Olly Newport
Freelance Filmmaker & Photographer
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The blog of: Photography, films, technical advice and other babble from filmmaker Olly Newport.

Interrail 2017: Prague, Czech Republic

The view from Prague Castle... right next to a Starbucks

 

I hadn't considered Prague as a destination on this trip until a vegetarian friend mentioned that they ate steak tartar in a butchers there. I might be a carnivore, but I find it hard to stomach raw meat (the only time I've ordered it was on accident in a Parisian bistro, something which my stomach still punishes me for).

The only information about the Czech Republic I knew was: they use Czech Koruna and not the Euro (and thus things are cheap); it was the birthplace of the pilsner beer style; and a pint costs 90p... this last nugget of information was what whetted my appetite the most.

I hopped on a rickety local train from Bad Schandau that wiggled all the way down the Elbe river, crossing the German/Czech boarder—sheer mountains dusted with snow; muted post-communist towns littered with boarded copy-paste buildings; and expansive frozen ice drifted by for the length of the journey (video clip).


Street Art (and not graffiti!)

Street art outside the Cross Club

 

There's always a 'free' (read: donation) tour to be had in every city, but they usually only cover major landmarks, are light on details, and frequently overcrowded—typically you're a herd of sheep, yelled at by a non-native desperately trying to get 50 people to cross a road. This time I skipped the free tour.

There's a thriving graffiti and street art scene in Prague, and the tour that covers this exceptionally is the 'Alternative Tour'. It costs Kc 500.00 (around £17, tickets are £14 for students) and lasts 3 hours, ending at a dingy steampunk nightclub very much off the beaten path. Our guide led us to hidden gallery spaces, through painted backstreets, into permitted street art spaces and away from the throng of tourists. Our guide was interesting, a local, and could answer any question thrown at her. We all hung out at the end of the tour, swapping stories and asking more questions about life in Prague.

 
Street art in Prague, butterfly gun

Outside the Cross Club, Prague

Street art & graffiti in Prague
DOX Airship 'Gulliver'

DOX Airship 'Gulliver'


a city of two halves / Stark contrasts

 

Ancient and beautiful—a variety of Gothic, art nouveau, baroque and Renaissance architecture can be seen within a five minute walk—Prague is also full of stark contrasts. Buildings hundreds of years old collide with structures of ginormous, grey, imposing concrete, plopped thoughtlessly into the landscape. Sleek modern buildings (like DOX gallery) shuffle up with the duplicated communist walk ups, and rub up five story pastel neo-Renaissance flats covered in frilliness and pomp. 

All this makes Prague an excellent wandering city, you can walk for an hour and see a thousand years of architecture. 

 

Žižkov Television Tower, Prague


A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Charles Bridge, Prague

 

Advice on: drinking cheep beer in Prague in 10 steps

  1. Bring cash
  2. It's nearly always table service
  3. Depending on the kind of bar will depend on what they automatically serve you
  4. If you're not getting served quickly enough, signal to a waiter for a beer
  5. The beer will come, fast
  6. Beer costs around Kc 35 (tourist traps will charge significantly more)
  7. It's assumed when you finish that you want a refill, place your beer mat on top of your glass if you're done
  8. Share a table, smile at your neighbours
  9. Order a dark beer
  10. Repeat
 

View from the Petřín Lookout Tower — visit 30 minutes before closing to beat the crowds and get the best view

 

Final advice

Walk. Walk everywhere. Prague is beautiful, has an amazing variety of architecture, plus it's dirt cheap to eat, drink and stay in! There's going to be a lot of tourist and tourist traps in the Old Town Square (please don't eat there), so make sure to visit the major attractions early in the day (before 10am). 

For invaluable advice on Prague and the Czech Republic, check out Honest Guide, they have dozens of exceptional videos that I wish I had seen before I visited.

 

Olly Visited

Food, Drink & Markets

  • Headshot Coffee
  • Home Kitchen
  • Farmářské trhy Jiřák
  • Kávový Klub
  • café jen
  • Mr.HotDoG
  • Nota Bene

Beer

  • Lokál Dlouhááá
  • Illegal Beer
  • Pivovar U Tří růží

Museums, Art Galleries & Landmarks

  • Prague Castle
  • Charles Bridge
  • Old Town Square
  • Bastion XXXI U Božích muk
  • DOX Centre for Contemporary Art
  • Petřín Lookout Tower

Hostels, Tours & Nightlife

  • Prague Alternative Tour
  • Sophie's Hostel
  • AghaRTA Jazz Centrum
  • Cross Club
  • Joystick Arcade Bar