We just returned from a bitterly cold but enjoyable weekend in Prague, or Praha as the Czechs call it (and sadly, that’s about the only Czech word we picked up while we were there).
We had booked a two-day “historical” walking tour, and it was a good thing we did because it forced us to get out and about and see the sights despite the frigid temperatures. Our tour guide, Ivana, took us all around the Castle Quarter, Little Quarter, Old Town and New Town – the four major areas of current-day Prague, which in the past used to be four different towns, each with it’s own fortified wall and unique character. With 4-5 layers of clothes on, the touring was doable, but in the evening, when temperatures got to 20 below freezing, multiple beerhall stop-ins were necessary to get from say, hotel to dinner.
We were lucky that even though it was cold it was sunny, and we really enjoyed the beautiful views of Prague from the top of the Astronomical Clock Tower. Prague is one is one of the few cities to escape the bombs of WWII and is one of the most beautifully preserved places we’ve been to. With it’s many gothic spires, the statue-lined Charles Bridge, bright red roofs and famous Art Nouveau architecture, it’s truly a gem. Of course one of the best parts about visiting Praha is enjoying the fine Czech beer (primarily Pilsner). We liked visiting the old, smoky beerhalls, where foamy beer is served with giant pretzels and hearty Czech food (goulash and dumplings for us).
Our hotel concierge Jakub really took care of us. He arranged the historical tour, the airport transfers, the meals and the Ayurvedic massages (yes we got massages – what else is there to do when it’s too cold to wander the streets?). Needless to say, we really enjoyed being pampered and weren’t horribly disappointed when our return flight to Heathrow was cancelled (due to the prediction of snow). With the extra afternoon we were able to squeeze in a leisurely Italian lunch in the Jewish Quarter, visit the Museum of Communism, drink lager in one of Prague’s most famous landmark beerhalls, and – a first for us – pop into an absinthe bar, where the anise-flavored spirit is prepared two ways. Brent tried them both – first as a flaming shot and next on the rocks with water ”French style”.