Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, which is bordered by Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia. It has the reputation of being a great party town as well as having some of the nicest breweries ever built.
Bastards-R-Us took the train from Vienna (It leaves Vienna from Sud-Bahnhof) and travels through Hohenhau, Breclav, Brno to Prague, a journey of about 8 hours.
TIP: If you are travelling as a group, buy your tickets as a group, it’s cheaper. Also if you are under 25, you get a discount off the adult fare but you need proof (as in a passport).
The train trip was very scenic, although the prices for refreshments were a modern form of Bandit robbery! You certainly notice a difference in scenery in Czech Rep – everything looks dilapidated and drab…. The Czech Customs guys were looked very smart although a little cautious of Bastards-R-Us and our schnapps induced "Ten No Trumps" card calls! One Czech border guard even broke into a smile when I gave him a Customs patch…… Little things go a long way when crossing borders of these countries!
On arrival at the train station in Prague, we decided to take a taxi to our digs…. oops the cabbie took us for a ride all right about 900 kroner ($45 Aussie dollars). Better to take the metro if you can get a map beforehand – Be warned though, that you need to buy a ticket for your bag or cop a $20 fine from the transit police.
We wanted to go from Prague to Krakow in Poland, but the train is an overnight one, so don’t waste a night’s accommodation like we did assuming it is a day train. Also be very careful in the train station, as pickpockets are everywhere – it is sort of like a meeting point for every lowlife in Prague. When you get to the right platform, ask the conductor which carriage you should be in for your destination, as the train is split at the border.
Where to Stay
We stayed at a Luci Pension Villa in Prague 4, which was about 10 minutes ride by the subway from the centre of the city. The accommodations were great and guy that runs the place spoke great English and had heaps of tips for us. He even had cold beers in the fridge for 15 kroner (about 90¢!). I think we paid about 50 bucks a night for this place, which was quite acceptable.
Food places everywhere, just look around and eat some of the local fare, it is quite tasty, although the cholesterol / fatty food standards are a bit like America in the ’70s! We found places that had menus in English and most of the non-English menus have waitresses who can translate for you. Try not to eat at any of the hot-dog stalls in Wencelas Square, the food is cheap but horrible!
We also found some bars and pubs near Nametski Republicky station. Definitely a party place of the city.
There are lots of nudie bars in Prague, however they have only two kinds of shows – pole dancing girls to get you fired up and the other girls that take you to a private room. Bastards-R-Us sampled a few of these clubs and came away impressed with the quality of girls working but disappointed with
the mafia-run security.
There is also a great marketplace down near the Jewish quarter that sells everything – it is also a great place to buy some souvenir t-shirts, bandanas, flags etc. I spent about 3 hours in the market and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Use the kiosks located any and every where for cheap smokes, newspapers, gum, metro tickets etc. I found them to be invaluable. Most shop keepers speak Czech, German, Russian and English. Don’t forget to get your copy of Erotic Guide in the Czech Republic for 35k – it lists the location of all the strip clubs/bars etc.
Want cheap beer and a good game of pool? Get off the metro at Museum station and walk down the square past McDonald’s. There is a pool hall/bar that has cheap Budowice beer 15 kroner, a decent jukebox and about 6 pool tables. Bastards-R-Us found this to be an excellent primer before the night out on the town.
The metro closes at midnight and starts again at 5am. Two of the Bastards and I slept in the station for an hour one morning waiting for the first train home…. Plan your night accordingly and if you have to take a taxi, don’t hail one off the street, they are run by the mafia and will charge you a fortune. Ring one from the phone book or through the restaurant/hotel you are in.
Yep, there are some and churches too, but the night life of Prague was too much of a priority for me….
Internet cafes are plentiful in Prague, just look around the street signs or ask any local shopkeeper. Most have access for about 25 kroner per hour. We even found one cyber cafe in a place on the river near the bridge next to the castle. This place had a wine bar at the front, cyber cafe inside just before the dance club/mosh pit and the nudie pole dancing above. It even has a balcony. A truly great place to throw back a few choice Pilseners, email your girlfriend and watch the local girls strut their stuff! Don’t forget to throw a few spare kroner to the beggar with the puppy dog on the footpath on your way out of this pub!
A great, vibrant city with a fantastic night life, combined with tourist attractions galore by day means that Prague is a city to be explored to the limit. The old cobbled streets with trams and the colourful local folk really caught my eye. It is a photographers dream!
We had 2 days there but I reckon 2 weeks wouldn’t be enough to satisfy my curiosity of this city. Do yourself a favour and read up on the place before you go there. Don’t walk alone at night, watch your pockets and have a really great time!
If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our Europe Insiders page.