Prague by the Pint
It was only Sunday morning that I’d never walked through the streets of Prague. Never seen the red roof tops, the sea of spires poking the grey sky, never tasted the classic unfiltered beer (although I would do a fair share of that in the next few days).
Corey said it’s the first place he’d actually felt culture shock. It’s true, this place is different. You’ll feel yourself standing out as you gape at the decorative streets in pink, yellow, and blue. Thinking, why are people acting like this is normal?
Once I got over the initial shock of the sheer beauty of this place, I felt myself fitting in. We rented an Airbnb apartment almost blindly and found ourselves in a hip neighborhood with three spacious rooms and a king-sized bed (ahmazing). The area is filled with expats, and being American is not something to feel ashamed of, but rather something that is greeted with delight.
We made a few friends and got some local recommendations at a tiny Spanish cafe run by two expats. I wish I could remember the name so I could recommend their amazing tomato and olive oil toast.
The first big sight we visited was the Prague Castle. We got there by taking the 22 tram, which is a sight in and of itself. Prague’s charming old-school street cars can connect you everywhere in the city. The 22 tram takes you from new town to old town and up to the castle in a matter of minutes.
The castle comprises numerous historical buildings and churches. The one you’ll recognize is St. Vitus Cathedral. You’ll be stunned by the visual impact of the mix of gothic and baroque metal black spires, then you’ll go inside where stained glass windows drown the Cathedral in colored light.
To the side of St. Vitus is an overlook which gives an impressive views of the signature red roofs of Prague. You’ll also see the Petrin, Prague’s version of the Eiffel tower. We heard a dramatic tour guide tell a group, “That is a place for lovers! If you are single… well, you can still go.”
We skipped the Petrin, but made sure to talk a walk across the Charles Bridge, known for being the most beautiful bridge in the world. Despite the tourists, I would still agree wholeheartedly.
We gave ourselves a grand tour of the Czech bar and brewery scene. One mighty pint will run you about 45 Krona, or a buck fifty. Dangerous living. We visited the Prague Brewery museum where we saw old taps, bottling machines, cans, and bottles. We smelled some hops and malts, then sat down for a sampling in a Soviet-era style pub.
You really can’t go wrong with the Czech beer. If you’re not a fan of Pilsners, you still have to try one here — you might change your mind. The Pilsner Urquell is like the Czech version of a PBR (but much better).
Due to the low cost of everything here, we were able to try so many places. I decided to put a list together to offer up some recommendations:
The best places to drink in Prague
The Golden Lion (Bill Clinton’s been here!)
The Blah Blah Bar
Bad Flash Bar
Czech food seems to be a combination of German and French. The sides such as dumplings and potatoes are amazing — but the main courses have a little too much Pâté for my taste. But, there are so many people from different backgrounds living in Prague — which means plenty of choices outside of the traditional cuisine. In fact, our favorite meal was at an Italian Restaurant called Grossetos.
On our last day in the city, we knew we had to try the local speciality dessert: Trdlniks. It sounds like “turtleneck” for a reason. Ice cream is stuffed into a cylinder of fried dough and topped with nuts. It was perfect for such a sunny Sunday.
In Prague, you feel the celebration of warmth in the center of the city where everyone just seems happy. There’s live music coming from somewhere, people are carrying big drink cups, and the river is dotted with paddle boaters. We decided to give the paddleboats a try. We paddled under bridges and around the little islands, taking in the beautiful views created by centuries of conflict yet now cloaked contentment.
We left yesterday, and we’re already anxious to get back soon. But for now, we’re discovering what Berlin has in store.