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Travel Guide – Prague

lighted bridge near dome building during golden hour

Whilst I have visited Prague on a couple of occasions my favourite time was when communism had just fallen, I was about 19/20 when I visited with my Dad and we met a work friend of his. The streets were pretty much empty and there were only locals around, not the bustling ‘stag do’ city you will experience if you visited more recently. The first time round they were actually grateful we came, injecting much needed money into their emerging economy. Which is sadly what greeted me in 2014, the Tesco’s set in stunning historic building in the middle of town is their pride and joy. Capitalism has taken over with a vengeance and it is not quite the same Eastern European block country we once knew.

Arriving at the train station in 2014 I had sworn that I wouldn’t let the taxi drivers take advantage by going the long way round to the hotel, I knew what it should have been, and at the time I thought nothing of going to ask the security guards to point me in the direction of the taxi stand. What I hadn’t thought or appreciated is that they are in collusion with the drivers themselves. Alarm bells should have rang as I walked into the dark side of the train station, not feeling particularly unsafe as there were a number of people around me I jumped in the nearest taxi.

About half way to the hotel my heart sank when I realised what had happened, watching the cost rise whilst I knew I had enough money that wasn’t really the point. Arriving at the hotel I was relieved that it was somewhat luxurious and the room I had was a suite. First things first was to test the bath, most important in my opinion (where there isnt a bath the shower better be good). The Union Hotel is a clean comfortable and affordable place to stay, the staff are reasonably friendly and helpful, its also near enough to a local Lidl to get supplies if like me you aren’t always into going to restaurants. The breakfasts are pretty good – buffet style so you can choose as you please but the room is small so watch out for personal space issues!

Only having a few days meant that I didn’t manage to see a huge amount of the touristy places but it had certainly changed since my first visit. However with the power of Air B&B it was possible to find a number of free yoga sessions and other group meet ups for travellers. The yoga was in the park on the hill just above my hotel (picture above) and I met a lovely girl called Elisabeth Brown – a Canadian who was travelling Europe teaching Yoga as she went. The session was great – made up for the inauspicious start – and we all piled off to the local cafe for a drink, we are still Facebook friends now even though she is now back across the pond.

brown and black round analog clock at 10 00

Whilst COVID might help reduce the number of people travelling to Prague at any given time the fact is that it remains a very popular place to visit for a number of reasons business and leisure alike. I’m sure they are very proud of their Hooters and their coffee shops but personally I feel its not the way it was and whilst I embrace change and improvement the dishonesty and corruption somewhat out weighs it. It is of course for you to decide what you prefer.

The food is typical Eastern European fayre of delicious soups, very few vegetables and plenty of breaded and fried meat. Much like its neighbours they are trying to offer a healthy diet but when you are faced with such fabulous looking pastries and cakes why would you want an apple?

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