I am often nervous when re-visiting favourite haunts. Anxious that memories will be spoilt as I just get annoyed with crowds, Wizz Air carpets and expected high prices.
This newsletter is all about enjoying the micro seasons and what better place to escape the early spring mud than a city break on the cobbled streets of Prague?
A long weekend in Prague, visiting as a VFR - visiting friends and relatives, makes all the difference. The city of spires, Prague is a friendly place, full of Romanesque chapels and cellars, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque palaces, walls and gardens, music, excellent beer, cobbled streets and cafe’s. Transport works well too.
The places we spent time in where chosen because my hosts had been there to enjoy a meal, we had drinks in the pub recommended by his dad who used to frequent it 30 years ago, and found my competitive self in their health club. There was only one place on my list: the impressive Strahov library and gallery. Which my hosts were not familiar with.
In no particular order, these are my Czech mates
Cool for cats: a couple of cats lounging on a bookshelf whilst their humans enjoyed coffee and cake in the National Theatre cafe was suprise, until I realised that pets are welcome almost anywhere.
Tuba brew: sinking a few pints of excellent Czech lager in the U Fleků brewery accompanied by a man in tartan blowing out tunes on a tuba.
Door mats: the variety of neatly lined-up mats outside apartment doors, sometimes with a pair of outdoor shoes discarded on the way in.
Lard ’n lady: this spread would never appear in a diet plan, but when in Rome…Made with ground pork crackling, lard and finely chopped onion, best smeared on a slice of rye, it’s even more delicious when washed down with a glass of beer.
A trip with Klenado: we were in and out of the Bolt cars all weekend. Whilst I didn’t always enjoy their taste in music, I did find some of their names charming.
Alarming art: the Strahov Picture Gallery has a beautiful collection of Bohemian and Mid-European Gothic paintings and sculptures to admire, but don’t lean in too close as you will set off the alarms. And the guards!
A cabinet of curiosities: containing amongst other unexpected exhibits, a dried turtle, a 14th century astronomical atlas and an impressive thigh-high pair of 18th century power heels for men.
Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire: this iconic riverside building has a quirky "dancing” shape on top of which is a twisted metal structure nicknamed Mary. It has to be on the list!
Here for the beer: forget ‘Hollywood Bowl”, try instead somewhere small that doesn’t serve chicken in a basket.
Talián Sausage: my curiosity got the better of me with this dish that deserves a place on my list as the most memorable. But not in a good way.
Not deserving of a place on the list, but worth a mention are the hard-working instagrammers on their quest to find the perfect pose. Slippery steps, great heights or alongside some nasty bins didn’t seem to bother them at all.
If you have visited Prague, what would you add to this list?
I was worried for nothing. This trip has added happy layers to my memories and reminded me there is so much more to any destination than its ‘must-see’ i.e overcrowded and over-priced attractions and sites. Ditch the guidebook and put your trust in a local. Unlike the well-trodden Wizz Air carpets that are as revolting as ever.
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