GENERAL INFO

Before Communism, the people lived in one of richest countries in world. With communism everything became corrupt. No one became wealthy through hard work, but by deception or others failure, which left resentment for success & towards westerners for their privileged life:

It’s not good to stand taller than others. Some people travel to work in old clothes and change at work. You need an estimated 40 approval stamps to open a business.

The minimum wage is very low compared to other Western countries.

FOOD AND DRINK

Traditional food is rich, heavy and spicy.

Beef goulash is a thick spicy stew with bread dumplings to soak up the gravy. The dumplings look like slices of white bread without crust.  Potato dumplings are more like  gnocchi.

Klobasa is the traditional paprika sausage. In Prague you will find stands selling Prague sausage: spicy with crisp skin and chunks of garlic. Bavarian sausage is paler and served with mustard and sauerkraut.

Czech coffee is served with mud, which means it’s strong and black with grains on the bottom of the cup.  Nowadays you can find western style coffee shops, without mud. 

Pubs   

know your price and count your change!

Men enter establishment first to protect and mark their woman.

Put a beer mat down for the waiter and don’t mix old beer with new.

Never insult Czech beer, as they invented Pilsen beer.

The Czechs have the highest beer consumption in world

Budweiser Budvar was brewed by the Czechs before the USA was a country. Needless to say, Budweiser US engaged them in a long trademark battle for the name.  The Americans lost..

Absinthe: was created in Switzerland

Known as the green fairy from it’s modern bright green colour.  Made from worm wood and herbs, it comes it at  68% percent or 132 proof.

It was drunk by Van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec, Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe.

It was wrongly banned in 1908 as being hallucinogenic after man murdered family in Switzerland after consuming two glasses of the stuff. They forgot to mention that he all so had 5 litres wine, 6 glasses of cognac, brandy in coffee, & 2 crème de menthes. It had a resurgence in 1988, and was re-legalized. Liquor licenses are unheard of, so can buy absinth at news stand 24 hrs day.

The correct way to drink it, is with a sugar cube on special slotted spoon that sits on top of the glass. Slowly drip water over the sugar and into the absinthe.  Another way is to put sugar on a teaspoon and dip it into the absinthe.  Light it and leave it to burn until the sugar starts to bubble, then add it to the glass.  The flames will burn off some of the alcohol making it more palatable.  Cover the glass to put out the flame and wait until the glass cools before you try to drink it.

Other popular liquors are Fernet, Medovina, Slivovice and Becherovka. These are used as digestives after dinner.

SECURITY

Take great care on tram 22 and 23, otherwise known as the ‘pickpocket express’.  They cover the main tourist areas.

Check your credit card receipt and add up any bills carefully.

Money change booths can claim to give good rate.  Upon closer look, it might only be if you change over 1000 euros to Czech Korunas (or Crowns).  

TAXIS     Can be overenthusiastic in their pricing. It is a good idea to always ask the price before you get in, or have a hotel or restaurant ring one for you.