We’ve been here in Prague for four weeks now, and we feel like we’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the city. We can take the tram no problem with our handy dandy monthly passes (I have even gone out by myself, several times, without getting lost! #soproud). We located the best bakery in Prague (Artic Bakehouse in Smichov). This is no exaggeration. If you visit Prague, you must try their Monk bread (we first had it in two nearby restaurants). It is the perfect combination of chewy crust and soft interior sourdough deliciousness. Their scones are to die for and so are the cinnamon buns. (Bring it, Vienna!)
I found two happy places: an English-language bookstore (Shakespeare and Sons) and Prague Yoga Collective, where I’m taking a weekly meditation class. Jim found his beloved dark beer (or cerny pivo, another of our few Czech phrases) and has been stuffing himself with sausages of all makes and models. We also made a head-smacking discovery: fresh ricotta. It takes the lasagna to a whole new level – Jim is in love!
When you walk (hike) everywhere, you lose weight really quickly. We’ve both dropped at least five pounds.
Boy do they love their American 80s music! In almost every restaurant and shop you will hear a wide variety of long-lost tunes, mostly easy-listening-style. Such a throwback – I love it! We visited the Czech Museum of Music, and one of the exhibits highlighted how rock’n’roll was a key way that people rebelled during the Cold War. Some bands could come here, but there was a thriving underground musical scene, filled with record and cassette trading, music magazines and Eastern European cover bands. Some of the music you hear in the restaurants isn’t quite as you remember the song, and after viewing this exhibit, we realized it’s probably because it’s the cover bands!
No matter what restaurant you go to, from the tiniest coffee shop to the fancy places in Old Town, the food is artfully presented and creatively garnished. Some of our readers may know that we enjoy food a bit, and receiving a beautiful plate is such a joy to experience! We also had a great pizza with our favorite combo of toppings (onions, green olives and capers). It was no Antico (what is?) or New York pie, but it was delicious!
We found out about Becherovka. At Sad Man’s Tongue (the 50s-style burger joint), the waitress brought us shots of “traditional Czech liquor” (Becherovka), which instantly soothed my sore throat (it didn’t cure the raging cold that followed, but it sure helped!). I named it Czech Tylenol. It’s a proprietary mixture of herbs and 100 proof liquor. Very potent, very delicious!
Not only is the architecture incredible, there are sculptures everywhere – as well as the graffiti I mentioned in our first post. Some of the graffiti is actually amazing (see picture below). It’s honestly hard for us as Americans to really wrap our heads around the fact that some of these buildings have been standing since 900 or 1000. It’s just difficult to really grasp. I think that’s part of why Europe is so fascinating.
The residual effects of the Cold War are real. I don’t remember studying this area of the world much in school, so when we went to a photo exhibit of the Fall of the Iron Curtain (at Queen Anne’s Summer Palace), I was riveted. I mean, this revolution happened in our lifetime and encompassed so much more than the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s an eye-opener to realize that in many ways I am a naive, spoiled American. I can’t imagine living through the strife these countries and their people dealt with. I hope that these travels we’re doing continue to open my eyes to other ways of life – that’s a huge part of what I love about it (plus I think it’s so important as a world citizen!).
Touring Continues With The Big One
We have continued our touring on the weekends. I figured we might be kicked out of Prague if we didn’t see THE castle. It was crowded but worth it (especially since we employed our secret trick of taking the tram UP the mountain and walking DOWN to the castle, instead of hiking up the stairs). It took two days, but we can officially check it off our list.
We’re headed to Vienna this weekend and are very excited!