I am currently sitting on the bus from Prague to Nuremberg chatting with Richard, Daniel, Edward, and Brian, four guys from Singapore, Nigeria, the Netherlands and Korea respectively that all happened to sit near me on this bus ride. How crazy is that? Like, all it takes is a common language and a look away from your smartphone (easy to do when you're like me and have no data) to appreciate that there are other super neat humans all over the place with amazing stories and knowledge about topics you've never even given a second thought to. We've all found each other on one social media platform or another so that we can keep up with each other's lives from afar, which reminds me how much I really value the internet and social media itself bc say what you want about millennials and their phones but I can maintain relationships all over the world as a direct result of this wondrous invention and I'll be damned if that's not the coolest thing ever.
In regards to Prague itself, oh my God it was so cold. Like, bone-chilling cold that seeps into your body and makes it physically ache. I'm not sure if you recall, but in my last post I specifically made a wish for warmer weather in the Czech Republic and holy crap was I disappointed in that regard. The rest of our Prague experience, however, was amazing. Our bus pulled into the station around 2:30 and after a small skirmish with the Czech public transit system (they don't sell tickets like normal people with kiosks that accept actual currency - they accept coins at the kiosks which we didn't freakin' have yet bc we just freakin' got there, or else you can buy them at a nearby convenience store from the cashier). Like, what? Anyway, we took a metro to a tram and somehow, with the help of Becka's unilmited - and slow - data, we made it to our hostel. It was a bit outside the city center, but we knew that when we booked it and didn't mind having to navigate the tram system in order to save some money. Did I mention Becks and I are incredibly savvy travelers due to the fact that we're poor as all get out? Our only issue is that she does this thing where she asks me questions as if I somehow know things, and I most assuredly do not. But other than that, we're great. We should teach a class or something, we're brilliant. And also humble. Where was I? Oh, on arrival to the hostel, we unloaded all our bags and found out that the only two available/adjacent beds were the third floor bunks that looked to be about 4 meters high. Listen... I am a tall human. I have no fear of heights. But you put me 12 feet in the air and tell me to go to sleep, I'm not going to be very excited about it when the only barrier between me and imminent death is a foot-long metal "bumper". So we threw our stuff into our respective lockers, layered up, and went to grab dinner at a highly praised restaurant located next to our hostel. It was here that we learned that food was much cheaper in Budapest and we wanted to go back. Normally we cook our own dinner, but we hadn't eaten anything of substance all day due to our bus ride, so we didn't have the energy to find a grocery store and cook something up. This was also where we learned that Prague is not the place to have a gluten allergy. Everything, and I mean everything, was fried or breaded or with noodles or served with bread or poured over dumplings, and to make matters worse, beer was the most inexpensive drink on the menu. It was my own personal hell. But with some moral support from Becks and the promise of mulled wine in our future, I powered through. After being robbed blind by our server who decided for us how much we wanted to tip, we layered back up (which takes about 20 minutes) and headed to the tram station to visit the Old Town Christmas market in the city center. And then we waited. And waited some more. And after 20 minutes of aaaall the other trams except the one we needed coming by, we headed back to the hostel to ask what the hell we were doing wrong. Turns out that tram was broken down and god hates us so we found a new tram line that would get us where we needed to go a little less directly. To clarify: now we had to walk across a massive bridge in the middle of the city over a river in -1*C weather with winds that ripped through you like it was their job. It was like, super pretty though... if you disregard the part where it feels like you might die the entire time you walk across. Eventually we found our way to the market where we were greeted with a beautiful view of the lit up tree, the cathedral, and stalls overflowing with everything from grilled cheese (like literally just a chunk of cheese thrown on the grill) to mulled wine to fried chimney treats made of sugary dough to roasted chestnuts. We enjoyed wandering the aisles and being extra touristy before deciding to stop for a bratwurst and a chimney thing. Do you know what kind of look you get when you ask for a bratwurst without a bun? People look at you like you have 3 heads and it's all I can do not to yell at them that it's not my fault my intestines hate me and gluten isn't my friend. Whatever. We headed back to our hostel still a bit challenged by the Czech system and after debating a night out on the town (it was Saturday) we decided we would just see what the night life was like the rest of the week bc we could barely keep ourselves upright we were so tired.
