Misc. · Society

Eastern Europe Trip (Spring 2017): Prague

(Note: This is the continuation of my post Eastern Europe Trip (Spring 2017): Budapest.)

The last city in Eastern Europe we visited was Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Everything positive I remarked about Krakow and Budapest applies to that city as well: it is clean and racially homogeneous. It is also astoundingly beautiful. There are too may highlights to list. Prague Castle is absolutely incredible, but even just walking around is a delight.

Here’s a view of Charles Bridge:

However, walking around with open eyes leads to discoveries that may not be highlighted in travel guides, just as this lovely statuette that decorated the corner of a building in the Old Town:

As beautiful as Prague may be, I have some more general concerns. Yes, the place has great potential. Overall, though, the infrastructure seemed somewhat lacking. A particular peeve was that credit cards were not readily accepted. For instance, ticket machines for public transport don’t accept them, which was quite a surprise, considering how smooth our stay in both Krakow and Budapest went.

Exploring the city and trying to get a taste of regular life didn’t go so well either. Once evening we ventured a little further outside the city center to eat at a traditional Czech restaurant. Well, it wasn’t a bad idea per se, but we couldn’t pay with credit card either. Furthermore, staff didn’t speak English all that well and seemed unwilling to provide assistance when ordering. As frustrating as this may have been, I liked the clear exhibit of in-group preference. Somehow, this is what I expect a traditional restaurant that serves the local population to operate. We didn’t starve, though, and found a more traditional and less-touristy place that accepted credit cards. Czech food is great, by the way!

Considering the praises I sang of Krakow and, with reservations, Budapest, it may seem as if my impression of Prague wasn’t as good. I’d rank it between Krakow and Budapest. Life as a tourist is a bit less convenient due to credit cards not being widely accepted. Also, we thought that regular people didn’t converse all that well in English. Still, it’s a great place that has undoubtedly a better future ahead than a city like Berlin. My impression was that the quality of life in Prague was sky-high. If you wanted to get out, then you could do a lot worse than learning Czech. I’d say that if you left a typical Western European city with a decent nest egg and started over in Prague — of course this is only realistic if you’re not tied down anywhere — you would probably enjoy life a lot more. As I said repeatedly, not having to see countless criminals and illegal immigrants day in, day out has a very positive effect on your mood.

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