2020 busking adventure - Prague

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Adventure! Somehow I got caught up in the ‘routine’ of ‘normal life’ in Berlin and after getting all depressed and cold, and tired of getting yelled at by the crazy lady I live with who yells at me when I don’t dry the knives after I wash them, I remembered that actually I am free and I can go where I want and sing and make people feel good. So the first stop on my way to my destination is Prague. I hit up dozens of venues that play live music by searching the #praguelivemusic tag on Instagram. Two people replied. The first one, I asked for a fee of 150€. They never replied again. Second place, ‘Champagneria’ offered me a concert on Thursday, with discounts on drinks and a tip box where people could donate something for the music. I accepted.

Arrived at Florenc bus station on a FlixBus. Usually FlixBus is pretty reliable but this one was about 30 minutes late, and in the end we were 1 hour behind schedule, so it was 20.30 when I got in. I rented a cheap room called Blue Prague off of Booking.com, and I was all excited because it was right in the old town and literally a 5 minute walk from the champagne bar I was playing at. Walking around the centre I noticed how many tourists there were, and how I have a good chance of making some cash! I even thought about dropping off my stuff real quick and going right back out and busk, until I realized that blue Prague is like some kind of souvenir chain, and my actual hotel is a completely different thing, like 20 minutes away by tram. So that was a good start. Especially since I’m so heavy with my street amp, guitar, mic stand, clothes and everything. By the time I reached my hotel, I was just tired and hungry. But it was a really nice place. It's super clean, comfy, the reception is very friendly, and they include a free breakfast. I recommend it HIGHLY for a low budget accommodation. Anyway I was starving so I went to a nice restaurant nearby for some Czech goulash. I found it on this blog called Eternal Arrival where the person wrote a whole article about the best Czech food in Prague, so I basically followed that guide the whole time.

This might just end up being a food tour tbh. It’s come to my attention that I’ve lost weight over the last year and I’m not really down with that. I guess it’s because I’ve been skipping meals. I’m not that good at cooking and I am so bored with kebabs and (I never thought I’d say this) Halloumi and Vietnamese food. In my neighbourhood it’s just all the same and I need a change. So I decided to eat local food as much as possible on this trip, and Czech food is really top. So yeah my goulash was so amazing. I was still thinking about it the next morning. I’m still thinking about it right now! Mmmm goulash... with bread dumplings.. mmmm.

Next day I headed to the old town with my gear around noon, somehow got lost along the way and it took me an hour to get there. A lot of people were staring at me I guess because of my guitar. Oh also I should mention that I was literally the ONLY music busker in Prague. But the staring made me uncomfortable so I tried to stop looking at people. I started playing on the beautiful bridge that connects the old town and the road to the castle, where other artists and painters sell their street art. It was going really well even though my fingers were getting a bit frosty, even with fingerless gloves on. It was a sunny day but I guess by the bridge it gets cold and windy. After about five songs,

I was at the end of ‘Stand by me’ and a crowd was beginning to form around me. I was really getting into it and also everybody loves that song. Suddenly I opened my eyes and this old man approached me and starting yelling in Czech. He looked really angry and afraid, and he threatened to call the police and started taking pictures of me. So that was that and I packed up. Instead of moving to a new spot I really wanted to go to the castle and see if I could film a nice video there, before dark. But first I had to eat lunch so I went to this really popular cafeteria type joint called Havelská Koruna that a nice autistic man showed me last time I was in Prague. It was hard to get a table but I got one and I ordered Smažený sýr which is like a schnitzel but with CHEESE inside and it’s all melty and fried and delicious, and they served it with potatoes and mushroom sauce and it’s everything I ever wanted in a lunch.

After that I trammed it up to the castle. Oh by the way, I paid for public transport exactly 1 time in Prague, when I took the metro for one stop. It’s only 1€, but it seemed pointless. At the castle there was lots of people of course. But anyway it’s SO tall and it would be impossible to get a still shot of me singing and have a nice view of it. If I had someone with me to film and get different angles,

it would be kool. But I didn’t so... but I Did find a nice view of a cute building next to the main castle. I tried setting everything up as fast as possible, and I got about 1/3 of the way through ‘Sweet Dreams’ until a cop stopped me. But it’s ok because it’s still a cool video. So I made my way back down to the city, and found some busy side-streets that are mainly for pedestrians. One shop owner stopped me before I even had the chance to start playing. Then I found a less busy street, but the money wasn’t very good. To be honest I didn’t really care about getting money that day, I was more concerned with having pictures and nice footage. Doing everything myself makes things a bit harder but I learned to ask strangers to take pics and videos for me. I don’t really like talking to people that much because it means leaving my world, but of course people are very kind and willing to help, just like I’m more than happy to take pictures for strangers too!

Before my gig I wanted to go back home and change and eat dinner. I chose a place downtown that was on the list. Cafe Louvre, a fancy shmancy place where Apparently Einstein and people used to hang out back when they were alive. Eternal Arrival suggested Svíčková, the ‘Mac-daddy of Czech cuisine’. Let me tell you I wasn’t disappointed. It’s braised beef in a root vegetable purée with bread dumplings, cranberries on the side for sweetness and like whip cream on top. Like omfg it was so good.

And I wasn’t even hungry yet, after all that fried cheese. Matter of fact I never felt hungry once in Prague, except for the moment I arrived there. But yeah. I ate every bite. No, I’m lying. I think I left a small piece of bread dumpling. But I didn’t want to. I was just too full, and also late for my gig. So I ran to my gig at a really classy champagne bar. All the tables were filled and I had a little corner ‘stage’ to perform in. I wore this really long red wool skirt that Angela had picked out for me at a thrift shop, and I paired it with a black lace crop top and gold earrings. Kinda reminded me of a Spanish flamenco lady look. I thought I fit in pretty well.

People liked my set. The sound was not bad. I was singing Really well! Hitting notes that are usual hard for me. I was impressed... and yeah I had a good crowd who were just loving everything I did. In the end I got about 1200 Czech moneys. That’s like 50€. For a 1.5 hour set that’s really bad, but that’s how it usually is in bars. Especially with really short notice. I guess it was nice to just have a gig in an actual establishment. Met someone who books artists for shows and tours, and we exchanged info so we’ll see what happens with that.

So yeah. That was my day 36 hours in Prague! If I had more time I would have done more things, but I already been to Prague before and I’m excited to get to Vienna, which is where I’m on my way to now!