PRAGUE-Pay to Pee and Stand to Eat

By Carol L. Bowman



altWe hopped on the subway at Zelivsk?ho, hauling a map, a sense of adventure and mild anxiety.We had to count the number of stops, as pronouncing Czech Republic street names remained an unappealing task. My tongue twisted from a tangle of v’s, k’s, z’s and h’s common in the Slovak languages. As the train car passed Ji?ího z Pod?brad, Nám Míru and Hlávni Nadra?ni stations, we shuffled off with the locals at Mustek, dizzy.

The hotel concierge warned us that, with over 4 million yearly visitors, Prague suffered from customary tourist rip-offs, which he called, ‘Czech tricks.’ “Watch out for gypsies who linger in underground stations and the crowded ‘Old Town’ center, waiting to lighten your Czech Krowns from pocket or purse. Never get into a taxi before first settling on the fare and never say ‘thank you’ to a waiter when handing over money for a bill. That’s considered a done deal and no change will be returned.”

We donned vests with zippered pockets, hid our Krowns (Kc’s for short) in pick proof places, grabbed the list of ‘must sees’ and set off to explore Prague, a political, cultural and economic center of Europe for over 1100 years. Gothic and Renaissance architecture, sites reflecting the permanent seat of two Holy Roman Emperors, the Hapsburg  Monarchy and the