Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shopping in Prague: no easy feat

Let me tell you a story. Two years ago I was visiting Prague with some friends. We spent several days over there, enjoying the sights, climbing the stairs of Letna Park, drinking hot chocolate in Kafka's favorite kaverna. I had been to Prague a few times before (and I'd come back after: last year I lived there for a month), but never with some shopping in mind. Prague's not really the shopping kind of city. You go there for culture and history and - granted - cheap beer. It's not like Paris, where you go in the hopes of scoring an Chanel purse at some flea market. However, when you've visited a city a couple of times and kind of know it, your mind starts wandering off to less sightseeing and more natural behavior. Ergo, shopping! In preparation of our trip, I desperately tried to find some information on cool, characteristic stores in Prague. I didn't find anything. Literally nothing. Of course, I didn't speak Czech at the time, but you'd think that at least a few tourists would have explored the Prague shopping field and reported about it. Surely not everyone was contented by the local H&M?

While we were gallivanting, we kept our eyes wide open. We eventually found a brochure about real Czech designers and decided to check out the stores listed. They were all situated in Josefov, the Jewish district, which is awfully nice, but usually awfully expensive as well. We liked exactly one shop, where we each bought a scarf. The others were either boring or way too expensive - or both. After that, we'd finally given up on our quest and accepted that Prague didn't have any quirky stores worth mentioning. And then, on our last day (OH FATE YOU ARE CRUEL), we stumbled into a tiny store in the sweet neighbourhood of HoleŇ°ovice, selling the most awesome t-shirts and accessories. My friends bought a couple t-shirts each, I got a really nice bird necklace (which was later broken by my boyfriend, whom I've still not forgiven). After we payed, the girl behind the counter gave us a little book listing all like-minded stores in Prague. Unfortunately we didn't have time to pay them a visit. Even more unfortunately, I lost the book and I can't for the life of me remember the name of the store. And even though now I do know some Czech, internet is - same old, same old - no help whatsoever. So this is what this blog will be about: I will make an inventory of the shops I like, and occasionally some shops I loathe. Why is it that we review restaurants and hotels, but not shops? Surely there's a vast amount of girls (and boys, not discriminating here) who'd like to know what they're in for when they're visiting a city. So this is for all of you travellers out there, or basically whoever likes to discover new ventures. Belgium will be my playground, my creditcard will probably suffer and my boyfriend will sigh and roll his eyes. But I'm on a mission. Trying to make the world wide web a better place one shop at a time!

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