The next morning, we woke up at a decent hour (I'm totally jk we slept in till like 10) in order to make it to the free walking tour we had seen advertised the day before. We stopped for a quick lunch before the tour and were really excited to find sausage with potatoes and cabbage and ham being offered at a market stand near the meeting point for the tour. Do you know what is decidedly NOT potatoes? Gnocchi. Don't get me wrong, I know I can't speak Czech so it's my own fault in that regard, but when the translated and laminated sign clearly states "potatoes" and you are served something that looks an awful lot like potatoes but tastes an awful lot like gnocchi.. yeah, no. Becks googled the Czech translation for the dish and immediately told me to put my fork down bc this was not the food for me. While it was crappy that we'd paid for something that I couldn't even enjoy (and neither could Becks really, mostly out of pity for me I think), my only question is how hard is it to freakin' google how to say something before you put it on your OFFICIAL SIGN and LAMINATE IT? Like, come on people! What did you do, ask your friend Jan who visited America that one time how to say gnocchi and he was like "it's potatoes" and you just went with it? Jerks. Whatever, I'm not even bitter, gluten is stupid. We found our way to the walking tour which was led by a native of Tennessee who made the cold a little more bearable with his bad jokes and good advice. After the tour, we went on a mission for a Hard Rock Cafe pin (Becka's mom Wendy collects them) and groceries for dinner. The former was much easier to find than the latter. Why, you might ask? Think of it this way. You're looking for butter at the store. But the word butter is nowhere to be found. And the things that look like they *might* be butter could also be everything from cream cheese to margarine to some sort of Czech concoction you've never come in contact with. And then, when you finally figure out what it is you're buying and have to read the directions on something like instant mashed potatoes, you have to google translate every word bc NONE OF IT LOOKS EVEN REMOTELY FAMILIAR. It was a damn mission.
Luckily, vodka is spelled "vodka" in pretty much every western language - thank God for universal alcoholism - so we had no problem finding our pregame drink for the night. After a deliciously filling dinner of chicken with carbonara sauce, mashed potatoes, and frozen veggies, we headed up to our room to enjoy our vodka and get ready to roll out. Mind you, we almost didn't make it bc SOMEBODY *ahem, Becks* was feeling particularly tired, but she rallied and we made it out of the hostel by around midnight. After some more small battles with the trams, we made it to the main nightlife street in Prague, which was preeeeetty dead, but we kind of expected as much considering it was a Sunday. We stopped at a bar to run into the restroom and make a plan but ran into some Germans on the way who shared with us that their new plan for the night was to go wherever we were going. We didn't love the idea as much as they seemed to, so naturally we did what any other mature 22 year old women would do - we ran. And I mean ran. We told them we wanted to drop our jackets at the coat check and then absolutely booked it out of the bar. We didn't even stop running until we got around the corner bc Becks was adamant that they would come outside and find us - and the whole time we were running we had no jackets or layers on bc we were in such a rush to get away, so it didn't take us long to find another bar and dip inside before we got casual frostbite. Luckily the bar we happened into was freaking awesome. Becks and I enjoyed two hours or so of fantastic music and better conversation over vodka (on the rocks bc they misheard my request for shots) before the men started circling like vultures. Granted, we were two of five women in the entire bar, and Becka is absolutely gorgeous, so like I get it, but if we are making a conscious effort to avoid eye contact with you, what part of you thinks you should come chat us up??? Anyway, most of them were easy to deter until we met an older man whose opening line was "Did you know that I love you?". I'm not gonna lie, it was a new one for me. In fact it took me so much by surprise that my incredibly witty retort was "Thank you". Yeah, I know, I'm quick on my feet huh? While he was distracted trying to figure out why we didn't love him back, we made two new friends who decided that we needed more vodka in our glasses and paid for two more drinks. When the bartender asked what we wanted, I said "anything mixed with vodka" but he seemed to hear "just another vodka on the rocks bc we hate ourselves and we don't have taste buds". Someone must have agreed with him bc it wasn't long before an anonymous human decided to pay the bartender to top off our drinks yet again. If they were trying to drink us under the table, it wasn't ever going to happen, bc I may not look it but I can drink more than most grown men.. and I do. It was around that time when our new Croatian friend - who took a *serious* liking to Becks - made his way over and bought us the worst tasting shots I've had in ages. He decided we were going to be bffs for life so when they made last call, he came with us out of the bar which is where we ran into three Canadian girls who were more drunk than I hope to ever have been in my life. Becks distracted the crazy Croatian while I and two German guys tried to get the Canadians into a taxi. Christ on a bike was that a freaking process.
