Thursday, May 25, 2006

Memories of Prague

Canadians watching hockey in Prague
Prague Hockey Game Aftermath

So maybe I should elaborate on Ben's posting. This picture definitely brings back fond memories of Prague. Like my friend, Isaiah, often said during our trip to Europe, "It's all about the stories." So here is this one, as much as I can remember.

After our Oxford exchange trip, many of us went to Prague. Being citizens of our hockey crazed nation, we all followed the World Hockey Championship (seeing as there the NHL was on strike, this was all we had to follow). We arrived in Prague on Saturday night, knowing that Canada was playing in the semifinal game, and that the Czech Republic had won their semifinal game to get into the finals. As we checked into the hostel, we found out that Canada had won.

After we checked into our hostel, we headed off to find a bar. It was a nice change to see that bars in Prague served until midnight, unlike bars in England, where they had, until recently, only served until 11:00pm. We only had about 15 minutes, so we had our prerequisite drinks, we still wanted more alcohol. We asked the bartender where we could get more beer for the night, and his response, in a thick Czech accent no less, was "I'll grab a big water bottle, and you can take the beer to go." That's right, "to go". The bartender then asked if that was all. It wasn't, so we asked for another. It was ridiculously cheap too, 100 koruna, Kč, which worked out to about $5 CDN.

Take out beer in Prague!

Take out beer!

Just before we left the bar, a thoroughly drunken patron overheard us talking about hockey, and told us that since it was hockey that we wanted to see, we should watch the finals in the Old Town Square, as there were video screens set up all week long for public viewing of the the hockey games. He told us that over 50,000 would be there. Right then, we all knew we had to be there.

Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí) in Prague

Prague is an amazing city. There are lots of sights to see and the food & drink is relatively cheap and of a high standard. A compact city centre made walking between tourist attractions really easy, and for the places that were further away, the subway system worked really well.

Later that night, we headed out to Old Town Square to watch the game. There were 8 of us, dressed up in various Canadian gear, heading out into a massive crowd full of Czechs. While we were heckled by the pro-Czech crowd, we still felt pretty safe. At times, we even found some other Canadians. We had four other classmates of ours who were also in Prague at the time (Hitoshi, Adam, Mark and Mark), but they were too afraid to come out with us. Their loss unfortunately.

Unfortunately, Canada lost the game 3-0, relinquishing the World Championship Title which they had previously held for the last two years. After the game, the crowd went crazy. We had gone to a bar for some drinks, and about an hour later, people were still celebrating on the streets, in the subway and everywhere else we could see. The subway train that we were on couldn't leave the station because the crowd was jumping up and down inside the train. We had to wait a good 5 minutes before the train would move again.

I guess we were fortunate to be in the right city at the right time to witness this amazing event. The Czechs, like Canadians, loved their hockey, and it really showed on this night.

Below are some more pictures of our night in Prague, April 15, 2005 - I wish my garbage camera could have taken better night shots.

Before the game, at the hostel

Video Screen in front of the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn

We found some other Canadians!
(see the Can't Beat Canada banner on the left)?

Crowd Pics 1

Crowd Pics 2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What about my sweet memories, can I say some words about this lovely city.
Prague, the Golden City, is a city that buzzes and hums with modern life; our comfortable and well-appointed apartments are the ideal bases from which to enjoy this incredible city.Believe me, Prague could never be boring. Every day was something new for me : trendy bars, restaurants and clubs to check out, different kind of pubs with excellent beer, and plenty of funky, offbeat art exhibits, concerts, and theater performances.