Not everything in Prague is worth writing home about

4년 전

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Prague, arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe is a must stop destination for anybody planning a European holiday. Left largely untouched throughout the centuries, Prague wasn’t severely damaged during World War II nor did it suffer the fate of many European capitals that were destroyed and rebuilt, often more than once, during the 17th and 18th centuries. As a result, it has one of the most well-preserved medieval city centres in Europe. Making a visit to Prague’s old town about as close as you can get to climbing into a time machine or to taking a walk through an architectural history book.

From its famous Charles Bridge, one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe, to the spectacular 600-year-old astronomical clock in the old town square and the magnificent ninth-century Prague Castle, listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest castle complex in the world, a visit to Prague will tick a lot of boxes. Then, of course, there are the mouth-watering local foods and world-renowned Czech beers, and you start to get a picture of why I’ve visited Prague three times, and would happily go back again.

There is, however, one thing about Prague that I’m not in love with. Something that, well, in my opinion, could do with being discarded altogether; Kofola. This non-alcoholic carbonated drink is the local Czech version of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and the locals love it, but if you ask me, it rates only slightly higher than dirty dishwashing water on my list of preferred drinks.

Chances are, that at some point during a visit to Prague you’re going to be offered a glass, most likely by a smiling waiter in a local café or restaurant; my advice, resist the temptation, it’s a trap. That waiter who so generously suggested you give their local Coke a try is setting you up, and quite frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if the kitchen staff are in on it too, perhaps even with a little wager going on about whether you’ll gag as you swallow or simply spit your Kofola all over the floor. The stuff is toxic, and not at all what you’ll be expecting.


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I get it; it’s an acquired taste. Maybe, if I were willing dry retch my way through a few litres of the stuff, my taste buds would become numb, and I wouldn’t mind it. Then I too could get a good laugh watching tourist try it for the first time; but as I never plan on letting another drop of this hideous drink past my lips, that’s not likely to happen.

So, what then is the Kofola story? Well, it all began in 1960, when Kofola was first introduced in what was then Czechoslovakia. For many years Communism ruled over the country, stripping its citizens of their rights and freedoms, and in doing so, it prevented them accessing many of the consumer products that people living in western nations took for granted. Simple things like Coca-Cola or Pepsi just weren’t available to those living behind the Iron Curtain, so they had to come up with their own version. It’s main ingredient, a dark-coloured syrup called Kofo, was developed by the former Czechoslovak Research Institute of Medicinal Plants in 1959 while looking for ways to use surplus caffeine produced in the process of roasting coffee. Not surprisingly then, Kofola is packed full of caffeine, in fact, 56% more caffeine that is found in Coca-Cola. Now, come to think of it, that could be why it became so popular.

Anyway, back to the point of this article, Prague is a fantastic place to visit. You should totally check it out, I promise you’ll have a blast. Just avoid your smiling waiter’s trap; give Kofola a pass and stick to beer. After all, that is one drink they know how to get right.


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That Kofola sounds interesting. Despite your warning, I'm just curious to just taste it when I get to Prague :)

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Fair call, I’d do the same. Just start with small sips.

Hiya, just swinging by to let you know that this post made the Honorable mentions list in today's Travel Digest #336. Please drop by to check out all the rest of today's great posts and consider upvoting the Travel Digest if you like what we're doing.

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