Un-tourist day in Prague to celebrate 20th anniversary

(written by Dave)

Well, we made it.  Twenty years ago today we got married.  If you would have told us twenty years ago that we would spend our twentieth anniversary in Prague on a multi-year bicycle trip, we would have deemed you mad.  Twenty years ago, the Czech Republic was still part of Czechoslovakia and the fall of communism was still very much a real-time event.  Travelling here by bicycle would have been difficult, probably not allowed.  And that’s just CZ.  We were hardly legit bicycle tourists in 1992 – we’d probably toured all of 20 days at that point and we thought that riding for two months across the US on our honeymoon was wildly ambitious.   Well, we pulled off the honeymoon across US trip, made lots of other trips and now we are here, in Prague, celebrating our 20th anniversary.  Who would have thought…

So what do you do on your twentieth anniversary?  For us, we decided to do as little as possible for a change.  Rather than run all over the city and try to see every last possible tourist sight we decided to hang close to our apartment and see if we could get a feel for what Prague was really like.

We like Prague.  There is a nice energy about the city.  We are right near a tram stop so we get a mix of tourists and locals going about their lives.  It’s a little more edgy than Salzburg but not as full-on as places like Istanbul or Bangkok.  There lots of old historical buildings and photo opportunity abound, but it doesn’t feel overly protected or museum-like.  You still see some graffiti, there are “everyday man” kebab shops on many corners and there is a real lived in vibe.  Our stroll today got us close to some of the more touristic sights and here you could feel the difference.  There were a lot more people hustling business and you certainly hear a lot more languages being spoken.  We heard tour guides speaking English with both distinct American and Australian accents today.

We enjoyed being surprised as well.  Costa coffee sells both beer and wine.  We passed a yogurt shop that sold beer as well.  It was quite odd to see a dad drinking a beer with his kids eating cones.  We saw several streets where they are laying “new” cobblestones.  We used to think cobblestones were quaint but now having our bones and bikes nearly jarred to death on them, we like pavement better.  All the same, in Prague old-town cobblestones are still the pavement surface of choice.  We found lots of street art and watched as most people simply walked past without a glance.  Prague has some clever art, like the man hanging from one arm, the tree with a jail-like cage or big guns in a building courtyard.  I think that the locals don’t see the art as it is there every day.  And the tourist, they want to see the 500-year-old castle, bridge, church, etc.  In Prague, you could probably pick a block per week and if you go slow paying attention to the details, be fully entertained for the entire year.

There are lots of bars and probably too many pizza restaurants.  The bars run 50/50 Budwar and Pilsner beer brands.  There are quite a few Absinthe bars as well.  This is definitely a European drink.  I don’t know much of the history but know that it didn’t exist in the US during my college days.  Everything I read today makes it seem like any other spirit but somehow it has hung onto the reputation of being slightly dangerous – thus the bars I suppose.

We are continuing the hanging our theme of the day for dinner.  We thought about going out but in our stroll, we found a bottle of Penfolds wine at Tesco.  (Penfolds is Aussie – for Aussie readers, the bottle is not Grange but a nice drop all the same).  We haven’t seen Penfolds in a long time so I’m making one of our favourite pasta dishes and we’re hanging out here for dinner.

Tomorrow there will be plenty of time to see most of the sights with all the other tourists, so one easy day seemed like the right thing to do on our twentieth anniversary.

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13 thoughts on “Un-tourist day in Prague to celebrate 20th anniversary

  1. Congratulations on a great 20th anniversary celebration, sounds like a really nice day among many on the trip. An interesting collection of photos today. Indeed it does appear that there is much to see in the city and quite a variety to the sights. Happy cycling!

  2. Happy Anniversary! Can you guess where you will be in the next 20 yrs? As long as it is together, it will be OK!!

  3. 20years……. When you tell people you are going to be riding your Bike on your honeymoon across America and they can’t see why, but to feel the freedom and sense of accomplishment while lapping up the sights the world 20 years latter……. Congratulations….!! O and I still recall that beautiful day where my mind and body were doing battle up the col Du lautaret…..

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