Reality Czechs: Prague Spring

Paul, with all his travel experience, can hardly believe how stupid he is. He was pick-pocketed on a Metro train in Prague on the weekend almost exactly ten years after his previous experience by a gang that used the identical modus operandi.

He was standing near the door waiting to get off as the train pulled into the station. The first guy used his foot to stop the doors opening. Everyone (including him) panicked because we couldn’t get off and it looked like the train was about to leave. Paul reached up to force the doors open. The second guy who was behind him grabbed his wallet and pushed him out the door which the first guy had suddenly let open. So he was left on the platform and the two guys and my wallet were still in the train as the doors closed.

Off they went, with him running down the platform banging on the door of the train. Not good, but very common in Prague.

Reality Czechs: Burčák time

September in the Czech Republic is Burčák time.

Burčák is a partially fermented cloudy white or red wine with sugar 1019 tasting the brewadded, sold in unlabelled two-litre plastic bottles at stands in the market, city squares or at the tramstops.

As Paul learnt from experience, it continues to ferment after you buy it so you need to keep the lid partly unscrewed to let the CO2 escape – or accidents happen! You also have to drink it within two days because it starts to taste bitter after the sugar is converted to ethanol and CO2.

We like its unique taste – a bit like carbonated grape juice with an alcoholic kick. It is quite cheap, sold in large quantities and goes down easily.