
Roads in Prague are very flat, with the exception, perhaps, of the center – where almost all the streets are very narrow, cobbled and with one-way traffic – otherwise there is simply no way to part. The markings are very neat and spaced everywhere, especially for all kinds of parking lots and parking lots. If at least somewhere the edge of the car protrudes beyond the line, a tow truck immediately arrives, loads the car of the unfortunate owner and drives off. The drivers are very polite – even if it is expensive for 4 lanes in one direction, as soon as you enter the “zebra”, everyone freezes, letting the pedestrian pass. Although we must admit that pedestrians do not run across the road at random – strictly following the same zebras and traffic lights.
Traffic lights I must say this is a separate song – all the same buttons, which, in my opinion, are again very, very convenient – why interrupt the traffic flow if none of the pedestrians is going to cross the road? Thus, the bandwidth of the highways is greatly increased.
Local representatives of the traffic police were seen only twice – as in our city, no one is standing and is not on duty, although, perhaps, I simply did not pay any attention to them.
Traffic jams, it should be noted, is a common scourge of all mankind: if it is hit, then for a long time.
The cars there are mostly of the domestic Czech car industry, that is, Skoda of different brands, years of production and modifications. Peugeots, Volkswagens and Fords are also often, but not so, there are practically no Japanese. It is noteworthy that no one is tinted – apparently there is no need.
Cuisine and prices
The basis of Czech cuisine is dumplings. The portions are very large and the prices are small. For example, to sit in a restaurant with a beer for two is about 700 CZK (our rubles is about 900). Sauerkraut, all kinds of sausages, and all the same dumplings. With different gravies. In general, for an amateur, to whom I do not belong. But the pastas and pizza that I tried there are very good. Even by the standards of our local Italian restaurants.
And one day I was lucky enough to be at the local grocery market – a kilogram of ripe strawberries cost only 40 CZK.
The set of products in stores is really different from ours, for example, I never saw sweet yoghurts and sour cream there.
Beer and Becherovka
The national Czech drink is, of course, beer. Beer is drunk in large quantities and of different brands, shades and varieties. The main beer and pride of the Czech Republic is Pilsner Urquell – light, slightly bitter. Then comes Budweiser and Krusovice, which is exactly what is served in the many pubs located on every corner. Everyone knows in Yekaterinburg and Russia – Staropramen was seen only in bottles. Like Velkopopviskiy Kozel, it is also only bottled. To the delight of gourmets and lovers of this foamy drink, there are many pubs that serve, for example, beers that are brewed specifically for these pubs – such “local” varieties – but the beer is very tasty and very cheap.
The average price for a round of beer is about 30 CZK per half liter. You can buy beer in the store and drink in the room: it will come out even cheaper – a half-liter bottle costs on average only 17 CZK.
Another national and this time strong alcoholic drink is Becherovka vodka with herbs. Served in some bars as an aperitif. Although when mixed with beer – the same “ruff”, only in Czech.
I would like to highlight this feature in a special section. By myself, I really love coffee, I drink cappuccino wherever possible. Upon my return from Prague, I realized that a good cappuccino in our city is not brewed at all. I had a chance to visit several coffee houses of the coffeeheaven chain
I didn’t drink anything tastier from coffee. Despite the paper (!) Cups, the froth in cappuccino is 6 centimeters high.
The coffee is excellent, I recommend it to everyone. One of the coffee shops is located right on Wenceslas Square. Prices are comparable to ours.
If we talk about sights, then I would single out a few – Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Old Town Hall, Hannopol Pavilion, Wenceslas Square.
In the Prague Castle, the divorce of the watch guards is very interesting.
There are a lot of tourists there, cameras are all very serious DSLRs with good optics.
Near the Prague Castle there is the Royal Garden, very beautifully decorated with a magnificent view of Prague.
Inside the Prague Castle there is the Gothic-style St. Vitus Church, which was built for about 600 years, where the sarcophagi of Czech kings still lie.
There are a lot of legends both in the Prague Castle and in Prague itself, so when choosing a tour, you should definitely take several sightseeing tours around the city.
We were invited to our good friends for a wedding, the registration of which took place in the Old Town Hall, then we sailed on a small boat on the Vltava River, and the banquet itself was in the Hannopol pavilion, from where a magnificent view of the Vltava bridges opens. Since there is no semi-sweet champagne or red caviar in the Czech Republic (and it’s not so hot with wines there, what to do, beer country) from Russia each pair captured a jar of caviar for such a solemn event. Imagine our amazement when we saw the serving of this very red caviar – open jars of caviar, without lids, lay in a plate, neatly covered with ice. Then there were toasts, congratulations, fireworks, a huge cake and a crazy 80-year-old taxi driver with shaking hands and absolutely deaf, who drove us back to the hotel for 100 crowns.
… And Yekaterinburg greeted us with gloomy faces of customs officers, disgusting rain, temperature + 4C and a taxi for 500 rubles. Here we are at home 🙂
Link to the photo album: //www.uralweb.ru/albums/album.php?id=8616