Being a massive fan of gothic architecture and good beer, a trip to Prague has been on my ‘to do’ list for quite some time. I’d heard stories from friends, usually not inclined to talk about such things, about how ‘beautiful’ a city Prague is. Being a bit of an amateur IPhone photography geek, I thought I could kill three birds with one stone on this trip: see some amazing buildings, drink some amazing beer, and tell Instagram all about it (it’s the narcissist in me, you see). As you’ll see from this post, I managed to complete two out of three of those tasks.
To sum it up in a short and sweet way, the Czech capital did not disappoint at all. I’ll be totally honest however, and say that despite hearing amazing things about this city, I really didn’t know what to expect in terms of its ‘feel’. Prague certainly has that distinctly European city vibe to it; gorgeous architecture, cobbled streets and Victorian era-lampposts give the place a distinctly Euro-feel. But enough general chit-chat, here’s my run down of the best and worst in terms of the trip.
Despite a generally great trip, there are a few things I’m glad I researched in advance. I’d consider myself a pretty open minded-guy, but some of the food was not always massively to my taste. Although I like my meat – in Prague, there’s certainly a lot of it, whilst most meals being kind of thin on the vegetable front. Thankfully though, the food in the hotel my girlfriend and I stayed in was really reliable, so we did use that more than a few times.
One of the funny things I noticed about Prague is the fact that alcohol, or beer more specifically, is something that the locals slot acceptably into any and all times of the day. One place that’s certainly worth checking out is the Pivovarsky klub – a seriously cool and classy beer bar which has some awesome beer on offer. Kozel’s Medium was a nice find, a pretty sharp and tasty pale lager, but a barman recommend I try Pilsner Urquell – which is apparently a local favourite. Neither disappointed in any way. Being from the UK, Czech beer is like some heaven-sent gift that us Brits rarely get to sample, so it’s something I certainly made the most of.
Sights & Sounds
One thing I’d read about before visiting Prague was the Astronomical Clock. This medieval clock has been ticking and spinning away since 1410 (which is incredible, when you really think about it). You might think “Okay, it’s old, but what’s so special about a clock?” Well, in response, I’d say you kind of have to see it up close to get the full effect. The clockface itself is this incredible blend of gothic imagery and text (legend has it) occult messages.
I didn’t get a great grip on the layout of the city, but another cool place we stumbled across while wandering was the Dům u Černé Matky Boží (or Grand Café Orient, as it translates into English) gallery. I later learned the building itself, which is a really interesting cubist design, was designed by the late, great Josef Gočár. Thankfully the building has seen a massive cash injection in recent years, resulting in it becoming a National Gallery. Whatever show takes centre stage, you’re sure to find a plethora of added extras, such as the huge amount of Slavic art on show from artists such as surrealist Jan Zzzavy.
All in all we had an amazing weekend. To be honest 48 hours isn’t nearly enough to take in this place, but it did give me a taste of Czech culture and a good number of nice continental craft beers. My girlfriend is far more travelled than I (having spent 4 months travelling the world at the end of last year), and she was thoroughly impressed with the city. My highlights were the craft beers, whereas hers was the Dům u Černé Matky Boží gallery. Although the city has made a name for itself in the UK as a ‘go-to’ destination for stag parties, I’d recommend this to any couple looking for something a little different and it’s very affordable in general.