It started on Thursday morning with a trickle of kilts and blue shirts through Old Town Square: hardly noticeable amidst the flood of nationalities that regularly tour the city (not to mention that I was already distracted because someone had set up a spit and was roasting ten hams simultaneously). However, by noon it was apparent from the volume of kilt: the Scots had invaded the Czech Republic.
Ostensibly this invasion was for the Czech – Scotland soccer game but once all the Scots get together wearing their kilts, there really is only one agenda: drinking. One of my colleagues left class for fifteen minutes to run an errand and ended up with beer in her hair after trying to negotiate a bagpipe crossing.
By nightfall it was ridiculous. People come to Prague and drink to excess – it’s expected – but you haven’t seen and obnoxious group of drunk tourists until you’ve seen five thousand Scots wearing blue tops and kilts (with adorable little purses).
However, where I expected violence (sterotyping soccer fans and scots, I know) they mostly delivered music. Groups of Scottish stumbling around the streets in the middle of the night (and afternoon) singing their hearts out. Occasionally one would showcase a bagpipe in accompaniment. I even saw the Scottish “Greenman” (It’s Always Sunny… reference) in one club. He had a blue spandex bodysuit with the Scottish flag on his face and was dancing like a madman.
Friday happened the same way. A trickle of kilts in the morning leading into full, bag-piping parades by the evening. Then, quicker than they’d come – they were gone. Once it was 19:00 every Scot had disappeared from the street. The soccer match had started and even though it eventually resolved in a no-score tie, I never saw the crowds like I did on Thursday. I suspect that once the match was over the Scots abandoned their kilts for jeans and blended in with the rest of the visiting Europeans milling around the castle, camera in hand.