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Welcome to Prague

Prague, Czech Republic
Jun 07, 2002

Pros: Decadent architecture, turrets and spires, excellent beer
Cons: Unhelpful airport staff

Travel lesson number one: Do not pursue lost travelling companions about Europe.

Due to unforeseen visa problems - Mike not having one- I received a phone call upon arrival at Hostel Sokol in Prague asking me to pay a visit to the airport and sort the situation. In my very best Vinnie Jones style, I set off to interrogate the exceedingly unhelpful Prague airport staff.

"Dobry den. My friend is here. He has no visa. He has no money. I have his money. Immigration called and asked me to come and organise a flight for him to an EU country. May I speak with someone please? Prosim?"

In inimitable Eastern European style, the reply was, "It is not possible." Time and time again this answer. I seem to have this effect on every receptionist of hostels, hotels and airports in Eastern Europe.
"Yes, it is possible. For you? No. It is not possible."

After much persistence I finally managed to confirm Mike's flight and agreed to meet him in Frankfurt soon by catching a night train. But that is another fiasco for discussion another time. So what else to do in the interim except take the scenic route through Prague's backstreets, admire pretty buildings and imbibe beer?

Czech republic: famous for its tennis players, boy bands with inventive names such as "Chutney", and tasty beer. Bountiful beer.
"Pivo, prosim!"
With Nick-From Alaska and Kane-the Kiwi, numerous cultural institutions were discovered. These included The Keltic Bar in Bartolemesjka street and little inns under the Charles Bridge. We realised how vital beer is for World Cup watching, good health and cultural interaction. Which brings me to one of life's little mysteries - Czech girls.

How is it possible that nearly every Czech girl is tall and stunning although they seem to exist on a diet of beer, fries, and fried cheese. Not to mention the serious lack of sunlight. My time in the Czech Republic has also consisted mostly of these factors, but I have yet to see my transformation into a supermodel. Actually, if I keep this lifestyle up, I will resemble one of Czech Republic's famous women - Matina Navratilova. But there is the Czech saying, "Beer makes beautiful bodies"......

Prague dreamers, it really is a lovely city, deserved of the title "city of a thousand spires". The scene: cobbled streets and narrow winding laneways leading to small church squares. Decadent architecture, turrets and spires. Gold gilt and religious motifs. Street performers and musicians playing to people passing over the Charles Bridge. Prague Castle high on a hill, surrounded by red roofs and surveying the city from across the river.

I have to confess to not completely keeping with the "spirit" of the Vodka To Vino Tour. I managed to wangle my way out of drinking the Czech Plum poison, sliwowica. The drink can be summed up by a quote from Marten, the mad Dutchman (who spent his time in Prague associating with the English hooligans who were banned from the World Cup):

"In Holland, in Australia we use this shit to light our BBQs. Here, they drink it." Enough said.