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Invasion of the tour bus

Monday, October 15th, 2007


Last time I was in Prague, it was 3 years after the Soviets pulled out and things were cheap, very cheap. Tourism was in its infancy and you felt like you discovered a secret gem. I was excited to show Christy this amazing city. Well, the secret is long gone and the place is swarming with tourists. Where you have swarms of tourists you have high prices as well. I couldn’t believe the change in the main town square, new fancy restaurants everywhere, horse carriage tours, huge tour groups walking around and English being spoken everywhere.

What’s weird is that prices are all over the board. In the tourist areas, prices are about the same as the U.S. If you walk a mile outside the tourist area, you could have a nice dinner and drinks for 15 bucks. So needless to say, we did a hell of a lot of walking while we were there. Prague is still an incredibly beautiful city, the most beautiful that Ive ever seen, you just have to look past the crowds now. The number of amazing cathedrals and beautiful buildings is just mind blowing. And to think this was all built hundreds of years ago is just amazing.

Capitalism is definitely alive and well in Prague and the art of nickle and diming you is in full swing. We were in the main square and saw an ice cream stand selling a scoop for a dollar, so we thought, lets get an ice cream, sit in the square and do some people watching. So I order a scoop, and she asks if I want a cone or cup and that it cost 25 cents extra for either one. Since eating ice cream out of my hand didn’t sound like a good option I decided to spend the extra 25 cents for something to hold my wonderful ice cream in. Then she proceeded to give me a scoop and I guess I should have clarified what a scoop was, because what she gave me was no more than a small tablespoon of ice cream, sort of like a sample instead of a scoop. Anyway, it was worth a good laugh and we continued on our way, happy as can be with our very tiny ice cream cones and “sample” of ice cream.