Absinth Nightmares in Prague

Leaving Kutná Hora was far easier than getting there, we arrived in Prague in the early evening. After finding our hostel (Old Prague Hostel), located only a 15-20 minute walk from the station, we settled in for the night. No significant impressions as of yet, except for the strangely decorated hostel room. Bright, vibrant orange and green walls that clash, flooring that looks as if a child’s room should be decorated with it – with little mice and counting blocks doted around. It was strange. How anyone sleeps properly with these light reflecting walls I’ll never know.

We woke up quite late today after a somewhat disturbed night. These hostel walls are paper thin, you can hear everyone in the halls and the rooms next us. For breakfast we headed straight to Café Lourve, which was recommended to us by this Czech lady we met on the train yesterday. It was very nice. I tried some strange strawberry and cottage cheese dumplings which were very interesting to say the least.

After breakfast, we walked around the streets of Prague for a bit, popped into some shops and came across the “paint-a-brick” activity where you obviously paint a brick and the proceeds are donated to charity. We decided to paint our brick with abstract portraits of ourselves so we remain in Prague forever. Once you’re finished, you place your brick in their brick wall amongst all the others people have created. It’s a very nice idea, and was very fun to do it. We then walked for awhile to find the “Good Food Bakery” and picked up some cone doughnuts, mine of which was filled with whipped cream and strawberries. It was amazing. Very filling. Very yummy. With our cone doughnuts in our hands, we headed on to the John Lennon Wall via Charles Bridge which was amazing. We spent quite awhile sitting there, watching the world go by and listening to the buskers. It was really lovely.

Afterwards we headed back to the hostel as we decided to partake in our first pub crawl so needed to get ready for the night. What a mistake. A huge one at that too. You know, when they say be careful of that absinth? You should really listen. When they say don’t mix your drinks, you should really listen. When they say take it easy, you should really listen. When they say eat before you go, you should really listen.

It started off really well, as they all do. We got to the first bar, and it was literally just us three. Therefore to get us started the pub crawl rep made us chug a pint of beer with him. Soon after another group of pub crawling people came in and we got talking to some guys. The chat was flowing, the drinks were flowing. Everything was flowing. It was nice. An hour of unlimited beer and wine. Perfect. Then it got even more perfect when when they extended that hour to another hour and threw in free absinth and vodka shots. Literally hitting them back, we were having an amazing time. But the second we hit the second bar it all got a little less perfect and just downright messy. I’m going to be honest, I was drunk. But my friends were a state and a half. There was me, running to and from two different bathroom stalls proving water and holding their hair back while they threw up. There was me, hoping that they’d let it all out and then be ready to go back out there and start again, there was me all on my own realising this was not the case and really what I needed to do was get my two paralytic friends back to the hostel. It was challenge, and thank God for those guys we got talking to at the beginning of the night as they really were my saviours. After carrying them back hostel with numerous helpers (thankfully just a road away), sitting up with one of them for the majority of the night whilst one vomited away in their sleep, the night was done and I could peacefully fall asleep myself. Never before have I been so drunk yet so sober in my entire life. An achievement and a half on my part. I don’t know how we survived it all.

Woke up at 7am to my friends saying sorry to my in unison as they realised that last night was real. Unfortunately I had to tell them the events as they played out and watch the horror on their faces. I think they were mortified, and still terribly drunk. We went back to sleep for a few hours, then forced ourselves to go out and eat. We walked around this nice little market for awhile, then went and found the Astronomical Clock which was beautifully stunning. An actual masterpiece. No wonder it’s one of their greatest treasures. We then made our way through the Jewish Quarter, unfortunately we couldn’t see inside any synagogues as they were closed but it was nice to see them from the outside. We then took a walk along the river which was nice as the sun was beginning to set and everything was starting to look so pretty.

Time went quickly in Prague, I suppose that’s what happens when you spend half of it drunk and hungover. But we still wanted to take advantage of our time here, so for our last morning we headed back to Café Lourve for another breakfast, then headed to the Imaginarium of Prague – equipped with a Mirror Maze and Kaleidoscopic cinema. It was so cool. I tried getting lost in the mirror maze but unfortunately it wasn’t big enough, that being said it still took awhile to find my way out. They also had mirrors inside (not in the maze but in the building) where they distorted your body into different shapes and sizes. Very, very amusing. The kaleidoscopic cinema was trippy as hell, but the imaginarium was one of my favourites. They had this machine that delayed your movements, so you could dance in front of it and there would be several of you doing the same movement in slow motion. It was great, although I think the trippiness of it all brought back some nausea.

Part of me was looking forward to just sitting on a train and doing nothing, but part of me wanted to go to bed. The five hour train journey to Berlin was kind of uncomfortable, but we made it without any trouble. I’m looking forward to our time in Berlin, it’s the longest we’re staying in a city in this trip, so it’ll be nice to rest for a couple of days without thinking of packing up our backpacks again and heading to the next place.

8 cities down, 3 more to go.

Previous stop: Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

Next stop: Berlin, Germany

Top tips for Prague:

  • Go to Café Lourve
  • See the Astronimical Clock
  • See John Lennon’s Wall
  • Take it easy on the absinth
  • Buy absinth and take it home (it’s way stronger than any Absinth you’ll find in the UK)
  • Go to the Imaginarium of Prague
  • Eat a cone doughnut
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