On my last day in Prague, I paid a visit to Prague’s own miniature Eiffel Tower, the Petrin tower on Petrin hill. Just getting up the hill took a lot longer than I expected. I took a tram from my hotel to the base of the hill, where I had to wait in line to take a funicular up to the top. Once I got up there, the first thing I saw were beautiful rose gardens. Then I walked over to the tower and paid to climb up it and also for a panoramic Prague map. The Petrin Tower really does look like the Eiffel Tower, that’s because the architectural style mimics several aspects of the real thing. Thankfully, the Petrin Tower is much smaller, so not too hard to climb to the top of. Since its up on the hill, though, the view out over Prague is excellent. You can literally see almost every building of significance in the area. I spent a while looking at the panoramic map and matching up all of the sights. Then I walked back down all the stairs, took the funicular down, then the tram towards the Charles Bridge.
The night before, my new friends told me that there was a French Festival in a marketplace close to the bridge. I headed there for lunch. I got some delicious cheese melted onto a soft bread, some cider, and a cookie. A man was cranking a music box by the entrance, and the whole space was crowded with hundreds of people – locals and tourists alike. I saw the biggest dog I’ve ever seen in my like there – a grey shaggy thing the size of a miniature pony! It’s head looked way too large to not be a horse, that’s for sure. Right around the corner from the festival was the “Venice” of Prague; several canals leading off from the river. Just like in Venice, boatmen in white and blue wait to whisk people around the canals. It wasn’t like San Antonio, which also mimics Venice, it was more of a direct copy. Plus, instead of having its own name like San Antonio’s River Walk, it is simply called Prague’s Venice.
My next stop was the Pilsner Experience Store. The store is probably Marketing and PR’s way of reaching out to tourists who can’t make it to Pilsen for the real experience. The store shows how Pilsner is made, where it’s sold, and educates consumers on a whole wide range of other facts about Pilsner. It also allows consumers to sample Pilsner. For 8 dollars, you get to see the whole museum, get a half liter of beer, a souvenir glass, and included in that 1 dollar is given to charity. Hard to pass up. Plus, I find that generally beer advertisements are top of the line. The alcohol companies do not try to cut costs from their creative side. There was an interactive screen there that allowed me to watch TV ads through the past 40 years or so from Pilsner. They’ve got some pretty good stuff.
Before I left, I stopped by the Absintherie. Absinthe is produced in the Czech Republic as well. I had passed by the place a few times and ultimately the reason why I stopped by before heading out was that I really just wanted to try an Absinthe Mojito… I mean, who thinks of these things? The place also sells absinthe ice cream, which I tasted… So weird! And in case you’d just like to learn about Absinthe without tasting it, you can do that as well thanks to all the info they have on the walls and are willing to supply. 2 guys came in and ordered shots so I got to watch as the bartender light the sugar cubes on fire. I do not like regular absinthe, but the mojito was not too bad. Still not my favorite, though. The Czechs like to make jokes about their political leaders being alcoholics. After seeing how many different beer and absinthe places and varieties are available, it makes a certain kind of sense. Although I’m not sure how much room people have to talk like that in the number one ranked country for beer consumption…