Where Beer Is Cheaper Than Water

Jedno privo, prosim. One beer, please.

Roughly 100km northeast from the birthplace of the pilsner, Prague is home to beer that is literally cheaper than water. And it’s good beer, too.

We enjoyed beers at the oldest pub in the city.

The Czech Republic consumes near 192 liters per capita every year. That’s nearly double the next closest nation, Austria (107 liters per capita), and far more than the US (73 liters per capita.) The Czech people love their beer.

You’ll find a fairly liberal atmosphere surrounding the drinking culture here. It’s not unheard of to order one or two small beers with your lunch and knock a few more back after dinner, and it doesn’t stop there – the nightlife is never ending. I stayed in an incredible hotel a stone’s throw from the Charles Bridge, but it was right beside a night club and across the street from another bar. There was partying and commotion all the way until sunrise.

Though the tap water is safe to drink in this central European country, don’t expect it to automatically come with your meal. We found a carafe or .3L bottle of water to be around 40Kč or $2 USD. Being one of the most walkable cities that I have ever been to, it’s a good idea to stay hydrated while exploring.

Pure happiness.

After visiting the Prague Castle and Petřín hill, we passed by U krále Brabantského – the oldest tavern in the city. It has an awesome, medieval aesthetic inside and offers shows on certain nights (we didn’t get to see.) Now my mom definitely isn’t a beer drinker, but we ordered a couple and she enjoyed them just as much as I did. One of the things that may shock you is the large head of foam on top of the drink. You’re still getting the .5L of beer, but the foam provides a different taste and a little complexity.

There’s even a pour called the mlíko that’s basically all foam, meant to be drank all at once for a sweet, dessert-style drink. I never had one, but I’ve seen sources say you get it for half-price.

Near our hotel was a long, indoor passage, called a pasáž, which is essentially a small mall. It’s a great way to get around the city. You get to avoid any inclement weather and pick up a sweet beer stein souvenir. Some of the bigger ones, like Lucerna pasáž, have pubs inside where you can pick up a .5L for 35-38Kč (~$1.75USD.) That’s more to drink for a lower price than water. All around Old Town Square, you’ll see green Pilsner Urquell awnings. It’s the most popular beer in the country and quite delicious. It’s nice to stop to people watch for a drink and continue on.

The birthplace of the pilsner, Plzeň, is about 100km southwest of Prague.

In the past decade, some public officials have attempted to enforce regulations that will make pubs sell a non-alcoholic beverage at a cheaper price than beer. This is been in an effort to curb underage drinking and the negative effects thereof. Business owners and the public have fought back and, at least during my first visit in 2017, have been doing quite well.

Make sure to add one of my favorite cities in the world to your travel bucket list and enjoy the beer. Na zdraví.

What Happens When You Lose Luggage?

Flying into Rome was great. I was on my first trip to Europe, having spent a few days in Paris and explored one of my favorite cities in the world, Brussels, just a few hours prior. We arrived at Leonardo Di Vinci airport (FCO) and approached the luggage turnstile. My sister’s bag came through then my mom’s. Then we waited. And waited. Mine did not. We went to the service desk to inquire and start a missing bag claim.

“What did it look like?” “How big was it?” “What color?”

Uhh… normal look, average size, grey. Pretty much zero distinguishing characteristics.

During this time, our shuttle car left and we had to figure out a new way to our hotel. Luckily, we figured out you can an express train from the airport to Roma Termini, the central train station in Rome, in about 30 minutes. We walked the rest of the way to the hotel and after our first slice of Italian pizza at a restaurant down the street, we went to grab some Zzz’s.

Now, the past couple days spent in Paris were very temperate summer days. Comfortable and normal. I had put on some jeans and a thick, long sleeve shirt for the flight over (I always get cold on airplanes.) Rome wanted to be different. We woke up and were met outside with 38°C (roughly 100°F) and being that I only had the same clothes from the flight, I had no choice but to venture out in jeans and a long sleeve shirt. If you know me, you know that I love the heat. I would much rather melt to the ground than shiver in the cold, but this was unbearable.

My sister and I apparently had matching sunglasses

Despite being incredibly hungry, I slipped into every shop I could, looking for a change of clothes to purchase. Nobody had shorts, but I was at least able to find boxers and socks and two soccer (sorry, football) jerseys – an AC Milan Stephan El Shaarawy shirt and a Juventus Andrea Pirlo shirt (this one would give me a funny story a few years later). Most of my outfit needs were taken care of now, but I would sweat it out in those same pair of jeans for the next few days. The only source of respite would be the innumerable water fountains that dot the city. They were lifesavers.

Two months later, I get a text from my mom while I’m at work. Somebody had dropped off my luggage at her house. It had been left at the Charles de Gaulle airport before our flight.

Now, I pretty much only travel out of a carry-on bag (I use a 46L bag). You can get around just about anywhere for three weeks or less in one. Plus, you don’t have to wait at the turnstile for your bags and you have the peace of mind that everything is with you. It’s been working so far.