When I was in Warsaw, I met a cool guy named Kuba from the Czech Republic. He told me when I visited Prague, I should take a bus an hour north to see his home village.
I stayed with him for one weekend in Mnichovo Hradiště. He took me around to the local pubs, where I learned that it was perfectly legal to smoke indoors.
After adapting to the smoky air, we tried a few different local beers. One thing that is interesting about Czech pub culture is, that the bartender will continue to bring you drinks all night unless you tell them to stop. They put a piece of paper on your table and make tally marks every time they return with a new glass. Once they have delivered you a new beer, you do not really have a choice but to stay longer and drink it. Luckily my friend was able to tell them in Czech that they could stop… I can hardly finish one beer without feeling lethargic and bloated!
The next day Kuba took me to a park known as Bohemian Paradise. It is a mountain covered in giant sandstone formations. Throughout history, it has been inhabited and used as a fort.
It was really nice to hike around the area and look at the views of the valley where he lived, below. The sandstone was beautiful and he showed me where some of the fort’s “rooms” had been. Hopefully life in a natural stone palace wasn’t too rough.
After the hike, we went to another local pub where a birthday for a rock-climber was being celebrated. There was a sign that said in Czech: “Life without celebration is a road without a pub.” One of the climbers came to our table and asked me to dance. I didn’t see why not. He was an older guy and as he spun me around to the really loud rock music playing, he told me about the mountains he climbed in Yosemite.
Then Kuba and I walked around his village again and he showed me the Castle. It was painted pink! I think that qualifies it as one of my favorite castles I have seen.