Again trip to Prague
Every time I come to Prague it is somehow different. New faces, new young people, new experiences and new knowledge.
If you like stereotypes, then, a trip to Prague is definitely not for you.
Can you see and experience the spirit of Prague in day and a half?
Of course, even one day is enough, you just need to prepare and set priorities. If you come there with prejudice than you can’t see or visit anything in a day and a half, then, a trip to Prague is not for you. Be positive, everything can be done.
I’ve been to Prague on two different occasions during the two seasons. This year in April, and in in July 2010.
When is the best time to visit Prague?
According to my experience, it is best to organize a trip to Prague from March to April, or from September to November. Crowds aren’t that big, so you can blow off steam while sightseeing and taking care of personal belongings. Pickpockets are on every corner. You can manage to take some picture, see and hear something in those parts of the year.
If the existence of pickpockets is too much for you to take, you don’t like that kind of pressure, want to take good photos without passers-by getting into them, then this is not the best destination for you.
However, if you want to go there for the New Year’s eve, it may be too cold to walk and get to know the city. Consequently you won’t get to see it in the way it deserves to.
At least it is like that in the months when the crowds are unbearable, the temperature low, and the humidity high.
This time (from March to April and from September to November) is just right for long walks, in case you get as lucky as I did and it’s not raining 🙂 (in case we don’t count the last two hours I spent in Prague).
You often meet dozens of people trying to sell something on that walking tour you take, and they’re trying to sell it to you. If you don’t like walking and various vendors who are approaching you, then this may not be the best trip for you.
A road trip is a complete failure, both for the parking and because of the traffic jams.
Accommodation and transportation to the city center
This trip to Prague left partially in bad memory because of the hotel in which I stayed. At first, I thought it might be better not to mention it. However, just so that you know and not make reservations there (although it is close to the metro, which means a lot), it is the Hotel Juno. Everything in it was too modest (a bit ripped sheets and washed out towels), and the breakfast was completely inedible. I am not a picky person, but nothing could be eaten there, and there were no eggs (in any form).
Luckily, I had my Breville Active for my favorite smoothie so that nothing could surprise me 🙂 .
How to organize for a day and a half?
As I only had one day and a half, this is what I decided to do.
That half of day was when I arrived in Prague, and I used it for a walk through the old city, where everything essential is (to feel the spirit of the city in general, and to choose where I would like to go tomorrow). That wasn’t the first trip to Prague for me, but even if it was, I would do the same. Then, I started stretching and working on my legs on the next day. I walked all over the city.
What to drink?
The first thing that you think of when you come to a city may be (or at least I do) whether you have to buy water, or you can drink tap water.
Prague water is of very high quality, so be free to try it. What surprised me about water, is that in some restaurants, the price of tap water is almost the same as one of beer 🙂 (35 crowns for water, and 40 for beer).
As for the wine, if I picked a trip to Prague based on its wine selection, it would surely be the last option on my list. So, in case you wanted to enjoy good wines, a trip to Prague is not the right solution for you.
There are better destinations if you want to enjoy that.
When talking about beer (we forgot about the wine in a moment), this is what I remember from the lecture:
There are three main categories of beer, based on the percentage of hop essence (the percentage of alcohol is not important)
- 10 (deset) – alcohol percentage is 4,2%. It is drunk before lunch, and Gambrinus is the one recommended.
- 11 (jedenáct) – Gambrinus is also recommended here, but it can be drunk as you wish, it doesn’t have a specified purpose before or after lunch.
- 12 (dvanáct)–Pilzen the one for after the lunch
Also, one of the best beers today is Kozel. You can buy it here as well, but it is very likely not the same as the one brewed in Prague, just like we heard about Staropramen from the Czech who had the chance to drink both the one from Serbia and their own.
How did beer come to the Czech Republic?
Through Germany, of course. Czech, didn’t even exist through history, but there was Bohemian kingdom where German was spoken.
The story of the arrival of beer dates back to 1842, when a man was brought from Munich to Plzen to brew beer. Those who brought him didn’t complete the deal, they failed to compensate for his contribution to beer brewing. So, he decided to revenge on them by not selling them the exact recipe which he knew. Instead, he concocted something, he wasn’t even sure what. What he made was transparent beer, of golden color, the one which is drunk today.
The Germans didn’t like it although it was different from all the recipes so far. The perceived quality of beer today is known as Lager or Pilsner quality.
Beer barrels, they didn’t lack in those.
One pint is not enough. SOOO GOOOD!
Everything is about beer
Another interesting story related to beer, and Czech women (who are known for being fit and big breasted) is that their mothers during their pregnancy used to drink lots of beer. Bubbles spread in their stomachs, which made their children upon their birth have big breasts too 🙂
As Czech girls aren’t what I’m interested in, I started my new beer discoveries.
I had to visit Krusovice, where the beer factory along with souvenir shops is 🙂
And when you get drunk, you need some oxygen, and you can find that outside the town.
If you planned to use your day and a half to visit the parks which are out of the city, among everything else… then you planned badly.
Apart from the Czech girls and their big breasts, Czech Republic is famous for parks (option for a stay longer than two days). There are no green surfaces outside the town.
So, if you expect rich flora and lots of oxygen inside the city, then it’s best to skip it.
The biggest park is Stromovka which dates back to 13th century when a hunting park was created for the king at the time. Now, it is one of the best places for a walk, roller, bicycle ride, or various sports activities. Stromovka has a separate kids park, where they can have fun for the entire day.
