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    17 Things I Learned While Living In Prague

    You learn a lot living like a local.

    1. Beer. Beer, everywhere.

    I'll start with the most important: The Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. The homeland of Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen, Czech Budweiser, beer is the cheapest thing to drink in the entire country...it's even cheaper than water.

    2. The Czech Republic is ALSO famous for its wine.

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    Most people don’t know but the Republic is divided into two main parts: Bohemia and Moravia. Prague is located in Bohemia but just a few miles south is Moravia - the Czech Republic’s version of Napa Valley in the U.S. Here the country produces and exports some of the best wine in the world.

    3. There’s a lot of coffee drinking going on too.

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    I doubt you could find a street corner in Prague that DOESN’T have a cafe. Prague’s cafes were once secret hubs for intellectuals during the oppressive wars they endured so naturally they hold a special symbolism for Czechs. Going to Starbucks in a place like Prague is basically a slap in the face to hundreds local business owners who offer rich, decadent coffee at great prices in charming, cozy establishments.

    4. Good luck finding free water though.

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    With all this beer, wine, and coffee to be drank, there isn’t much room left for water. In fact, if you order water at a restaurant be prepared to pay more than you would for any of the aforementioned items. If by some miraculous reason a restaurant does offer free water to its patrons, usually they’ll bring a glass the size of a shot for you to drink - one gulp and the whole thing is gone.

    5. Credit cards are the best way to pay but they are NOT accepted everywhere.

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    Who does and doesn’t accept credit cards will surprise you, because it’s completely random. You can walk into a restaurant or shop in the city center and find out they only accept cash or you can walk into an obscure mom and pop place and find they accept credit cards. Moral of the story: make sure you always have some amount of Czech Crowns with you.

    6. ATMs are not the monsters you were led to believe.

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    Withdrawing from an ATM overseas is really not that bad. Unless you're pulling out money every single day, you're not going to be hit so hard with fees. Most banks charge 3% plus a $5 withdrawal fee. The idea is to take out a good amount of money at once to make this $5 worth it. Some check cards like the Capital One 360 don't charge foreign ATM withdrawal fees.

    7. If you have to go to the bathroom, it’s going to cost you.

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    You probably have a higher chance of getting struck by lightning than you do of finding a free public restroom in the Czech Republic. Most public places and even some restaurants will charge 5-10 Crowns for using their facilities.

    8. You actually have to pay for plastic bags at the supermarket.

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    If there’s one thing I learned in Europe, it’s that being wasteful is extremely frowned upon. At the supermarket, there’s no one stuffing all of your groceries into thousands of plastic bags so you can go home and toss them in the trash where eventually they’ll end up in a landfill somewhere. No. You have to buy EACH plastic bag from them and stuff them with however much you can carry. Moral of this story: recycle and bring your own bags.

    9. 24 hour convenience stores just aren’t a thing.

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    What is a 24-hour CVS pharmacy? No such thing in the Czech Republic. It’s 3 am, need shampoo, chocolate, cereal, a binder, and highlighters? Well, better wait to the morning and get ready to visit at least 3 different stores for all those items.

    10. It actually costs the same to eat out at a restaurant and to cook at home.

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    Because the Czech Republic has amazingly priced restaurant food and pretty expensive supermarket food, you might as well hit up different restaurants every day and not even feel bad about it!

    11. English menus are common but not always available.

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    Most places have English menus because English is pretty much a universal language and that means a large number of tourists (not only Americans) will be able to understand it. However, there will be occasions where English menus are not available and all you can see down on your paper is Czech. Don’t panic, the waiters usually speak some degree of English and can help you translate.

    12. Pizza slices and Kebabs will save your life at 3 a.m.

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    It’s late, you just stumbled out of your favorite bar/club, and you are starving, what do you eat? Pretty much the only thing open except gritty, franchise fast food are small, locally owned Pizza and Kebab places serving the perfect post-party cuisine. Luckily for everyone, the food is actually pretty phenomenal and beats other late night eats by far.

    13. Bread should be bought fresh and daily.

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    I learned this the first week I lived in Prague when my Czech friend came over, saw a store-bought loaf of sliced bread, and told me I wasn’t “buying my bread correctly”. Most corner convenience stores double are bread bakeries and bake fresh bread all day long - buy your bread here! These also tend to be cheaper than the store-bought loaves.

    14. The metro and the trams are all you need.

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    The public transportation system in Prague is one of the easiest to navigate in all of Europe. There are only 3 metro lines and a handful of tram lines but you can essentially reach any area of the city and its outskirts that you may want.

    15. Travel by bus is also really cheap.

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    Everyone will tell you that when you’re in Europe, you can pretty much go anywhere by train or plane for really cheap. This is true. But what nobody is talking about is how cheap it is to travel by bus! When my roommates and I traveled from Prague to Munich, the train was around $70 per person, the bus was $30, and the travel time was the same.

    16. It is polite to take your shoes off at home.

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    Whether in your home or a guest’s home, Czechs expect you to remove your shoes at the door and wear slippers inside the house. Walking around with your shoes on in someone’s house is seen as a big sign of disrespect. Most people keep 3 or 4 extra pairs of slippers for their guests. I once got called "disrespectful" by my landlord for wearing shoes inside the apartment that I was renting from him, yikes.

    17. Most Czechs speak Russian, too.

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    Since Russian communism had a strong influence in the Czech Republic until 1989, most Czechs grew up being forced to study Russian at school. In fact, most of them speak Czech, English, and Russian. While Americans are impressed by bilinguals, it isn’t uncommon to find someone in the CR who speaks 3, 4, maybe even 5 languages.

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