I took advantage of this free time and spent Friday and Saturday in Prague and a few hours on Sunday at Oktoberfest. I book my travel through a student travel company here in Florence- Bus2Alps (http://www.bus2alps.com/en/tours), which organizes trips for students studying in Europe to other European destinations.
We left Florence around 9 p.m. on Thursday night and arrived in Prague at about 9 a.m. on Friday morning. After checking in to the Czech Inn, our hostel, we jumped on a tram and headed into the city center. Bus2Alps arranged a tour guide well-versed in Czech history and cultural to show us the Old Town, New Town, and Jewish Quarter. After the tour, we had some time to explore on our own and since I was one of only two guys on this particular excursion (not counting our two awesome Bus2Alps guides- Tony and Sean), that inevitably meant shopping. However, walking around in Prague was very pleasant because it actually felt like fall. Florence on the other hand, is still quite hot.
The next morning, Sean and Tony took us out into the city again and we explored the Charles Bridge, John Lennon Wall, the Kafka Museum, and took in everything Prague had to offer. We then went up to Prague Castle, which is the largest castle in the world for a tour of the courtyards and cathedral.
Our tour guide then took us on a beer tasting to three different locations in the city. At the first, we learned about cultural aspect of beer in the Czech Republic. The proper way to toast is to raise a glass, look the person you are cheersing directly in the eye (or seven years bad luck will follow) say “Na zdrovie!” (to health!), put you glass back down on the table, and finally take a drink. We learned about the subtle nuances of beer and how important it is to the Czech people (much like wine to the French and Italians).
Afterward, we met up with Tony and Sean to experience some Czech nightlife at Lucerna. The discoteca has giant video screens that play 80s and 90s music videos. It was one of the most laid back places I have ever been to with a very varied crowd- locals, business people, students all of whom were dressed in a variety of attire.
The next morning we were bound for Munich. Unfortunately, it was raining so the walk was a bit unpleasant. However, Oktoberfest was an amazing time. The spirit of the event is wonderful. Everyone is so friendly and willing to get to know the people around them- which wasn’t difficult given how full the tent was. After sipping our glasses and eating our giant pretzels we were back on the bus and homeward bound.
This weekend promises to be a little bit quieter with me just spending time in Florence, catching up on reading and getting some work done.
Till next time,