Last time I was in Prague I was 23 years old and on my very first overseas trip wandering the streets of the old town in the midst of a glorious European summer. I was absolutely in awe of every side street, every cobblestone older than anything I’d ever walked on in Australia. I was free and independent, and Prague was a piece of Bohemia in eastern Europe just begging to be explored. The effects of Prague are forever emblazoned on my left shoulder in the form of a tattoo I got done on a whim while there by a man who barely spoke any English. I was then forced into a foolish game of charades to explain the excitement and passion I wanted conveyed in a simple tattoo the size of a 50 cent piece.

So when I was given the chance to go again after all this time naturally I jumped at the opportunity, and before I knew it we were standing in minus 8 degrees outside the airport. Alot has happened since my very first overseas trip, but the sight of Prague covered in snow was just as picturesque as I had remembered it. And although not bubbling over with tourists like my last visit this more reserved side of the city had its own charm too.

Our apartment exceeded expectations, it was huge with more than enough room for our group. I chose the upstairs bedroom which had the most privacy and was happy with my choice. Until we came across a small attic leading off the room with a chair and some other items randomly strewn about and scratched onto the back of the door was the name Monika. We decided that a ghost named Monika must’ve taken that room (as illogical as that sounds) everyone managed to creep me out enough not to use that room. It was an old building with beautiful wooden beams – it looked like it was originally a church or monastery judging by the high ceiling and the artwork in the corridors, and every little creak and squeak in the place had Danielle spooked. Although it became a running joke and we started greeting ‘Monika’ whenever we came back to the apartment.

After a failed attempt to be lured into a stripclub called Goldfinger by a very enthusiastic man on the high street – ‘Every guy likes tits!!..the girl’s are waiting for you..’ we decided to call it a night. Resigned to the idea that we arrived too late in the evening on the first night to really have a ‘big one’ I personally didn’t really feel like sitting in the cloud of smoke in the bar downstairs either. Oh how things have changed!

Our second day was more productive – although I had become really sick (nothing new these days) I was determined to make the most of it. We found ourselves at an all you can eat Chinese buffet (as you do) It was pretty vile if I’m honest, maybe cause I found hair in my food. Or maybe it was the over the top gawdy decorations fighting for attention in this dingy establishment.

We wandered the markets, took in the old square with obligatory tourist photos, looked in stores and then caught the beautiful lights of the Charles bridge as the sun was going down. Even more stunning than I remember iced with fresh snow, our hands froze as we took selfies as the temperature had really dropped by this stage.

For the equivalent of £14 we went on a pub crawl that evening – and as it was off peak the first bar where we had free drinks for two and a half hours was virtually ours except for these guys from South London, a couple of Aussies and a Korean girl. There was beer pong, drinking game Jenga and these terrible vodka shots that were mixed with apple ‘To prevent people from blacking out..’ (exact words used by the bartender) which were being passed around very liberally as well as beer and wine. And this bleached blonde french party rep that laughed at me when I said I didn’t want a shot. Despite everything we had a great time at that first bar – the second bar took an age to get too. It took so long that we started to question whether he was actually taking us to another bar or to some drug den where we’d be sold as sex slaves. Welcome shots at the next bar, followed by selfies in the toilets. Followed by another great dance bar with a stripper pole and another shot that was just straight vodka that went down like razor blades. Then we were given the option to either stay at this great bar and dance or go to a ‘Fucked up Czech bar, but not in a good way..’ (words of the bleached blonde french rep) to which we politely declined and eventually decided to cart our friend who had, had a bit too much to drink back to the apartment – not before getting lost on the seemingly endless same looking streets that make up the old town Prague a night.

So a slightly different experience to my first introduction to this eclectic city but by no means a bad one. My outlook would’ve improved greatly had I not felt so poorly the entire time. Luckily my desire to make sure these guys had a great first impression of this city helped me mask how bad I was feeling for their sake. We all took something different from this trip and I’m happy that I went. It’s incredible what once took me years of saving and preparation to do way back when I was living in Australia, this time only took a simple 1 1/2 hour flight to accomplish. We are very lucky to live so close to such diverse and interesting countries. This trip proves that you can literally be waiting outside Costa coffee at Waterloo station with a suitcase in hand, and mere hours later find yourself navigating the crowd inside an underground nightclub in eastern Europe.

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