Prague: Ask a local

I KEEP saying it, “When touring a new place, it’s always best to do it with a local.”

But what if you don’t know anyone? Well, asking someone in the place for a tip or two can do the trick (of course, you single out a credible ones-your hotel’s concierge, that person in the tourist center, etc.), do your research on-line before your arrival, or a hop-on-hop-off tourist bus can be your best bet on seeing the best spots of the place.

There are several free maps at the tourist assistance counter at the airport, but this one is the coolest.

Your guide can pop up from where you least expect it to come from. In this lone traveler’s case, when I finally got to Prague for the first time, my local tipster and guide was a free map from the airport’s tourist counter.

Your tour guide on the map speaks. A trivia on a must-see spot in Prague. Plus, reading ahead, you can act like a local.

It was handed to me, not from the display but from the drawer. Apparently, the stash, for free it may be, was saved for some reason. I must be one of those reasons (grinning now), or I was seen as a “young traveler?”

A sections in the map talks about the musts of local cuisine. There’s something for vegetarians as well.

The map states: “Made by locals” and “A free map for young travelers,” and it’s the best map I’ve seen in my years of traveling. Aside from the city map, the spread contains a ton of information about Prague-the cuisine and where to eat, transportation and best way to get around, off the beaten track must-see spots, practical information, a bit of history, souvenir shopping and what to get them, and most interesting are these entries: “Act like a local.”

Here’s a good tip: Take the public transport because it’s cheaper & faster than taxis. Taxi drivers with their unreasonable prices are generally considered robbers.

The metro system of Prague is very comprehensive.

Yes, the map is truly engaging. How the written tips are conveyed is like conversing with a local-a local tourist guide with humor and loaded with trivia! Of course, the design and layout should be credited as well.

On the “Act Like A Local” section: (refer to the topmost photo) “There is a reason why Rudolph II (left) and Charles IV (right) on the cover page are touching glasses of beer. It is actually cheaper than water in most of the restaurants and pubs. Feel right at home in our crazy eating facilities and drink our precious beer.”

As recommended. Broke my no-meat diet & tried the svickova- meat with creamy sauce & dumplings.

True enough, I did only pay for the beer I ordered but for the glass water I asked for as well.

On the “Souvenirs” section: “Russian matryoshka dolls or ushanikas (fur hats) are strictly forbidden! We aren’t Russians! Please remember that. And FYI, locals don’t wear T-shirts like Czech Drinking Team” or “Czech Me Out.”

Big No-no! Flooding the souvenir shops are the Matryoshka dolls, which is Russian. “We are not Russians,” said the Czechs.

I still wonder to this day why most of the shops in the place sell the dolls.

The “Off the beaten track” section offers a 2.5-hour of walking tour the Prague “beauties.” I just wonder why the section is called such when the sites mentioned are the busiest. How they dubbed them was funny though: “Unwanted Ingenious Device” – the Astronomical clock almost ended up in scrap; “The Beer Monastery” – If you’re not interested in the monk’s collection in The Strahov Monastery, the oldest Premonstratensian monastery in the republic, then you can’t refuse their excellent beer.

The locals call St. Nicholas Church as the “Curious Church” & “probably the most beiatiful Czech Baroque building”

The “Get away along the river” section shares how the Vlatva River is important to Prague and an evening walk along it can be amazing with sights like “Peacock Garden”, the palace in the Wallenstein Garden; “Prague’s Venice”-quiet, false island called Kampa is separated from the mainland by the short, artificial Certivka canal; and the “From a swan’s perspective” is a romantic boat cruise on the Vlatva, which is “a stream rather than a river.”

The map says to “get away along the river” & explore the sites along the Vlatva. A cruise would be good.

Who’s viewing who? The boat ride will show you Prague from another perspective.

This was my guide to Prague and it helped a lot. Make sure you secure one from the tourist desk at the airport before hitting the city.

Or, someone from this kind of establishment. Our countrymen living in the land can be very helpful.

Dekuji Prague! It has been a wonderful visit. I will see you again. For sure.

*****

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