A few notes on my hostel, food, and Prague conventions of nonstop.
I have gravitated towards one hostel; the Art Hole Hostel, it is well -stocked, staffed, and a generally good place to be. Bit of a joke developed with one of the staff members. When I ring the door she asks me for the password, even though there’s a camera, and I say the title of this piece. I may have spelt her name wrong, she is Slovenian, and if you are reading this I will apologise later.
The place has good music. It is varied, occasionally it has acoustic cover of songs, some dance kind of tunes also, a bit of indie, earlier today Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” – which I am not this morning, a little rough from the Lambrusco of the previous night and tired as some guy was snoring all night long, Lionel Ritchie style (though I imagine Lionel does something else all night long, like sleep soundly). Still, the tunes right now are exactly what I need, kind of soft and cool, but with a bit of energy which fills the heart with that celestial fire that says “Live, fool” and imbues one with that indomitable spirit of “Carry on”.
It’s shame those Second World War signs were ruined by memes; they actually made a lot of sense and were a beautiful sentiment, in their own darkly poetic way. If you panic, if you stop, you will harm yourself and your neighbours. Keep calm: move forward. It’s like that key advice they give on aeroplanes. In the event of a sudden loss of pressure, oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling: please attend to your own mask before helping others. How we act as individuals impacts upon the collective – look after yourself, but don’t act so self-preservative that you harm others.
Rather astute for a rockstar at half capacity, yes? We continue.
Food in Prague can be a delight. The traditional food is very big on meats, rich sausages and hearty goulash are mainstays. The Czech Republic is deep in potato Europe.
And there is a map which explains it better than I care to get into right now. In addition to the Czech traditional fare, the city has been host to various waves of immigration and cultural exchange. Italian is popular, I am yet to sample the quality other than Metro pizza slices which are a godsend, as is that glorious site for drinkers everywhere: the Turkish kebaberie. There’s a good takeaway called the Checkout, next to the Czech Inn on Francouska, near to my friend Teddy’s. We went there for chips, or fries as he barbarically calls them, as we were watching Steven Universe one night and the topic came up. It was a good, good night. My desire to taste the meat of life lead to me ordering a kebab for what was supposed to be a simple chips acquisition. Strong flavours are the best.
Despite my meaty desires, I have also sampled vegetarian and vegan places with my friend Roisin – who is definitely the main reason I am here and so glad of that, she is dotted around previous posts in case you are unaware. The vegetarian places are fairly varied, but there is always delicious falafel. Falafel hits me as a bit of a superfood. It’s made of chickpeas or something so it must be healthy, right?
One advantage of travelling alone is the ability to eat by myself or with others depending how I’m feeling. A guy from my hostel, Joe, told me about this map online – “made by locals” on Google will find it for you. It came with a suggestion for a Vietnamese place that I was interested in one night, but it was closed for a party so I went to KFC instead. Another time it directed me towards a traditional Czech place just off Muzeum, but it was Sunday so they were closed for some reason – peculiar that Sunday is such a popular day off, the Czech Republic is majority atheist. I ended up that day getting Vietnamese in a place on Italska, the name escapes me but it was amazing. Vietnamese food is so damn flavourful and filling, while remaining affordable. I tried the one that the map recommended on a later night and it was incredible also. Definitely look up the map if you’re travelling, but find other options near to where you head because opening times are often strange and otherwise you just end up funding globalisation.
The Vietnamese connection is interesting. The story I’ve heard is that when Vietnam went Communist they had some cultural exchange with the USSR. I wonder if there are Czech eateries in Vietnam also or if it was more one-sided, answers on a postcard, please.
Yesterday night when I began this post Lambrusco-heavy with a post-night out bottle of Gambrinus in hand, I promised I would say a thing on Nonstops. These are theoretically 24 hour places with food, cigarettes and alcohol. However, I have seen a flower shop which claimed to nonstop as well as restaurants. I have also seen “nonstop” places closed. False advertising is evidently not against the law here, or else it is like a DFS “sale” exclusion – like one day a year they are open nonstop, just as DFS somewhere have sofas at full- price.
Anyway, a few more inane burblings for you to chew over. Now, excuse me, think I might go fetch some healing pho soup.