Another park, which is also worthy paying the visit to, especially in the springtime when magnolias flourish is Valdštejnská zahrada. The park looks more than gorgeous, with its fishpond, fish of different colors, peacocks, wonderful flowers, magnolias and huge stone wall with animal faces which can be seen from the castle. There is Czech Senate there too.
Riegrovy Sady – for some a million dollar view, or a view on the old town of Prague.
When you’re in Prague, you never say, ‘I go to the center’. Center doesn’t exist as such. Prague consists of 5 free royal cities (since 1786). Every city has its square, its theater, and a cathedral. Use metro for transportation in Prague, which exists since 1974.
My advice is never to ride without a ticket because fees are high and are paid immediately (they are very rude to you in case you get caught).
If you are used to riding without a ticket, then Prague is not a place for you.
Ćuprija će biti značajno skuplja od mosta.
What you cannot fail to visit (doesn’t matter if you are staying for a day or two) is the old city assembly, known for its astronomical clock. And that is where you want to keep away from the pickpockets.
You can see the group of 12 apostles coming from the small door in the wall every hour. This event is nothing spectacular, so you won’t miss much even if you don’t pass it by at the exactly scheduled time.
When you’re already there, be sure to visit the old square where you can see the famous building with black towers, Church of our Lady Before Týn (third photo):
Street entertainers today are an inevitable part of every big city.
Plato in front of the famous Museum metro station (entrance to the old town is straight down the street). That is where you will keep going in circles.
Prague outside the center
A visit to the Jewish quart with six synagogues with the cemetery in which Jews killed in 1270 were buried is also emotional.
Jewish museum which was a hospital and a Spanish synagogue at first.
Jewish graveyard– ceremonial funeral hall, where the body is specially prepared. Only men can approach the body. They have special scissors for nails, hair, body cannot have any decorations (tattoos, etc.). When the body is prepared it is rolled in sheets and placed in clay.
Insider. A view on the graveyard through a hole in the gate (every gravestone has its own story):
We reached Carl’s bridge on our walk, a couple of hundred meters from the Jewish quart, which was built in 1357 with towers on both ends of the bridge, from which there’s a magnificent view stretching from the city and the Prague Castle.
Prague Castle was built in 9th century and it represents an official residence of the president of Czech Republic.
And here are some photos of my visit back in 2010.
St. Vitus Catherdrale (Katedrála svatého Víta)
Spirit of Vltava
A ride down the Vltava is one of the ‘must do’s’. There are a lot of tours which are longer or shorter, for example with or without dinner, etc. Bedrich Smetana didn’t get the inspiration to write one of his most famous compositions from this river just like that:
Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord –built between 1929 and 1932 and designed by Slovenian architect Josip Plačnik.
If you don’t get touched by this Prague after only three minutes, then it is not the suitable destination for you.
10 1/2 dishes which are worth getting besmeared for:
And now that I’m tired of this walk, I ended in one of Prague pubs, looking for refreshment. What I didn’t like in their pubs was that they don’t have the habit of opening windows in stuffy rooms. Consequently, your clothes become smelly, and you can remove that smell only by washing it.
If you don’t like that, it just one more reason to pick fancy destinations for your trips.
When you come to Prague, apart from drinking beer, we need to get dirty of:
- Trdelnik – roll which is baked on coal, with cinnamon, Nutella, sugar, and recently it’s becoming increasingly popular to use ice cream cornet. This is a great dessert from the field of street food.
I recorded how it’s made
- Street sausages, you can find them anywhere in the old town
- Prague ham, which is, for me, completely different from the one sold in Serbia. Once you get to try the original, it is hard to go back to copies 🙂
- Svičková (Svičkova)– cooked beef in vegetables, served with dumplings (hurray, we made it here).
- Pork joint cooked in dark beer with honey. It usually goes with mustard, hot pepper, and potato with cream as a side dish. The Czech eat a lot of potatoes, and it is often a side dish.
- Homemade hamburgers– recently it’s becoming increasingly popular for every restaurant to have its selection of hamburgers, so if you like them, be free to taste them.
- Jablečný závin (apple strudel) with ice cream and sweet cream – a classic.
- Dort medovník – honey cake. Yum yum… I enjoyed every bite of it.
- The Czech Republic is famous for mushrooms, so be sure to try wild mushrooms soup (there was the inevitable potato as well).
- Goulash as a soup or the main dish is served with dumplings which can be made of potato or breadcrumbs or a mixture of those- another classic.
Everything else is classified into that other 1/2 meaning, you can, but you don’t have to
- The Czech have their own cheese manufacture. The best-known cheese is Olomoucké tvarůžky and it has a strong scent. You will frequently be served with cheese, butter, chopped onion, mustard, hot pepper as an appetizer in a restaurant. First, you have to chop all that, then squeeze it with your fork, and then ask the waiter for some beer foam which you should spill over cheese. In the end, spread all of that on bread. Among other, I tried their sheep cheese with mold (the moldest one in the photo), Nivu zlatna and Nivu Classica (upper right in the photo):
- Garlic (Cesnaková) is the most famous soup. Czech don’t waste the water in which potato was cooked, but they add mashed garlic to it and place a piece of cheese at the bottom of the plate.
- Salads – they eat a lot of cabbage under the German influence (white or red, it is all the same), so they frequently serve it in restaurants.
- If you get hungry while you walk, and you don’t have enough time for any of the above, try to find some Bramborová spirála-u (street food):
- Sometimes, a kid in me wakes up, and I crave gummy bears :). There was a huge rush on them in the old city.
- And some more traditional chicken.
- Tramin Červenie wine – if you like everything else, and everything about the Czech Republic is acceptable, then this is the only acceptable wine for wine lovers. Although it is červenie, it is still white wine.