I arrived in Prague on Sunday night in what felt like the dead of night, though it was actually only about 9pm. I bought two bottles of wine at the station (because priorities) and then fumbled through the predictably dodgy area around the station to find the tram stop. Because I’m still apparently living in medieval times and therefore don’t have a contactless card and was entirely without any Czech crowns, I had no choice but to ride the tram without a ticket again. I’m not advocating breaking the law, but I’ve done this often and not once been caught. Do with that what you will, and do not send me a bill if you get fined.
When I arrived at the Air Bnb, the Squad came down to greet me and help me with my bags. I was welcome by a plate of dinner that they’d saved for me (awww!!!) and stories of their first two days and night in Prague, including an enraged tale about how they’d been to the Hard Rock Café the night before and been served by the world’s rudest waitress, Precious, whose crimes featured being really rude, getting the orders wrong, refusing to admit she’d got the order wrong and change the food for the correct order, and refusing a tip. Bryony, Queen of Written Complaints, had channelled this anger into a strongly-worded email and we waited expectantly for a response that included free food.
We woke up on Monday full of beans and ready to see Prague. With the big box of tea my mum had brought me (thank you mamma!), we decided to treat ourselves to a propa cuppa, but promptly fucked that up as we had accidentally bought soured milk instead of normal milk. Side note – why is soured milk even a thing? Get your shit together, Prague.
Having apparently used up all of our bad luck with weather at times when it really doesn’t matter, we’ve had fantastic weather whenever we’ve been anywhere – except from Gmunden that is, but that still looked beautiful so it didn’t matter. After a beautifully foggy start to Halloween, we headed to the John Lennon wall where I fell in love for the second time on my trip, this time with a Czech man with an acoustic guitar and an accent. In my mind, he’s also called Kristoff, like the man I fell in love with in Vienna. I’m so predictable it’s unreal – give a man a dog, a baby, a guitar, an accent or glasses and I’m in love. That, or be Selasi from Bake Off. But I digress…
On our way up the hill to the castle, we had the traditional Czech trdelník, which is essentially sweet pastry (kind of like bread) wrapped around a stick and grilled with sugar and other delicious things of your choice. Charlotte and I shared one with cinnamon and it was so good – almost as good as the views from the top of the hill.
Next on our wander was the Charles bridge and the astronomical clock, Glühwein with lunch, a brief stop at the Kafka head (u ok Kafka?) and the Dancing House, and then a little grocery shopping for dinner and facepaint at (wait for it)… TESCO! It was only from our excitement at finding a little reminder of home did I realise how much I’m missing the UK.
We were tired and hungry when we arrived home and made the speediest curry I have ever witnessed, before spending about four times as long as is acceptable doing and redoing our facepaint – especially considering that the results were average at best (sorry girls but they were). The Squad were super cute and surprised me with an early birthday cake and a card that announced in Czech that I was joining the over 60s club, having earned the nickname Oma (Grandma) by being two years older than them all. It was soso cute and suddenly their efforts to keep me out of the fridge thus far made sense :)
Then we got down to the real business of a girls’ holiday – getting drunk and telling secrets before going on the weirdest night out I think I have ever been on. We headed to the Biggest Club In Europe (!!!!), Karlovy Lazne, which was unfortunately too quiet for it to be much fun – though we did give it our best shot in the ‘golden oldies’ room (an appropriate choice for my 23rd birthday, don’t you think?) where we had a good laugh. In the end though, we decided enough was enough and went home to find that Burrito Loco was, much to our incredulous delight, open at 2.30am on a Tuesday morning. To say it was the high point of the night might give you the impression that we didn’t have a good night out – but if that’s the case, you are seriously underestimating our love for burritos.
We woke up on Tuesday miraculously hangover-free but decided to have a good hangover breakfast anyway at an American diner called James Dean, where they served bottomless coffee and amazing pancakes – only slightly ruined by the waitresses’ uniform which was so short that we couldn’t turn our heads for flashes of pert butt cheeks. I’ll have the blueberry pancakes with a side of arse and female objectification, please.
We attempted to walk off the breakfast afterwards and got lost in a park at the top of another hill. It was a beautiful place to get lost. We even queued and endured entirely unnecessary pat-downs from the police to be able to see the Church, and got told off for accidentally listening to a tour guide that we hadn’t paid to listen to. We hadn’t meant to listen, but the tour guide shouted a joke pretty loudly and we all sniggered appreciatively and he came over and told us we couldn’t join him on the tour without paying. As Emma so rightly muttered, excuse us for not being deaf. It was a funny joke though. Then we wandered back home via a pub for beer.
At home, we were seriously flagging – but immediately perked up with the response from the Hard Rock Café, telling us to go back there that night for another meal on the house to make up for Precious being a bitch. I’d never met Precious, but I couldn’t have been happier that she’d been in a bad mood that day.
Which is how we ended up having a three course meal and cocktails at the Hard Rock Café (that we worked out should have cost us at least 300€) entirely for free. The waitress just brought us over a blank receipt with a doodle on it. Needless to say, we wrote another strongly-worded email – this time full of praise and thanks.
The next morning, we learnt that while we’d missed the alcohol hangover the day before, food hangovers really do exist. I felt bloated and tired all day, which is my punishment for eating free food that I wasn’t even entitled to (after all, nobody had been rude to me).
Then we went our separate ways. Charlotte, Emma and Bryony went to catch their train back to Linz whilst Martha stayed at the Air BnB as she had a bus to catch for Poland, and I waited for my bus on what was the first rainy day of the holiday so far. I was weighed down with birthday presents from my mum that I had been carrying in a paper bag from Zara – it had held out until this point, but promptly gave up the ghost at the bus stop and ripped completely in half. As I was gathering my clothes and tea from the ground and trying to force them into my rucksack, a woman approached me and handed me a moustache-patterned canvas bag with a smile and left without a word. She must have been a guardian angel or something. I still have the bag.
The bus arrived and the driver insisted he saw everyone’s passports before boarding, and I was flooded with relief that I’d made that extra journey back to Rohrbach a few days before to pick mine up. I boarded and got a whole double seat to myself, meaning I was able to stretch out and fall asleep on the four-hour journey to Munich to meet my sister.
Until next time, auf Wiederschauen!