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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Prague

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Prague, Czech Republic - 2012

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 29/08/2012 04:27:02

Prague was only on my European itinerary because I wanted to catch a stadium show in different country to Australia. It turned out the Red Hot Chili Peppers were playing Synot Tip Arena in Prague in my timeline so Czech Republic made the list. This decision turned out to be quite fortunate as Prague was a beautiful country, full of interesting sculpture and architecture. Unfortunately, after eleven days in Italy I was confused by the language (and kept saying si, caio and grazie to bewildered Czechs) and new currency of Prague (I figured it out just before I had to leave).

I had planned to be on one of the many pub crawls on my first night in Prague, so I didn't want to wrangle with public transport from the airport upon arrival. This resulted in me accepting the hotel's offer of a cab waiting for me at the airport - the first time one of those dudes had my name on his sign (spelt correctly and everything). I tried to be as authentic as possible for my first meal in Prague, and made my way to a cafeteria-style restaurant that the locals packed into (and tourists seemed to avoid). It was really quite nice (I had a chicken meal with rice - that's about all I know) and super cheap - I would visit this eatery again for some borscht the next day (also ultra tasty).

On the way to the pub crawl I saw the Astronomical Clock, cool because it shows a number of astrological details on the one difficult-to-understand dial, shit because of every other reason. Seriously, this is one of the main attractions of Prague? It was an ok public clock I guess, as far as public clocks go, but certainly very overrated. Every hour a crowd gathers and applauds the dude that plays the trumpet to signify the passing of another hour, this crowd should reset their expectation levels.

If you think this is an interesting sight - you'd probably also love some of Australia's biggest tourist attractions (see what I did there?)

I eventually made it to the pub crawl location, which kicked off with two hours of free drinks (don't mind if I do). I met two guys from California that were on their Summer holidays before college - and they were actually really cool guys. They introduced me to some of those college drinking games you see on US TV - beer pong, flip cup and rage cage. Where were these games when I was in high school / uni? Combining fun games, competition and drinking in the one activity - why isn't this more popular in Melbourne? Maybe it is amongst the kids (these days) - but I'm not aware of it. Rage cage was my favourite, turns out I'm pretty skilled at bouncing a ping pong ball into a variable number of stacked cups.

I didn't get too messy on this pub crawl, as the next afternoon I had another bike tour scheduled. While not as high-quality as the Barcelona offering, this tour was also really fun and info packed. I think the tour guide must have been a student of architectural history - as that's what the tour seemed to focus on. This was actually great for me - as I've mentioned before I don't have much knowledge in this area. I can now tell the difference between gothic and baroque (baroque? more like boring-oque - amirite?) and have been introduced to many other styles that I now want to research.

An example of cubism - I'm going to introduce my own architectural style where every staircase incorporates a slide

Another result of this tour is I now have a favourite sculpturer (or is it sculpturist?), Czech-born David Cerny. We were shown a few pieces of his work including crazy barcode babies brought up by television and two men taking a piss. It was good seeing these on a tour, because I can never tell what art actually means, and now I know the two men urinating represent the EU taking a piss on the Czech Republic. His works aren't limited to Prague, so I'm going to see if I can check out some more on my journey.

I have already horrified one of my aunties by introducing her to the certain internet shock site that this image reminds me of - so I will not mention that again

Unfortunately I didn't make it back here once I finally discovered the phone number that you would need to text to get the men to draw your message with their urine. I still texted my message (piss on that I want to hit somebody - Joel Dixon) to the number. I like to believe that my message was received and now my name has been painted with glorious urine

The remainder of the tour showed us the Charles Bridge, Lennon Wall and the Jewish Ghetto. The Jewish Ghetto in Prague is quite unique in that the majority of building remain un-demolished and it still looks quite beautiful. The reason for this is less than beautiful - Hitler decided that Prague's Jewish Ghetto would serve as a nice looking historical museum after he completed the extermination of the Jewish people. This lead to a bunch of World War II wikipedia article consumption that night - just in time for my next destination - Germany.

On the final full day in Prague I decided to check out the castle district on another guided tour. Prague boasts the largest castle in the world (although it is not a single structure and doesn't even really look like a castle) and the whole area surrounding it is a very quaint and pretty. This tour guide was excellent and told us further stories about the cruelty employed during the years of Nazi occupation in Prague.

My final night in Prague culminated in the Red Hot Chili Pepper's concert at Synot Tip Arena. I was impressed - they certainly still have it. Of other bands I've seen of their vintage (Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, etc) they were one of the best at still being able to play their earlier stuff with excellent results. They even played Sir Psycho Sexy and They're Red Hot in their encore and that stuff can't be easy to play live. The Prague crowd were excited and numerous, the arena officially went "off" during By The Way and then Give it Away. Sure, the Chili Peppers are playing in Melbourne early next year - so I could have just seen them then - but I'm glad I went for this experience during my trip.

One of the few times I've taken a photo at a concert (I normally prefer to just enjoy the show). You may be able to pick that Josh Klinghoffer has a broken foot is needed to sit for the entirety of the show. I don't think this dampened his enthusiasm in any way - and Flea came over from time to time to say hello (via guitar)

This is the 11th in the EuroJoel - 2012 series
City 1 - Lisbon, Portugal - 2012City 2 - Porto, Portugal - 2012City 3 - Madrid and Toledo, Spain - 2012City 4 - Valencia, Spain - 2012City 5 - Barcelona, Spain - 2012City 6 - Naples, Italy - 2012City 7 - Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012City 8 - Florence and Pisa, Italy - 2012City 9 - Milan and Bologna, Italy - 2012City 10 - Venice, Italy - 2012City 11 - Prague, Czech Republic - 2012City 12 - Dresden, Germany - 2012City 13 - Berlin, Germany - 2012City 14 - Legoland, Denmark, 2012City 15 - Edinburgh, Scotland - 2012City 16 - Nice and Monte Carlo, France - 2012City 17 - Lyon, France - 2012City 18 - Dijon, France - 2012City 19 - Provins, France - 2012City 20 - Paris, France - 2012City 21 - Ireland - 2012City 22 - London, England - 2012City 23 - Killarney - Ireland, 2012City 24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - 2012City 25 - Brussels and Bruges, Belgium - 2012City 26 - Warsaw, Poland - 2012City 27 - Krakow, Poland - 2012City 28 - Vienna, Austria - 2012City 29 - Budapest, Hungary - 2012City 30 - Bucharest, Romania - 2012City 31 - Nile Cruise, Egypt - 2012City 32 - Cairo, Egypt - 2012

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