After we spent four cherished days in Berlin, expectations were at an all time high. Our next stop, Prague, had a hard act to follow. Not to mention all the hype it gathers from those who have visited – the sights, the architecture, the price of beer!
Other than the weather (slightly cold and constantly drizzling) we were not disappointed. The architecture was breathtaking. And here’s something for nothing. Apparently, the reason Prague’s old buildings are in such good condition compared to other European cities is thanks to Hitler. Now, there isn’t a lot – well, nothing – to be thankful to Hitler for. However, when he visited Prague, he fell in love with the city and intended for it to be his home when he retired from being a maniac. This meant it was protected from harm during WW2.
Now, recently I have been a big believer in Free Walking Tours. I am sure you will be well aware of ingenious concept behind these tours – you join a tour and simply tip the guide whatever you think he/she deserves. After some great experiences in other cities, I was determined to find one Prague.
We enlisted in the services of Sandemans free walking tours and it was fantastic. I could never imagine being able to cram that much history into three hours – but our guide managed to do it! He also introduced me to now, one of my favorite beers; Kozel Dark.This beer has all the taste of a hoppy, dark beer but with the slightest bit of fizz. Safe to say we had quite a few pints of this. And priced at £0.70, who wouldn’t? Fact: there are 2.5Ls of beer drunk per day, per Prague citizen! I can see why.
After the walking tour, we needed to recharge our batteries so stopped for a coffee in at Tempo Allegro. This was a great little find! Specialising in wine, cheeses and meats, the cafe is an unobtrusive haven that just oozes ‘cool.’ Unfortunately, we had already put aside that night’s dinner budget so couldn’t splash out on more than a coffee, but the food we did see brought out – tapas style – looked very good.
After whetting our appetite for dinner a little earlier than planned, it was time to do what we do best – eat where the locals eat. So we ventured out of the picturesque, tourist bubble and into Borivojova – an area which had been recommended by our tour guide as cheap, proper Czech food. While a little sore on the eye, we knew we were in the right place after our first, second and third finds were completely full with punters!
Becoming grumpy with hunger, we were desperate. We came across a menu outside a flight of stairs which looked like they might lead to either a cave or a pool hall filled with Prague’s mafia. There was no english menu (perfect) and the prices were crazy low. It was called Kopyto. So without hesitation we were in! While the decor left little to the imagination (I would describe it as soviet union-esk), and we were obviously the only foreigners in there, a nice cold pint of Kozel Dark made us feel instantly at ease. Then it was time to order food. Close our eyes and point is one method we favour, however we decided to hear the waitress’s recommendations – the Pork Knuckle and Smoked Pork Neck. Here goes nothing!
After being served our mains, I almost felt obliged to apologise to the chef for my ‘judging a book by it’s cover.’ My boyfriend’’s pork knuckle was gigantic and the rustic presentation meant it was accompanied by a couple of different mustards, breads and pickled vegetables, including chillies. My smoked pork neck was also enormous! It was served hanging from some string on a stand and also came some pickled vegetables. Safe to say we were incredibly stuffed after that meal, but consider those two mains, plus a starter and two pints of Kozel was only 30 euros. It always pays to speak to a local!
On our final day, we went back to the old town square and spent a good half an hour looking for a rooftop bar that had been recommended by two different friends who had stumbled upon it. Unfortunately we couldn’t find it anywhere and we had a castle to see!
Feeling a little disappointed at the lack of rooftop bar chilling time, all blues were washed away when we walked up towards the Prague castle and came across the “Coffee in Garden” cafe.
My first thoughts was that this would be a tourist trap. It would be heaving, overpriced and the coffee rubbish. Wrong on all counts! I don’t know whether other’s thought the same as me so steered clear, but there was no one in there! And the location was stunning! Built into the cliff of the Prague Castle, it has just as good a view over the city as the tourist attraction does! The barista/waitress/cook was lovely and her coffee was delicious.
So that was Prague! A beautiful city with just so much enthralling history I could have taken another tour just to learn it all again. Definitely earns my recommendation!
Oh and before I sign this one off…
As we were catching an overnight train to Krakow, Poland in the late evening, we went back to the old town square when it was dark, and voila! We see fairy lights dotted around a roof – this could be it. And sure enough it was! If you ever visit, at night look for the ‘Hotel U Prince,’ walk in like you belong there and take the fancy glass elevator up to the terrace bar. Order a drink (or dessert as we did) and enjoy the view!