PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - After years of hearing about the Czech Republic being a photographers paradise, I was able to pack my bags and spend 4 days in the "Center of Europe".
Speaking of bags, I personally love seeing what other travelers travel with, so here's a glimpse of my gear on this trip which covered a 10 day assignment in Germany & The Czech Republic.
Took a taxi (only 15 USD) to my hotel, Jurys Inn, located in the center of Prague and perfect walking distance to most of the high-end attractions. I was greeted by the welcome sight of fresh fruit in my room. The bed in the junior suite and fantastic view were also a welcome site to someone who had been traveling for the last 12 hours. Sales Manager Lucie Janovska went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of during my stay at Jurys Inn.
Once I was powered up and rested, it was time to hit the street. The Discover Czech Republic team set up a walking tour with Michal van der Laan. Being a photographer I have a thing with taking photos of people, so here is a portrait of Michal and some street shots from our walk around the city.
We walked to all the normal tourist spots which you can find in all the tourism books. At my request, Michal took me to some "off the beaten path" spots that I hadn't heard of like the Jewish Cemetery. It's home to over 12,000 tombstones in a very small area due to Jewish law that you cannot remove a tombstone once it's been placed. So layers and layers of soil were packed on top because expansion was impossible. An amazing site to behold.
A friend told me I had to see the "baby statues climbing up the TV tower", I said Huh? He said, you'll understand when you get there. Michal knew exactly what I was talking about...you can't miss it. The Television tower also offers some of the best 360 views of the city.
Having just come straight from Munich and Oktoberfest (Meat, Potatoes and Beer), I felt primed for Czech cuisine which consisted of soup and a meat main course. My first evening I dined onsite at the Jurys Inn and feasted on this traditional Czech course.
That evening I decided to head out for a beer at a local bar I had walked by earlier in the day. It had quite a bit of character hanging on the walls and was just dark enough to toe the line of dive bar or cool local bar (both have their time and place). Zuckmantel Bar Sokolovská 233/37, Karlín, 186 00 Praha-Praha 8, Czech Republic.
I approached a table of younger locals who had an open spot, while they looked shocked when I asked to join them...I told them the first round was on me, they smiled and pulled the chair out for me. What followed was what I call "International Relations" 2 hours of storytelling about our respective countries over hand-rolled cigarettes, Czech Beer called Svijany and Whiskey. An artist, a construction worker (hip-hop musician) and a waitress - I learned a bit about their everyday lives in Prague...how they were raised and what their impressions were of America. They told me some of their favorite spots in Prague and all wished to come visit America someday.
Coming next...Czech'n out The Czech Republic Part 2 - The European Culture Capital of Europe - Pilsen (And also home to the best beer I've ever had)