Acting Like a Local in Prague
Czechs are a friendly, open people and you will find them very approachable. Obviously you will make more progress if you have at least a smattering of the language — even courtesy words like please, thank you, etc, can help break the ice. Most Czechs understand German and an increasing number are coming to terms with English which has now replaced Russian as the compulsory foreign language in schools.
Its worth making the effort to get in touch with local life able to strike up a conversation, you will find out more about Prague in this way than you will ever learn from a guide book. Hotels tend to insulate foreigners from real life in the host country so spend as little time in this artificial atmosphere as possible. Better still, avoid hotels altogether and hire a private apartment for a week or two.
It is much cheaper and you will get to meet more people in authentic Czech surroundings. (See Accommodation for details.) Eat out as much as possible but don’t rely exclusively on the tried and tested recommendations of tourist representatives. Look for places off the beaten track, where you are more likely to come across ordinary Czech people. The Czechs are great beer drinkers at any time of day and you will always find a welcome in the smoky but relaxed conviviality of a pivnice.
Locals make full use of the excellent public transport system and tend to leave their cars at home, so why not mix with the crowd? Or take one of the slow suburban trains from Smichov station and have a leisurely look at the beautifully wooded countryside, typical of Bohemia. Take at least one taxi ride before you leave Prague. The drivers are as street-wise as anywhere and some speak good English. After five minutes in their company you will feel as if you have lived in Prague all your life.
Cedok organise evening parties for foreigners designed to provide a taste of Czech life. Attractions include brass band/ dulcimer band in folk costumes, wining and dining on authentic Czech cuisine, wine-tasting competitions and folk dancing. ‘Evening on the Vltava‘ allows you a romantic view of Prague at night from the deck of the Steamer Vysehrad while eating Czech cakes and drinking your fill of local beer. All events are seasonal.