Freelance journalist Carla Pratt writes: We were definitely lost, not that any one of us would admit it. Our gang had been wandering round the same slippery streets, of the very same two blocks, for over half an hour — and the bouncing rain wasn’t easing up. The alleyways of the Old Town of Prague are honeycombed and complex, even managing to defeat a whole group of tour guides such as ourselves, who have been here numerous times.

We passed by the Astronomical Clock Tower for the umpteenth time. It sprayed off a golden hue in the rain like something out of a film noir scene, a jumble of symbols, glittering hands, cogwheels and wide windows which overlook the timeworn square, leering with the weight of its great bell. Given the amount of windows in this city, there’s no wonder it’s the birthplace of “defenestration” — the act of throwing one out of a window.

Following the 1989 Velvet Revolution that brought an end to its communist rule, Prague — the capital city of Czech Republic since 1993 — has swung open its doors, showcasing its medieval prowess to thousands each year.

The city is a melting pot of myth, fairytale and folklore which permeates the streets and structures. Majestic kings and queens ruled over the city, lassoed by the Vltava River, for hundreds of years and I half expect to see ghosts darting through the night. Everything in Prague has a story, and so it is with the Old Town clock. History books claim that when the mechanical figures were created, town officials had the clockmaker blinded so that he would never duplicate his masterpiece.

Today, creativity is encouraged, not thwarted. And right now, we were in search of that creativity in Absinthe Time, the oldest and most dedicated bar to the vivifying, wormwood elixir. Thujone, one of the key ingredients used to make absinthe, is said to have inspired artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Marilyn Manson with its hallucinogenic (and reportedly homicidal mania) side effects. The more we tried to find absinthe, the more I needed its artistic inspiration, or perhaps the appearance of “la Fйe Verte”, more commonly known as the Green Fairy.

The quilt of architectural styles in the city was doing no more than frustrate me — gothic spires pinned on Romanesque arches above cubist buildings — what a confused place. Bloody ex-communists. I pulled out my sodden map, located us in the maze of tongue-twisting streets and put foot first.

Entering the bar off Kremencova, we were immediately faced with Peter Pan. Not the real Peter Pan, but bartenders, dressed in green Peter Pan get-ups. Surely this would only cause confusion later on. The absinthe shots we ordered ranged from an offensive 55-72% in content and, as prescribed, I trickled ice water into each one. I omitted the customary sugar cube except where necessary. As the water mixed with each absinthe, the liquid clouded and its bittersweet aroma punctuated the room.

Nearly two hours had passed and Peter Pan was beginning to look a little like Shrek. Or was it the other way round? No matter how much I drank, the absinthe still leapt up to bite my throat and caused me to gag and recoil in horror. High as kites, we scrambled around amongst the locals tables, collected our belongings and made haste for the door.

Outside, it was still raining, but this time we didn’t care.

Arm in arm we prepared for the wet walk home, shipwrecked and broke, tracing the footsteps of kings.