As I stand at the bus-stop waiting for my chariot into town I find the cold both liberating and annoying. It’s the 2nd day of my Czech Republic adventure.
Travel is about solving problems as you are offered a masterclass in keeping cool and not losing your shit. And by travel, I don’t mean organised tours. They have their place, but to get the good shit you have to expose yourself to risk, just like investing.
It pushes you out of your comfort zone. That’s the idea. The reward – if you’re lucky, a run down the rabbit hole. Memories which will last a lifetime.
The bus arrives a little late. The song Forever Young (Alphaville) is playing on the radio, which I take as a good sign, as it’s been a favorite of mine from way back.
We arrive at the main bus station CAN, Husova, and it appears the city is still sleeping. I begin walking down Husova to get my bearings – it really is the best way in a new place. Just hoof it, folks. You won’t learn much sitting in a taxi
Today involves a lot of walking. My phone is dead and I’m worried the wife is worried about me, as it’s been more than 24 hours since we last communicated.
Malinova at U Práce becomes my regular haunt (I’m a sucker for routine). I like the subterranean feel of the seating area inside and order a large cappucino and a savory treat comprised of a slice of bread topped with ham, pickle and an egg. Delish, and the total runs to 65 Kč
I find the town square Náměstí Republiky and the Cambio, but it doesn’t open until 9 AM so I head into a pharmacy to kill some time and look for cosmetics for the Mrs. (Thinking about you babe!)
Of all the things I have forgotten, I left the universal adapter back home. A major problem, as I cannot charge my gear.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened, in fact, I recall running around the streets of Bali trying to find one, and boy don’t they know they have you over a barrel when it comes to pricing these small pieces of plastic.
I purchase a USB charger for CZK 179 then high-tail it to the McDonalds with a plan to charge the phone, use their WIFI and message the Mrs.
It doesn’t go to plan, as for some reason the iPhone refuses to charge after being plugged in. Have I bought a dud charger? (That QC passed sticker has to mean something right?)
After 25 minutes I know something isn’t right, and with one eye on the clock, I head back to the Cambio as I am flat out of crowns. The wallet never runs well on empty, does it?
I get a decent rate this time, around 25 CZK/EUR. Better!
The shops are only open for 3 hours on Sat (9-12). Like being caught in a time warp, but I’m a big fan. People adjust and staff need time to do other things. Shops don’t need to be open 24 hours.
I pop into the Vodafone store and purchase their 10GB/30 day traveler SIM. As I have yet to discover, I don’t get great speed where I’m staying, which surprises me, but the house WIFI is excellent.
It’s the cost of doing business for a digital nomad – Like Joko says, “If you’ve got one, you’ve got none”.
Then it’s back to the coffee shop for another dose of caffeine and bingo, the phone springs to life. I message the Mrs that I’m alive and haven’t run off with another woman.
As I would discover days later, the reason the phone is playing up is the battery is well and truly fucked – swollen and dangerous. I stop using the phone and have pretty much done my money on the SIM card. Bugger
Plzen Liberation Festival
Just so happens I’ve hit town when the anniversary of the town’s liberation at the hands of the Americans during the tail end of WWII is taking place.
The anniversary is celebrated with many events over the weekend, including a convoy of old military vehicles and concerts in the town square.
As I exit the Vodafone store a convoy of old combat vehicles pass me and with the phone now charged I can take a few snaps. Serendipitous
The crowds are starting to pour in, with many day-trippers as evidenced by my ear picking up German.
Time for me to head back to the ranch – crowds aren’t my thing. I walk up to Metsky park and grab myself the first Urquell of the day and quickly rediscover I am back in the land of the Pfand
Pfand, best translated into American English as “bottle deposits”
That 45 Kc beer I think I’m buying costs 95. Fuck ’em I decide to keep the cup and in an instant demonstrate why this system is needed. Turns out, when it comes to pinching glasses I have some form, eh.
I walk to U Práce where I take the N12 bus to Borská pole, a light industrial area on the outskirts of town, where they have a Tesco Hypermarket.
Hyper indeed, it’s Yuge! I buy a tonne of stuff, including bags to lug it home with as they seem to have dispensed with plastic bags over here – found that out yesterday when I dropped into my local Pivotrony (Grocery).
It’s day two and one’s thing’s for sure – I’m really here, back in Europe.