Although my alarm woke me at my usual time of 7:00, I didn’t leave the house until 10. I had zero energy! I was still totally zonked from the wedding.
The one place on my “To See List” turned out to be a 3 hour ride by public transit, so I decided best not to do that this trip. I reviewed the tourist map posted in my room and chose to go to the Charles Bridge as I remember my friend Kai taking gorgeous pictures there.
The ticket machines at the metro only took coins, so I went above ground to find a cafe to break a bill. I went into a small bakery and ordered a coffee and pastry. The coffee was a very thick and strong espresso, so I diluted it with water. I think the little round pastry was made with dates.
On the way to the metro, (and for the rest of the day) I was very aware of how the women in Prague dressed much more feminine than the women in Germany. It seemed like everyone was wearing beautiful skirts and dresses. I felt as if I was the only woman with jeans, T-shirt, and unruly hair! I kept my eye out for anything that looked like a Czech version of Value Village – I would have loved to bring some summer dresses home from Prague! Sadly, none crossed my path.
The Charles Bridge was easy to find from my AirBnB. It was a flood with tourists, a few cart sellers, and beggars (two of which were doing extremely submissive poses on their hands and knees, like a child’s pose in yoga).
The Steps Up to the Castle
I followed the crowds up steep steps towards the Prague Castle. I stopped in a couple boutiques along the way, one of which was a perfumery. The individual scents were in large glass gars with in a dimly lit white room. The sales rep waved some scents in front of me, but I didn’t know enough about perfumes to discuss what I liked. I considered buying a tiny vile for 15 euros to have in my purse, but I wasn’t totally sold on this guys wares. The tacky labels that looked like they were done on a home printer with bleeding ink under tape didn’t help motivate me to buy.
The Prague Castle
The facade of the palace was under construction, hidden from view by blue mesh fabric. It contrasted nicely with the gold gilding on the gates!
I wandered into the palace grounds with my camera. There was a big church with an impressive collection of gargoyles. I didn’t feel like paying money to be jostled around by crowds, so didn’t go in any of the historical buildings. I was quite content to go around the perimeter with my camera.
Funnily enough, there was one family who kept coming across my path when I was taking shots. Unlike other tourists, they stopped and waited for me to take my shot (or when I noticed, I would smile and signal them through). It was funny coming across the same people when time had elapsed and we’d both gone slightly off the conveyor belt of tourists going to the palace. The husband and I laughed about it.
Kavárna Nový Svět
I am not a fan of crowds and the crowds mixed with fatigue from the eventful week in Germany, made me eager to escape the swarms of tourists. I meandered around, taking whatever street took my fancy until I was [mostly] alone. I was hungry by then, and started checking out the menus posted outside the restaurants and cafes I passed. Most looked doable financially, but most were dark and stoic inside. When I saw two mums with their strollers sitting outside a white washed house covered in ivy, with cups of coffee, I thought “Aha!” and went inside.
Kavárna Nový Svět had a back balcony overlooking a small sculpture garden and a cozy interior. I sat outside initially, then moved inside to plunk myself down on the cushions. I ordered the “toast” which turned out to be a grilled cheese and ham sandwich with a side of cucumber, pepper, and tomato with basil. I ordered a cappuccino in hopes it would wake me up a bit. All were very good. (The meal cost 80 kr.)
There were two girls discussing their trip in English at the table opposite me. I went over to them and asked if I could look at their map. Turned out they were from Canada too – Vancouver and Ottawa. They recommended that I walk to someplace that started with an S, following the river. I thanked them and set out in search of the water. I periodically found it, but wasn’t able to follow it all the way down. I ended up back at the Charles Bridge – the opposite direction I’d meant to go, so just got on the metro and headed to Muzeum.
Muzuem was rather depressing. It was dirty and not very scenic. I amused myself in the pharmacy where I bought some makeup (I had to step up my game with all these stylish Prague women around!) and then headed back to the neighbourhood where I was staying.
