In the middle of the night, I woke up again to the guy coughing and wheezing below me, #nocondoms…. not even trying to stifle his germs from entering the air. I swear people’s mammas didn’t teach them to cover their cough anywhere else in the world besides America. I grumpily wrapped myself in my blanket and stumbled to the 24-hour reception to see if I could switch rooms for the remainder of my stay. There’s nothing worse than getting sick while you’re traveling. The receptionist understood my grievances and gave me the key to a new room and for the next three hours, I slept like a baby, fearless about catching the “hostel flu.”
By this time I’d made good friends with some of the hostel staff and we decided to go for brekky at a local cafe. I should really be buying and cooking my own food because I’m slowly but surely whittling away at my finances and eating out is a sure way to cut my 6-month vacation in half. But I swear eating out is one of the best things about traveling! The restaurant matched the hostel’s hipster neighborhood with messy black lettering and pictographs painted all over the walls, chunky unfinished wooden tables, polished concrete floors, and hanging strands of Edison lightbulbs. We ordered cute little flat omelettes with freshly baked bread, zucchini-flower adornments, and coffees all around. The coffee is so good here, for €1 euro, you pretty much get the best tasting cappuccino you’ve ever had.
The hostel planned fun activities for all hours of the day, and today’s activity was peddle-boating on the Vltava river. We were supposed to meet downstairs at 2:00pm, but I swear my shower turned into a time-warp and I missed the group by about half an hour. I took to the river and tried to find them for a few minutes, but it wasn’t going to happen with all the other floaters out on the water. Instead, I walked the shoreline and the historical downtown district of Prague. I passed by Frank Ghery’s “dancing house,” explored three shaded islands, and walked over the Charles Bridge (which has apparently been held together with egg-based glue since the 1300s).
Along the cobbled riverbank, people were sitting with their feet hanging over the water, drinking 50-cent beers and enjoying the sun. Dozens of floating-restaurants and ex-battleships have been made into bars, where longhaired bartenders pour stiff cocktails and flip their manes in the wind on the river. They were renting stand-up-paddle-boards and kayaks from the back of the floating bars and restaurants, and real swans chased breadcrumbs being thrown off swan-shaped bicycle-boats. There was even a floating volleyball court as well as an outdoor Zumba studio, where they blasted Justin Bieber and tropical house over all the other competing music.
We were supposed to go on a pub crawl, but it was rather expensive, so we opted for another option. We walked downtown to what they call “Dog Bar,” but that’s not actually it’s given name. Here, you paid for a prepaid wristband at the entrance, scanned electronically at all the bar tops and got your unused money back at the end of the excursion. The bar was dimly-lit with inappropriately-sharpied white walls (give a man a sharpie and he WILL draw a penis), shirtless bartenders were pierced and tatt’ed all over their faces, groups of friends smoked cigarettes around hanging door-frame tables in the bar’s multiple nooks and crannies, people sat above the bar on shoddy hand-built levels and swing sets, and two enormous Irish wolfhounds (which are a legendary dog, even in Ireland because their size) walking freely around the bar, greeting drunken guests.
After returning our wristbands, we decided on something more classy. Anonymous bar is known to Prague as a craft-cocktails bar with cocktails ranging above €10.00. We ordered from the limited menu and watched in awe as the mixologists juggled the ingredients back and forth while wearing anonymous masks from V for Vendetta. They harvested fresh orange peels with special peelers, crushed fresh apples with pressed, sliced cucumber, pickled lemons, ground pepper and even lit one of my drinks on fire as they poured it back and forth. Our first round was one of the best drinks we’d ever had so we went to order a second round. When we told the bartenders we were back for seconds, the masked gentlemen handed us a special black light laser-pointer. When looking at the white pages of the menu with the laser pointer, suddenly blue invisible ink appeared on the page and we had access to a whole new array of cocktails. A second drink unlocked a whole new set of options and we were very impressed by the presentation.
Alena Horowitz | Miss Potato