This morning,I was cleaning a drawer full of souvenirs from my travels (as i was looking for inspiration to make a post here), searching for a playing card, a king of hearts, with some beautiful artwork by Mucha as its design and my name inscribed on it.
This was the only physical evidence (apart from a few digital format pictures) from my Christmas 2015 in Prague; something that was ‘gifted’ by a magician inside the Cross Club.
I was in Prague or Praha, which is a more authentic way to say it, with 3 friends and one of them was recommended by his friend to visit this place. We were living in a hostel where we had a kitchen to cook; after after having attempted at making a Christmas meal (in the spirit of celebrating this festival, not in any religious context but in the festive-holiday-joyous spirit that a lot of us non-Christian people do, with our closest ones,in this case, friends,since we were far away from our respective families) , drinking some good cheap wine, some gifted Red Label whiskey and some 80% absinthe(which is another must have if you’re in Praha- if you’re courageous enough), 3 out of the 4 of us decided to head out, somewhere.
(after having to choose from the wide variety available in the corner store).
I cannot recall if we had purchased the tram tickets
or not, neither do i remember the number of the tram that we took : it’s a pain, you need to buy them at the metro station because the drivers don’t sell it. It’s a good idea to purchase them earlier in the day or in advance, and also a good idea to write down names and numbers of the trams as well as the name of the stop close to where you stay- if you don’t know Czech and you don’t plan on getting a little lost in the night (like we did, on our way back). I’m sure the locals would’ve helped had we asked, but it was quite late and all we could see around where we stayed were a lot of tourists who seemed as lost as we did.
We proceeded towards our intended destination of the night. If you’re a traveler who isn’t staying with a local friend or couchsurfing with a host, you’d most likely be staying on the other side of the river (forgive my sense of direction, but this was the best marker for me), close to the city center and a little far away from where the club we were headed to is located.
Close to the center in the winding backroads are many bars and walking around you’re sure to find something that suits your mood, vibe, budget etc.
The previous day all four of us has been to a bar which was quite fun. As soon as I entered, someone bowed down with a “namaste”(upon noticing the Indian-ness of a friend and mine) and all the Czech noise had died down. A few seconds later everyone was back at it again.
The beer was extremely cheap (and this made me very happy as is obvious) .
We also met a local who gave us many suggestions and was interested to learn about us. His friends attempted to communicate with whatever English they knew, which seemed like a very thoughtful gesture on their part to make us feel integrated.
Anyhow, the ride there was quite pleasant; the clock had struck 12 before we reached and I, in my excitement made sure that I wished my two friends who had come along a very merry Christmas, whilst also wishing our co-passengers unknowingly (owing to the loud-ness of my voice), who were quite indifferent and had an air of oblivion about them.
The Cross Club in Prague’s Holešovice is a must visit if you’re looking for a truly unique experience in the night. Be warned;this is not your regular nightclub, there’s a steampunk feel to the interiors, machines hanging upside down, pipes fitted in, an amalgamation of red, yellow , blue and green lights, a couple of floors fit into a basement(?*), a number of stages across a few floors of the actual building itself,a cafe in the middle of all this, and a space in the exterior to escape the madness .
Despite visiting on Christmas Eve I found myself escaping the tourist-buzz here, not having to pay too much to enter either; best of all was the vibe- a bunch of crazies into the night, happy with their fix of full power hardcore techno, very herbal smokey haze inside the place and a sense of mutual respect for everyone present.
As the night progressed, we walked around this beautiful maze, shifted floors a few times; settled on the basement, in one of the stages. This area was peculiarly interesting. There was a bar, a DJ booth, some sort of a dancefloor and and *an area to sit where it seemed like there were many floors. Well you have to go there to understand what I mean. We were sitting in this place and a magician walked up to us and began with some card tricks which, frankly, was very amusing. (Picture:Two out of the three of us present at the club that night, the three of us did not manage to get a picture together)
A card with my name got exchanged with the name of a friend and we ended up with these cards that we’d decided to keep as a memory from the night. There were a few encounters with friendly herb bearing men, which was fairly pleasant.
They also served beer in an extremely cute glass which I almost ended up keeping with me as a souvenir, although there was a small deposit on it. For some strange reason, however, before I left the place, I ended up returning it, something I regret to this day.
Our return, around after 4 am, was quite a challenge. We had completely forgotten the name of our stop and got down at the wrong place, having to read a physical map that barely made sense to get back to the hostel. We had quite a long walk from this stop but one of us saw a place he had seen earlier in the day and fortunately the road started making sense.
We reached,with a sense of accomplishment, achievement and fulfillment of the adventurous spirit that was embodied this night; with all of Christmas day still ahead of us, for the next day (something that I will write about later).