The full Czech Republic album is available on Flickr for your viewing pleasure.
When you find yourself in a place where beer's cheaper than water, it doesn't take much time to realize that you're in for a party. But don't get ahead of yourself. Take a few moments to brush up on these travel tips to avoid a social faux pas in the land of stories.
Prague is a major tourist attraction and one of Europe's party capitals as well. The people are friendly, the beer is flowing... so go ahead and make some new friends. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Dobry den! Practice your Czech while making new friends.
A fantastic way to meet new people is by staying at a hostel. The Mosaic House proved to be an excellent choice on our trip. It offers free daily walking tours and has an in-house restaurant and bar. If that doesn't scream new friends... I don't know what does.
Do NOT confuse with Russia.
The worst mistake you can make in the Czech Republic is assume or associate the country with Russia. It. Is. Not. Russia. The Czech people speak their own language - which is quite different from Russian. They are more closely associated with the old Austro-Hungarian Empire than they are with the old USSR. They claim to be located in Central Europe - not Eastern Europe. Takeaway: not Russia. The Czech people are very adamant about this.
Do drink the beer.
From humble beginnings in monastery basements to your local neighbourhood pub, beer has been a significant part of the region's identity for more than a thousand years. Fan of a good Pilsner? Thank the Czech for that. The signature pale lager was originally brewed in the town of Pilsen and has since made its way into homes and hearts across the globe. It would be a sin not to drink a Pilsner when you're in town - and when you notice it really is cheaper than ordering water, it will be impossible to pass up.
Do NOT use cheezy pickup lines.
"You must be from Prague, because I can't help but Czech you out."
Czech me out? Czech you out? Just don't. It won't go over well. Seriously. You'll get a polite "what an idiot eye roll" at best. You may find this on t-shirts at almost every souvenir shop but the locals are not fans.
Do ride a Segway.
Unlike Vancouver, segways are actually legal to operate on public roads and sidewalks in Prague. If you've never been on a segway, you're seriously missing you. Sure, you might look like an idiot but those things are actually super fun! Just watch out for small dogs and children... segways weigh about 260 pounds - which means you can do some serious damage if you happen to run them over.
While you're at it, might as well stroll over to the infamous Lennon Wall and gaze at the masterful graffiti tribute to the Beatles. It's (obviously) a free attraction and makes for some super snazzy Instagram shots. You may say I'm a dreamer... but I'm not the only one.
Do NOT buy nesting dolls as souvenirs.
Again - not Russia. There are plenty of other viable souvenir options available for your convenience. Anything beer-related is probably a good call and appreciated by most. If you're looking for something even more authentic, look for a plushie of "Krtek the Little Mole." This charater is from one of the most beloved children's cartoon and it's popularity is widespread across Europe. Fair warning: he's adorable.
Do take a moment to reflect on history.
For the duration of WW2, Czechoslovakia was under Nazi Germany rule and was no stranger to the atrocities of the Holocaust. Just a short bus ride from current day Czech Republic capital lies the town of Terezin, a former military fortress that was transformed into a concentration camp alongside a makeshift Jewish ghetto during the German occupation.
Although Terezin was not an extermination camp, thousands of prisoners lost their lives in captivity and in the adjacent ghetto due to the inhumane living conditions and undeniable violence towards the Jewish population. It's also important to note that the majority of Terezin's prisoners were sent to actual extermination camps such as Aushwitz and Dachau once they were deemed to be incapable of working.
It's certainly not the most cheerful place to visit, but it's important to take a moment and reflect on the past in to fully understand and appreciate the present. If time allows, visiting the Terezin Concentration Camps is an absolute must when in the Czech Republic.