If you can’t tell by the title of this post, I am amazed by how incredibly affordable the Czech Republic is compared to the rest of Europe. Granted, I was aware it would be fairly cheap but with the exchange rate I ate all my meals for $20 or less total. As in the entire day’s worth of food cost $20 in restaurants. What?! You can buy a beer for 25 koruns…that’s $1. If I was European, this would be the place to come for Bachelorette, grad, or any other party that involves getting massively drunk – it would only cost $8 for me to be wasted.
If the affordability of alcohol and food isn’t great enough, I decided with such low costs all around me, I should pamper myself before I hit the super expensive stops in the UK. I booked a massage, manicure, and a pedicure…$100 for all of it. Crazy!! Granted, there are plenty of spas in Prague that charge US luxury prices but I went to Mystic Temple (a Thai place) and it was a very nice facility with phenomenal prices. I really needed that massage after the weeks of lugging my pack around and sleeping in random beds – definitely worth it. Same goes for my feet.
CAUTION: as much as I rave about Prague, non-smokers please take heed. They have NOT banned smoking indoors in this part of the world. Everywhere you go there are people smoking and it stinks both literally and figuratively. Luckily, I found a wonderful café within easy walking distance from my AirBnB rental called Café Louvre that has a smoking section on the opposite side of the large restaurant so that those of us who would rather not relive our youthful mistakes by contracting lung cancer, can eat with clean air. Apparently, the likes of Kafka and Einstein have patronized this place and I can see why. It is in a beautiful building in the heart of the city centre with a vibrant buzz of stylish customers. The service is brisk and the most you’ll spend on a full breakfast is the equivalent of $8 which includes tea/coffee, juice, bread, eggs, cheese, and/or pancakes.
Coincidentally, this café is located three floors above the bar where I decided to go out on my last night in Prague. After a lovely spa day, I decided I should take my refreshed ass out on the town. I scoured the web for recommendations and decided hanging with the alt crowd is definitely the way to go for me – Seattlite all the way – so I looked at Rock Café. They were having a show for Kensington, a Dutch band I had never heard of but when I checked them out on Spotify decided they were my kind of music. So, I bought a $15 ticket and showed up at 8:00pm. I watched the opening act, Holden Caulfield, a Czech band which was pretty fun to watch then thought this room full of 15-year-olds might start getting old if Kensington isn’t as good as this crowd around me indicates.
After being crunched four people from the stage by an increasingly exuberant crowd, Kensington took the stage at 10:00pm and it rocked! The kids were insane and so energetic it was contagious. I was dancing and throwing my hands up and I didn’t even know the songs which definitely put me in the minority in this audience. The band was lively and so stoked by their fans’ energy that it only got better as the show went on. I was hooked. Unfortunately my phone died quickly during the show so I only got a partial video of one song, which is posted here. Before the final finale song (you know they had to have a false ending then returned to the stage for two or three more) the lead singer suggested the crowd stay afterwards to hang out and have a beer. I thought, “Is he for real? That never really happens in the U.S. for bands that are obviously a big deal.”
Nonetheless, I thought I’d lallygag around the club for a bit after the show to see if this hang session was really going to happen. I was definitely interested in letting them know how fun their show was and how I’ll be sharing their music with my American friends/blog readers. I also kinda wanted to meet the lead guitarist because he reminded me of a college crush and on stage he seemed really cool – so, what the hell right? I was on the brink of leaving, I had gotten my coat from the cloak room (50 cents) when I realized that I had pushed past the bassist in retrieving my coat. So, I decided to wander back that direction just to see if they were all out and if I could at least squeeze in a guitarist introduction.
Well, I did and we ended up hanging out for a bit talking about music, Seattle, labels, touring, etc. There were multiple disruptions, to be expected, but due to this hang out I met some other cool chicks (one in another band, Mydy Rabycad) and other Kensington band members. I joked that I was just pretending I belonged in this scene and Casper (guitarist) said, “You should hang out.” So, he got me a drink and I just stuck around until the bar closed and we got kicked out. It was pretty fucking cool, the whole experience and I’m very proud of myself for sticking around since I tend to be that shy person that says one reasonably intelligent thing then just leaves. I’ve never been one to engage in sycophantic or groupie behavior but I think I am immune to that label this time since I didn’t know who they were 48 hours ago.
Regardless, I think all of you should watch my short video (sorry my phone died mid song) then check out Kensington on Spotify or iTunes and see what kind of trend we can start so they can tour in the U.S. I’ve already used what little social media pull I have via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to get some Seattle buzz going for the band. We shall see what happens!
I highly recommend Prague to anyone who wants to experience a beautiful European metropolis on a budget. The city of spires did not disappoint even in frigid temperatures. Just beware of the smoke because it’ll stick to you even if you don’t partake but if you’re lucky that stale tobacco smell will remind you of a night you spent with a cool Dutch band.