Czeching in to Prague

It seems just yesterday I was arriving at my place in Split, now I am required to pack my life back into bags and set sail for my next location. I swear thats the last time I cry ‘poor me’ about how fast this year is going by.

TL;DR; This post describes the booze fuelled rampage that was my introduction to Prague, RemoteYear doesn’t encourage this sort of thing (much) and in my defence the Czech drink the most beer per capita in the world, circa 150 litres for each man, woman and child. So some would say I am attempting to understand and integrate into the local culture.

Our travel companion Jonathan Lipnicki After trying a number of different combinations I can’t seem to Tetris everything back into my assortment of packing cubes and backpacks. I need to admit defeat, I am never going to be one of those carry on only digital nomads. I pop down to the mall and procure a 105L spinner case - were I trekking through the backcountry of Chile or Bolivia (which I will be doing early next year incidentally) this case would be highly impractical.

As it is I am travelling with 50 other people, so travel day at the end of each month will entail logistics on the scale of a Rolling Stones concert (some Remotes don’t travel light). This way I have an additional 100L of space and still have the backpackers pack for some of my more involved side trips (Split, India, Bolivia etc).

So I trundle my way down the hill to meet my fellow Kaizen’s (our RemoteYear assigned callsign), a quick group photo session, lunch and a farewell to our Split hosts we load up into a fleet of minivans and head to the airport. Where a chartered plane is waiting to take us to Prague, our next destination.

The drinks begin to flow at lunch. Supplies procured for the ride to the airport, a few more drinks land-side after check-in after are worryingly told that there are no bars through customs (this turned out to be false). We make our way (noisily) through customs to be greeted with all 50 of our group at the departure gate.

We board what easily qualifies for the wildest flight I have ever been on, the flight attendants had little chance of controlling us so left us to our devices (even dancing with us at one point). We quickly decided the airline sound system wouldn’t suffice, luckily a number of the Remotes in our group have ‘Boom’ bluetooth speakers which can be networked together. Same goes for the provided drinks service, luckily all of us seemed to have the forethought to sneak a few drinks onto the plane (either duty free or just beer purchased before boarding). And just like that we have a 50 strong party in the sky.

Drinks at the wallWe stream through customs like rockstars and exit the airport to be greeted by our lovely Prague hosts. We do a quick headcount and realise we are one short. After a little investigation by the group leaders it comes to light that one of our group has arrived at customs without their passport! A little panic and pocket checking ensues before we are asked to board our waiting minivans (mostly because I think we were causing a disturbance).

While we are waiting for news of our fallen remote, we are given our welcome packages (snack, apartment keys, SIM card etc), it is a this time I realise I am one bag light, specifically the bag containing my duty free whiskey and newly purchased 360 camera. I head back into the airport and retrace my steps, even try approaching the Police who point us towards the airport staff who just point us off in the distance (couldn’t care less). I decided to cut my losses and take it as lesson learned to pay a bit more attention to my stuff when in transit.

I get back to the minibus a few minutes before a very relieved and bewildered Kaizen having just been reunited with her Passport - where it was actually found is still a mystery but apparently it was handed in. Kaizen complete we trundle off to the city centre. We arrive at our apartment around 9pm, it’s a brisk night, so no time to waste. a quick check in, inspect of the almost brand new apartment, paper rock scissors for room selection (I got the smallest but I have a balcony). And we are out again. We head to the pre-arranged dinner spot in the middle of old town. We completely overwhelm the kitchen with our sheer numbers then totally take over the d-floor of the crazy club beneath the restaurant. We finally exit and mount an uber just as the sun is coming up.

After a few hours sleep we rise and shine, eager not to waste the first day in Prague. We meet for breakfast and decide to explore our new city. What starts as a quiet walk into town evolves into an epic adventure lasting a blurry 15 hours. Some highlights:

  • Crashing a dance party for 70+ year olds.. on a boat
  • Finding an illegal bar in some ramshackle building behind a skatepark
  • Getting hooked up to flavoured Oxygen at a club split over 5 levels

But those stories are perhaps for another day. Prague, I love you but shit, you like to drink.