My neighbourhood was not touristy nor was it well kept, but that added to its charm. I enjoyed wandering up and down the streets with my camera taking pictures of the residential buildings. There were a lot of communist statues built into the facades – and security cameras too! It definitely felt like someplace that had once been red.
Pivo a Párek
I went home around 5:00 to have a quick shower (so humid!), change my clothes, and put on full makeup. The information sheet in my room recommended a nearby restaurant with Czech beer and traditional food, so I Googled the address and went on over there.
I walked up and down the street, checking the signage, Google maps, and the notes from my AirBnB host, but did not see the place they had named. However, on the same spot, according to Google Maps was Pivo a Párek, a restaurant advertising Czech beer. Sounded good to me!
The front of the restaurant was a bar, refrigerators full with bottled beer, and a couple with a dog. My initial thought was that this was a shop, not a restaurant, but then I saw an arrow above a picture of chairs.
I followed the arrows to a back patio. There was a dog here too and a water bowl – obviously they had different health and safety rules here than at home! Dogs also tended to be off leash in Prague, or on leashes so long it hardly mattered.
My waiter spoke English and I asked him what he recommended. He suggested a sausage dish and a citrus beer, so I took that with no questions asked. The meal turned out to be two sausages, two slices of bread with two variety of mustards. Having already finished my first beer, I asked him to recommend another. This time it was ginger – my favourite!
The table opposite me filled up with other English speakers – at least some were from Vancouver according to conversation. I had no idea Prague was so popular for Canadians! No wonder everyone here asks if I’m from the French or English part of Canada when I answer where I’m from.
My eyes were stinging from all the cigarette smoke and I was having trouble relaxing with all the noise, so I finished my beer and paid the bill. Feeling slightly buzzed from the alcohol, I decided to go grocery shopping.
Last Night in Prague
I love going grocery shopping in foreign places! I went to Billa, which is what my hostess had recommended. It was like a tiny Loblaws – yellow bags, points cards, and everything.
I was very amused that cheese and milk cost under a dollar CAD. I got a box of milk, an apricot yogurt drink, a ‘dessert’ (turned out it was pudding, a chocolate bar, a granola bar, a box of black tea, and a can of alcohol with a word that resembled ‘lemon’ but with a picture of an apple (turned out it was sweet cider).
The granola bar, tea, and unrefrigerated milk were for Iceland as groceries are expensive there. However, in the morning I questioned my logic of taking milk on a plane, so left it for the AirBnB host.
It was 8:00pm by the time I got home. I had a little feast of chocolate and pudding, then collapsed in bed. I was exhausted! I awoke at 12:30 when someone arrived home and sat awake until 2:30am. I packed up my things, checked social media, and drank some of the cider I bought (pouring most of it down the drain – it was too sweet!).
Last Morning in Prague
I was very eager to leave my AirBnB. I hadn’t found it a very pleasant or friendly environment to be. I had a quick shower, dressed, and saddled up with my bags. I was out the door by 8am. I dropped my keys in the mailbox as instructed (with a thank you card – but no maple syrup) and drank my apricot yogurt drink on the way to the subway.
It was very easy to get to the airport. I was there a little before 8:30am and got through security in under 5 minutes – even though they pulled me aside about the travel sized sunscreen in my bag (I got to take it on board, no problem! Flowers too!).
I amused myself in the duty free looking at the selection of liquor that we didn’t have in Ontario. I then went and had a cafe-au-lait and ham and cheese bun, wondering how long it would be until I got scurvy.
I got a window seat (YAY!) and was very impressed with the leg room in the economy seats. The staff often spoke English before Czech, which I thought was odd for the national airline, but hey, it works for me!
They served a simple sandwich of cheese and cucumber for lunch, with a slice of green pepper. I couldn’t remember the last time I had fresh veggies in Europe, and here I was eating greens on a plane! Imagine that!
Step Count: 22,574 (full day in Prague)