After over three weeks in bella Italia it was time to bid farewell to the land of pizza, pasta, and the birthplace of my growing potbelly. I was ready to explore new territory and, as blasphemous as it sounds, had actually become a bit sick of Italian food. Bring on the Czech Republic and its hearty goulash and tasty beer!
What was interesting about travelling from Italy to Central Europe was noticing not only the difference in food, but the actual appearance of people. Aside from the obvious new surroundings, style of architecture, language and writing, how the Czech and Polish people looked was what really made me feel far from home.
I found it fascinating, and was probably staring at people a lot more than is socially acceptable. Also, I know I shouldn’t really lump the Czech and Poles together, but for simplicity’s sake I will. And, frankly, there were loads of similarities (at least, on the surface) between the two. Gone were the deep tans of the Italians. In fact, I decided that anyone with a tan was probably a tourist. Instead, the complexion was pale and yellow-toned. Hair was mostly blonde, or very dark, but there weren’t many mid-brown or red shades. Noses were defined and prominent. Cheekbones were high. There was just … a look. It’s hard to describe completely.
On the fashion side of things — big differences. There was definitely a bit of a ‘stuck in the 80s’ vibe happening. I guess you could say that people in these cities (warning: massive generalisation ahead) were less interested in your mainstream, high-street fashion. And, of course, bad fashion is universal, but we really did notice a particular concentration in these cities. Some Prague/Krakow fashion standouts:
Nowhere else did we see quite so many mullets. They were short; they were long. There were she-mullets, and old man mullets. We even spied a few kids wearing the classic ‘do.
Not just reserved for cocktail parties and clubs, it seems — shiny shirts were everywhere, ready to greet you first thing in the morning and spotted throughout the day, with both men and ladies favouring the look.
There’s good denim, there’s regular, no-nonsense denim, and there’s bad denim. I’m talking stonewashed, skin-tight, ripped and embroidered — all on the one pair. Mix-matched denim seemed to be big. In a Prague Starbucks (don’t judge us, we were desperate) I spied a Patrick Swayze lookalike with a half-pony hairdo sporting three different shades of denim in his vest, shirt tied around the waist, and jeans.
Probably needless to say, this one was just for the ladies, and was very popular. Jeans (skinny, of course) were worn extra-long, and therefore had to be tucked under the heel, into the shoe.
Again, spotted on women only (thank god), but still alarming nonetheless, especially when combined with a short top and VPL. Definitely crossing into ‘you actually forgot to wear pants’ territory.
Once we began observing these exciting fashion mishaps, we realised we should have been trying to snap some pics to share with the world. Alas, it was a lot harder to sneakily photograph people than we thought, but we did manage to capture a few choice looks.
Of course, we didn’t spend our entire time searching out bad fashion choices. Prague and Krakow, individually, are ridiculously beautiful cities. The old town of Prague seemed straight out of a fairytale, all cobbled lanes, old buildings, bridges and castles. We also ate the best goulash of our lives in Prague — seriously, mind-blowingly good — in a hidden gem of a pub that was surprisingly free of tourists. Krakow’s old town was similar, but felt a bit more authentic and less touristy. It also featured an awesome selection of cool bars with an unpretentious, eclectic crowd, where we drank cherry vodka and danced to random Polish tunes. We also got to sample some zapiekanki — a massive slab of toasted bread piled high with various tasty toppings.