For those of you seeking alternate countries of residence, please add the Czech Republic to your list. MrKef and I visited for a few days in late August, and every time we told someone about our upcoming trip, they responded, “Oh it’s so magical! You will love it!” At the risk of being trite, it was magical and we did really, really love it. So much so that I have 10,000 photos, so buckle up for a long post.
We got in pretty early and found our amazing AirBnB easily. We were thrilled to find it above a wonderful cafe and across the street from a concert hall, which meant that every morning there was classical music drifting up our one-way cobblestone street. Magic!
As if the location wasn’t enough, the cafe was serving my favorite Ottolenghi recipe— eggplant with a tangy yogurt sauce plus pomegranates and balsamic vinaigrette.
We moseyed allllll the way uphill to a monastery and stunning view:
MrKef was loving it!
We decided just to keep strolling and get the lay of the land. Of course, we found the Hop on Hop Off Bus:
and realized we were only a few blocks away from Prague Castle:which, in addition to its stylish guards, also boasts a beautiful view and… a Starbucks?
Because he is the world’s friendliest man, MrKef was making friends left and right:
Prague is split by the Vltava River, and the city is crisscrossed by bridges. One of the many photo-op attractions of the city is the Charles Bridge, which has been open since 1402! We walked across and, even with all the other tourists and hawkers, it was spectacular.
The bridge opens right up into the Old Town, and we made no bones about sampling Prague’s famous gingerbread as we explored.
One of the most wonderful things about Prague is the river life– all along the river are these little beer garden-type establishments where you just post up with friends and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Some of them have live music, and a few have food– but mostly the idea is just to soak up the sun and enjoy the fact that you are alive. Bonus points if you’re with this guy:
About 80,000 steps later, we were ready for dinner. We picked Vkolkovne, Pilsner Urquell’s restaurant. We were fans!
The next morning, I did what I do best: drink coffee, eat vegetables, and wait for MrKef to be ready.
Eventually, we made it back up the monastery to check out the exhibits there. But don’t think it was all beautifully hand-pressed books, historic paintings, and beautiful architecture — our trusty Lonely Planet guide also alerted us to the existence of a calcified whale penis on display (not pictured here because you really couldn’t tell what it was)!
I was ready for lunch and MrKef was ready for a beverage, but luckily we were in Prague so both could be taken to go! I found delicious zucchini noodles at this raw vegan cafe down the street from the monastery, and MrKef found JimBeam in a can. We were both in our own personal heaven.
Fueled by our favorite vices, we walked back over the bridge and toured the Jewish Quarter, which is by far one of the best in Europe (that I’ve been to, anyway). Apparently Hitler planned to turn the Jewish Quarter of Prague into the “Museum of the Extinct Race,” and so he carefully preserved the synagogues there and brought in many important Jewish artifacts from all over Europe. Luckily that’s now how things turned out and, in an ironic twist of “eff you, fascist mother effer,” it is now one of the most thriving centers of Jewish life in Europe, with 7 synagogues from various periods, a stunning cemetery, and lots of fascinating historical exhibits.
From there, we went over to the main square to go to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower and see the famous Astronomical Clock.
As you can see, the views were pretty stunning. Need some more Prague magic? There was this guy with the world’s biggest bubble maker down in the square, and you could hear kids’ gleeful laughter all the way at the top of the tower:
Post-tower, we decided on a boat tour.
Another 80,000 step day in. We tried to have dinner at this vegetarian-friendly place by our apartment but it was sadly closed (foiled again!), so we ended up in this total hole in the wall where pretty much the only vegetarian thing on the menu was Cider, so I drank dinner that night!
Not sold on Prague yet? Hold on to your hats. They have this INSANE street treat called trdelnik. It’s grilled puff pastry filled with frozen yogurt and topped with nutella. Um, WOW.
As shown in the bottom right, MrKef was thrilled; I was petrified. We had a few more drinks on the square and called it a night–we were pooped!
We’ll save the second half of the trip for another day–too much magic for one post!