Eventually we succeeded, and after having bonded with the Germans - Henni and Petr - we all agreed to visit another bar together where there were less inebriated people and more cheap booze. Naturally, the Croatian followed close behind bc he didn't know how to take a hint. We made it to the next bar and talked for hours about everything under the sun before Becks looked out the window and realized that it was light outside and people were going to work. This came as quite a shock to those of us who are usually in bed by 11pm, and our bodies immediately realized what they had been put through. The boys had a flight to catch and offered us a ride to our hostel in a taxi on their way out, so we stopped by their AirBnb and Becks took a quick nap on the living room chair before they dropped us off at our place. Think of it: two boys and two girls in their 20's in a bar in Prague till 10am, and not once did the boys make a move. Unbelievable, right? Magical. Beautiful. Awe-inspiring. Just a couple of nice guys who enjoyed our company. Becks and I couldn't believe how lucky we were to have met them and enjoyed such a comfortable night out without having to worry about what they might want or expect. It should not be such a novelty, but it was, and we will forever remember them for it.
Seeing as we didn't get to bed until about 10am on Monday, we went ahead and let ourselves sleep without setting an alarm bc we were remotely concerned our bodies may spontaneously combust if we didn't. We woke up around 4:30pm ready for the day (lol) and headed to meet an old coworker of Becka's who happened to be from Prague for mulled wine at a local market. Sensing a pattern? Fair. We enjoyed good wine and conversation (though I won't lie, the wine in Budapest was much better) and said a quick goodbye to Becka's adorable friend Jo before deciding to just wander the city together for a bit. We grabbed some hot chocolate and took in the atmosphere for awhile and reveled in the fact that we had survived a week in Europe together. This girl has gotten me through every break up, every major life choice, every wonderful and horrible moment since we were 13, and *somehow* we finally got lucky enough to be able to be traveling in the same place at the same time. It was nothing short of fantastic and I wouldn't change a single moment of it for the world.
I bet you can't guess what we did this morning. If it starts with "slept" and ends with "in" you are absolutely correct, you deductive reasoner you. We meant to wake up at 8:15 but I didn't hear my alarm and Becks decided to ignore hers so we rolled out of bed at 9:30 with a renewed vigor. We dropped our bags in storage lockers and went to czech out Prague Castle. See what I did there? Pls laugh, I'm funny. The castle and cathedral themselves were not particularly impressive, but the castle complex is one of the largest in existence and it was really neat to see such an expansive piece of architecture. We also took the time to rub the famous statue in the castle square in a very particular place *ahem* bc we were told it brings good luck for the coming year and we'll take all we can get. Afterwards, we headed back towards the hostel to grab lunch before collecting our bags and heading to our fav hangout, the tram station, where we had to go our separate ways.
Prague has been such an incredibly beautiful and grandiose place with something to catch your eye everywhere you look, but it wouldn't have been half of what it was if I hadn't had my best friend by my side. We have the most unbelievably unpredictable schedules with such ridiculously tumultuous lives, but somehow we've always made it work, and I am so much more than grateful to have her. But for now, I'm 20 minutes from seeing Saskia in Nuremberg and I couldn't be more excited.
So that's all for now, I think! Until next time boys and girls.
PS. I made potentially the best joke ever as we were on our way to grab our bags from the hostel bc Becks said she couldn't figure out why she was so sore and my immediate reaction was to say, "What, you don't remember? We had sex, Becks, it's no wonder you're sore." The look on her face was freaking priceless. It took her a minute to process the unlikelihood of my statement before she started laughing her ass off but it was so worth it for that reaction let me tell you, God I love that girl.
PPS. One of the German guys just added me on Facebook and upon accepting his friend request I learned that he and the other boy are in a relationship which makes literally so much more sense than the idea that there are penis-havers in the world that have absolutely zero interest in vagina-havers what-so-ever. I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little disappointed bc I was really hoping they were truly just super great guys who wanted nothing more from the nice girls they met at the bar than quality conversation, but I'm also super happy for them being all adorable and happy. That is all.
OH ALSO THE STATUE IN THE EIGHTH PICTURE UNDER THIS POST IS AT THE PRAGUE CASTLE AND YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO RUB HIS PENIS FOR GOOD LUCK SO IT TOOK SOME CONVINCING BUT I GOT BECKS TO RUB IT WITH ME AND NOW WE'RE JUST WAITING FOR OUR NEVER-PURCHASED LOTTERY TICKETS TO WIN US MILLIONS.
PPPS. According to the Whatsapp I just got from Henni (one of the two wonderful German guys), they are NOT in fact in a relationship, it's just a Facebook joke. As such, my faith in men is restored to some extent and I'm back to being very impressed with their character and sheer level of awesome.
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
The Baltic countries,
if Covid allows for it (Latvia, Estonia, maybe a stop in Finland)
(in August in the US)