Castles, beer and shady run-ins with Communism. That’s eastern Europe for you. Christophe and I filled one book bag each and took off for Prague.
First, a brief history.
Let’s start at Prague Castle, which was a grand palace where kings ruled for a long time. Then some wars, marriages and politics happened. Eventually, the country landed in the hands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Hapsburg Monarchy. Then it was volleyed over to the Communist Soviet Union after WWII in 1948. Totalitarian bullying ensued for over 40 years until 1989, after the Berlin Wall fell, when Czechoslovakians said, “WTF, USSR? You suck. We is outta here.” And the Velvet Revolution began, a peaceful demonstration, largely held by students, that resulted in the Czechs freeing themselves from the USSR, Communism, and all that drab business of conformity and lame ass lameism. In 1993, Prague became the capital of the new Czech Republic, the world came to visit and the streets became lined with tchotchke shops hawking matryoshka dolls, ashtrays and fake fur hats.
But enough about that. Let’s get to the beer.
Every hour in Prague is beer-o-clock. The country drinks more beer per capita than any other in the world. And I understand why. The secret ingredient is the water. Yumbo water gurgling from pure mountain streams. So a typical lager is delectable carbonated barley and hops glory.
Christophe and I arrived at the airport in the late afternoon. After a moment of Oh-fuck-I-wish-I’d-researched-how-to-get-downtown-from-the-airport, we found an airport shuttle that dropped us off smack dab in the middle of the action. After asking the driver to point at exactly where we were on the map, we oriented ourselves, found a currency-exchange place, and walked straight into this little house of Czech worship: