Tuesday, November 27, 2007


It may or may not come as such a surprise to you that I drink beer...depending on which side of the Atlantic you met me. Before leaving Canada I'd never drank a whole one in my life, not that I hadn't tried, I just couldn't down a Budweiser for the life of me. Fast forward to Prague and I even impressed myself with my ability to finish off a whole pint after several attempts. Don't start "ass"uming that I'm a boozer or anything like though.

Beer culture (who would have thought the two words could go side by side) is part of life in Prague. After a couple months of being here its not hard to imagine why. The original Budweiser comes from the Czech Republic as does the original Pilsner. More importantly however is the price of beer where you can get yourself a pint of original Czech brew for average of 30czk or $1.50 for us Canadians. What's even more is that's the same price as getting a 0.3l bottle of water or a soft drink (it's very rare to be able to ask for tap water for free). So as logic would have it, most people opt for the Pivo; lunch, dinner, night out and for the professionals, even breakfast. I've seen it many a time walking by a local pub in the morning. Most importantly is the fact that the stuff actually tastes good, its a lot lighter than Canadian beer and doesn't leave you feeling like you've eaten a loaf of bread afterwards.

I rest my case...

Side note; for all you future Prague visitors, don't ever and I mean ever pay 90 czk for a beer at the Old Town Square or other tourist trap. I'm sure the beer ancestors would roll over in their graves when hearing of that inflated price. Max 45czk.

As I am not a subject matter expert, I will suggest you check out my friend Jenny (and friends) comprehensive Beer Blog Dobre Pivo.

Na Zdravi!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pa Pa Papageno

This is just one of the songs that was left stuck in my head after attending the opera of The Magic Flute. While my opera voice leaves much to be desired, the folks performing here in Prague know what they are doing. Be it opera, theatre, or ballet, Divadlos (or theatres) can be spotted just about everywhere you turn. I'd say the Calgary equivalent would be your local 7-Eleven. The arts scene is booming here and on any given night, you can catch a performance for a very affordable price. Take for instance the National Theatre here (Narodni Divadlo), absolutely stunning theatre, with world famous performance, offers seats in the top section of the theatre for 80 czk which is $4 dollars. Naturally you don't have the best view, but if you're catching an opera for instance, then the sounds is just as good as anywhere else in the theatre.

I've tried to catch a bunch of performances while I've been here and every time I enter one of the breath taking theatres, I'm blown away. My favorite show was Swan Lake which I caught at the National Opera House here. Everything from the dancing, to the costumes, to the music was very well done and left me dreaming of becoming a ballerina one day.

It's great seeing people in their best evening gowns or top hats, out for the ballet on a weeknight. Although I've also witnessed some rather strange outfits including a lady with a dead animal wrapped around her shoulder. If you look hard at the picture below, you can spot her in the background. This is definitely one aspect of life in Prague that I wish I had taken advantage of more while it has been so available to me.

Estates Theatre; first performing arts theatre in Prague

State Opera

Swan Lake

Every theatre has to have a fancy chandelier: this one at the National Theatre

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Those 10 inch squares

First on the list of Life in Praha: Cobblestones! Those 10 inch squares covering a major part of Prague streets and wreaking havoc to the heels of unsuspecting tourists who opt for "non functional" footwear. I admit it, first I was charmed by them. Then I learned how unforgiving they can be if you don't pay attention while walking, that for a brief moment I almost despised them. Over time however, I've regained my appreciations for these beautiful rocks that have been here for centuries and learned to walk with my eyes firmly placed on the ground in front.

Here's an example of just how prominent they are: Last week there was an attempted Neo Nazi march in Prague which was met with a lot of police opposition and major media hoopla. Nothing really significant happened but the one of the articles I read after the event put a smile on my face and made me think "only in Prague." Apparently one of the scuffles included some left-wing extremists who attacked police with cobble stones of all things! Because throwing regular rocks is for the rest of us common folk.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Life in Praha

The other night I finally had an evening to myself and time to just relax, read my book and reminisce about the wonderful life I've led for the last year and amazing memories I now have. The one memory that will remain constant even after others begin to fade is my love of Prague; its narrow, cobblestone roads, the countless spires, rich cultural scene, and beer aplenty. I'm getting all sentimental becuase my time here is slowling ticking away making me take a couple extra seconds each day to marvel at my surroundings. This includes all of the people I've met here, who have become another family to me and I know that it will be incredibly difficult to part with them.

So in the next couple weeks, as I unproductively wind down my time at work (sorry boss) I hope to pay tribute to this city, the people and my life in Prague by sharing some of my favorite things about being here. I can only hope I will feel the same sense of inspiration on my next journey.