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Stories from Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

Holy Tourism!

timWow. I expected to see tourists in Prague, but I wasn't prepared for so many. I guess when the word at home for almost a decade has been that Prague is a great place to visit, that I shouldn't expect a tourist-free city.

Of course, I fully expected McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut, but not the TGI Friday! Transport me back to the American suburbs!

There is so much competition for the tourist dollar that hawkers stand around the old town square holding signs advertising all sorts of stuff... from the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments, to the Spiders and Scorpions Museum, plus a bagel/internet joint, and performances of Jesus Christ Superstar or Cats. A four member fife and drum corps even passed me in full period dress advertising performances of Don Giovanni.

Other hawkers chased me across the cobblestone streets handing out flyers with such enthusiasm that if I had no arms, they would be stuffing them in my mouth.

Of course, there is a reason for Prague's popularity. It is a beautiful and inexpensive city with much to offer, from castles and colorful architecture to the nighttime cityscape reflecting off the Ultara river. And as an added bonus, excellent Czech beer. The most famous of which is the real Budweiser, Budvar, which unlike the American version is full bodied and excellent. (It is too bad American Budweiser prohibits this from being sold in the US.)

I enjoyed my time in the city and met lots of new friends, but if you are planing a trip here, do yourself a favor and come in the spring or fall. Maybe then you can actually hear someone speak without an American accent. top

Evening falls over Prague Castle and the Vlatava River. The castle was built in the 9th century and is currently the official home of the Czech president.