We woke early. Not wanting a repeat of Budapest, we decided to give ourselves plenty of time to get the train. There would be no near misses today. It was a reluctant start, all four of us were beginning to find it increasingly more difficult to get out of bed. Eventually though we were all up, showered and packed. We then made the short trip to the supermarket in order to get some food to make sandwiches for the train. Our mums would be very proud at our fore-planning.
Before we knew it we were hauling our increasingly heavy bags onto our backs and bidding farewell to ‘Do Step Inn’ Hostel, our stay had been incredible and I definitely recommend it if you are looking for a place to stay in Vienna. Our train to Prague, unfortunately, was at a different station to the one we had arrived at. That did mean we had to take the metro for three stops rather than being right there. As it was our final journey on the metro of Vienna we decided to finally validate our tickets; however no one was there to check them so yet again we could have made the journey for free! Waiting on the platform we were all hoping for a train similar to the one which had taken us to Vienna, air-conditioned with free WiFi. Unfortunately this was not the case. We didn’t even get a cool Harry Potter train or one which had two floors. They really get spoilt for choice in mainland Europe with their abundance of trains. All we get in the UK are the bog-standard single floor ones, which are always packed. With that in mind, our train wasn’t that bad. We had large comfortable seats albeit if I was sat next to an angry German couple. For some reason the woman insisted on giving me dirty looks for the whole journey. Feeling victimised I put my jumper over my head and tried to have a little nap.
We arrived in Prague after a few hours. City and country number three. Also currency number three, this was proving to be a bit of a hassle. We had only foolishly realised a few days before leaving that the Czech Republic and Hungary did not operate with the Euro. This meant all of our holiday money was useless. Fortunately a helpful man pointed us in the right direction of an ATM and before we knew it we were rich again. Well it felt like we were, as there are about 30 Czech Koruna to just £1.
Unfortunately having large denominations of notes is a tad tricky when trying to pay just 20 for a metro ticket. Luckily we found a booth to purchase tickets from; where I was then able to add the third currency of coins into my pockets to be lost forever. Due to the good directions given to us by the hostel we found it quickly. It wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst hostel I’ve stayed in by a long shot. We also had our own private room so that was a plus, even if it did mean two of us sharing a double bed.
Although we were feeling pretty tired we decided to head out straight away to try and find our bearings and get to know the city a bit better. We had done it in every previous city and it had worked well so far. We were much closer to the centre in Prague than we had been in Vienna so we were happy at the thought that our legs might get a little rest.
As we were walking into the centre we were immediately hit with the realisation that Prague was a much more touristy place than any of the cities we had visited previously. Hoards of people, large amounts of cheap souvenir shops, I didn’t care for it much. There were some very lovely buildings but I felt their character was ruined by the seediness of the street level. Especially at night, you could tell how the city was purely geared up for bachelor parties. It became a place we didn’t feel very safe or enjoy to be at night. However we did find two great nightclubs which are well worth checking out if you ever visit. On our first night we went to a club called Roxy, quite cheap entry and drinks once inside despite being one of Prague’s more up-market clubs. It had great music and a wide mix of people inside. On our second night we went to “The Largest Club in Central Europe”, it was pretty big. It had five floors, each with its own unique theme and music genre. This was great on a Saturday night and we all had a great time on every floor.
Unfortunately most of the museums in Prague were closed when we tried to visit them. This was slightly disappointing however it made us slightly glad that we only were spending one full day there. We were able to relax a lot more during the day and go for our first proper sit down meal in the Old Town Square. One thing we were able see was the Prague astronomical clock (The Orloj) which was erected in 1410, the oldest working clock of its kind.
Prague was different to any city we had been to before. For better or for worse, although mainly -I think- for worse. I think it had lost some of its main culture and appeal due to the ever increasing scene of British people and other Europeans coming to the city purely to drink and get drunk on their bachelor parties. This may be an overly cynical view of the city and one which may be incorrect as I did only spend two days there. However after those two days that is the feeling the city left me with. A feeling of pity because the country could have made it so much better; so much more grand. It could have rivalled Vienna with its architecture however I think the cheap alcohol and tat has served to diminish the ambiance of the city. A shame but we didn’t dwell upon this because our next stop was Berlin and we knew that would not disappoint!