Pretty piggy Prague

Prague’s buildings are so pretty and delicate they have to dust them like ornaments. Seriously. Two guys were abseiling down the side of one building with feather-dusters while we were there. I don’t think they were checking for fingerprints.
It is pretty. The buildings are irrefutably impressive and trams of all shapes, sizes and ages trundle by on its streets. Some of the older ones are simply fantastic but the snazzy new ones, although they may be faster, are crap.
This phenomenon is not just restricted to trams, but many things great and small, as if the price for unimaginative progress is predictable decline. So I salute Prague’s abseiling feather-dusters as they lovingly brush their precious buildings above calm cobbled streets.
That would be the streets without the tourists, for the streets with the tourists are anything but calm. Hordes of camera-clutching visitors scurry across the Charles Bridge and up to Wenceslas Square, ooohing and aaahing and getting in each others’ way. It’s like the shops before Christmas or off-licences before Good Friday (when the pubs are shut in Ireland, leading to mass panic as people stock up on liquor to get them through the 24 hours) only worse.
Perhaps the tourist invasion explains why the Pragueshans are so damned grumpy, downtrodden and miserable looking. Even lovers sitting together on park benches looked like they were forced together at gunpoint.
Maybe boredom is to blame. There’s only so long you can look at and admire pretty buildings. There ain’t a lot to do in Prague, except drink. Thankfully there’s plenty of good beer available to chase away depression, although evidently not enough for the natives. Some of the beers were simply delicious, but not that Staropramen shite, which is the local brew. Budvar, whose German name was unashamedly stolen by American piss-producers, is deceptively tasty. I had to try it several times just to be sure.
The grub too is good, not as bad as I expected it to be. I was expecting weird sausages, soggy bread, fat dumplings and sauerkraut – such is Czech cuisine – but I ordered a shoulder of pork the first night we were there and it was so good I had the same every day thereafter. A big lump of pig served on a wooden board with chillies, horseradish, mustard, brown bread and nothing else – none of these so-called vegetables getting in the way – tastefully prepared and tastefully eaten. Yum! I’m getting hungry again now just writing about it.
Yes, Prague may be pretty, but more importantly, it’s piggy too.

Comments

  1. Hmmm, I guess it is all in the attitude.
    My wife and I find plenty to do in Prague. We force ourselves to stay home once in awhile to rest up for the next bought of site seeing, museum or concert going as well as eating and shopping.
    Of course we come from a small Greek island rather than the great city of Berlin.
    And lived for 7 years in West Cork.
    Cheers,

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  2. Thanks for your comment.
    Maybe I am somewhat spoiled in Berlin, but I did get the feeling there isn't a whole lot going on in Prague. Maybe the permanent company of a nipper (he keeps following us around) limits the possibilities of museum and concert going, but we did walk our legs to stumps looking at all the sights. Perhaps we overdosed. The food is great, and I'm sure the shopping is great too if you're into that. I'm not.
    A small Greek island sounds perfect and West Cork is beautiful too. I guess every place has its charms. It's just some have more than others.
    Sláinte.

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  3. Prauge looks really pretty- I've always wanted to go there but we keep on getting distracted by bills and jobs and keeping on having to plan ultra expensive flights across the atlantic (stupid holiday season just sneaks up at the wrong time every year!) I enjoy doing all of the touristy things when I visit a new city (and yes I am one of those embaressing people walking over other people trying to get a picture. I know that I am and dislike it but not enough to not take the damn pictures haha) but its good to know that the beer there is good. That is the one downside of visiting a new place sometimes, having a hard time finding a good pub/beer.

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  4. Aye, me good son. You hit Prague after the tourist boom and the reconstruction machine turned it into a DisneyTown, Inc. I remember the good auld daze (sic) when gray facades and grayer soot covered every square meter of Prague's architecture and American expats stumbled on cheap beer and hard cobblestones. The locals' faces were all grumpy then (blame Communism) and are still grumpy now (blame Capitalism). After 10 years I left Prague for greener pastures, but Ireland wouldn't have me (heh). Prague still has its charms: fried cheese, cheap and delicious beer, and that infamous Veprove Koleno, the roasted pork knee/knuckle (depending on the translation), served medieval style on a board with knife and fork jutting out and sending vegans scurrying. On your next trip I'll send you back with a Prague treasure map. Oh, you'll be back, make no mistake.

    "Prague never lets you go... this dear little mother has sharp claws." -Franz Kafka

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  5. Those claws are indeed sharp and I don't want to get scratched again. But I'd go back for the Veprove Koleno alone so I reckon I'll strike out for Brno the next time. I'm sure the food's just as good and the beer too. Gettin' hungry and thirsty...

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  6. Brno is in Moravia and is home to a different culture. They have crap beer compared to their Bohemian brothers. In Brno they drink wine from strange glasses while wearing traditional costumes. The food is different as well. If you go back to Czech I recommend the Bohemian, medieval town of Cesky Krumlov. It's Budvar country as well (not far from Cesky Budejovice, its home).

    db

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