We have a long list of towns, villages, castles and other sites within a few hours of Prague that we want to visit on day trips.  Last week we traveled to the one that has been on the list the longest, Nelahozeves.

Ever since our emotional first visit to the Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle we have wanted to see and learn more about this family and its tremendous collections of art and history.  This day was our chance.

Nelahozeves Zamek StationThe one hour rail journey from city center was very slow.  It was a commuter train; stopping at every village.  However, they were pretty riverside villages and the views across the river were nice.  As soon as we got off the train we had our first view of the palace.

The exterior is obviously in need of restoration but I can not imagine where the money would come from to do the work.  This country is just too full of worthy Nelahozeves Courtyardbuildings going to ruin.  The interior was a different story.  While not brought back to its former glory the sense of grandeur is well conveyed, especially by the countless family portraits lining all the stairways and halls.

The permanent exhibition is titled:  Private Spaces: A Noble Family at Home.  It illustrates the life of prosperous nobility in the 19th century.  The rooms are not exact recreations but meant as typical of the time.  The furnishings and decorations are exquisite; something awe-inspiring in room after room–including this painting by Rubens.Rubens at Nelahozeves

Photographs are not allowed inside but you can see some on the Nelahozeves website.


The print below is for sale in the gift shop and photos are allowed there.


Print from Zamek Nelahozeves

We had a one hour tour in English by a personable and competent guide named Lucie.  (Non-Czech tours have to be scheduled in advance.)  We felt we truly experienced the life of a 19th century noble family and left with an appreciation of the difficulty a 21st century noble family has in preserving the treasures of their history.

Nelahozeves MarinaIt was such a beautiful day that we wanted to eat lunch by the river.  We followed signs to the Marina and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the atmosphere and the food.

The only negative to the day was the lethargic train ride home brought on by having a beer with lunch.


P.S.  The composer Antonin Dvorak was born in a house just below the palace.  There is a small museum there.  Update:  After writing this I discovered today was his birthday.  Here’s a belated toast to his great music.

Burger Fest

I frequently preach that the best way to experience local culture while travelling is to attend local festivals and events.  A year ago we went with high hopes to Nameste Miru to the Burger Fest.  We were completely put off; there were too many booths crammed into too small a space.  There were hoards of people and intertwining queues to get any food or drink.  We left with empty stomachs.  I did not write about it here but gave the event bad reviews elsewhere–as did others.

This year I was intrigued that the organizers appeared to be properly chastised.  They had moved the fest to the much larger Výstaviště exhibition grounds, added corporate sponsors and increased the number of participating restaurants.  My curiosity and my love of hamburgers got the best of me; I decided to give it another try.

Bejzment VIP Burger FestHellmans VIP Burger FestTGIFridays Burger Fest

Beer and Burger at Prague Burger Fest I am glad I did.  The first two photos show the VIP areas that required a special ticket.  The third shows some of the American influence.  I couldn’t get decent photos of the three long rows of booths because they were spread out with plenty of space in between.  The more popular places had short queues; many you could walk right up and place your order especially for beer–and Jack Daniels, another sponsor.

Being American I wanted an unusual burger so I chose the Night Rider.  It had grilled onions and cheese with a delightful sauce.  The black bun was actually quite tasty as well.

By the way there were plenty of other choices of food, drink, deserts, etc..  When I left about 13:30 on Saturday there were more people poring in then leaving so it may get crowded yet but I am optimistic that no one will leave hungry this year.

A Slow Sunday

As long term travelers we have learned to mix up our days of intensive activity with a few slow days.  This rebuilds both our stamina and our enthusiasm.  In Prague most Sundays are easy going both because many shops and cafe’s are closed and we try to avoid the extra busy tourist centers.

Charles U Botanical Garden pathThis last Sunday we wanted to take advantage of a free cake offer at the Costa Coffee at Karlovo namesti so I looked over the map to see what was near there that we had not seen lately.  The Charles University Botanical Garden jumped out at me as a big green space surrounded by buildings.  We had been in their green houses several times but had only seen a small portion of the outside gardens because we usually visited in the winter.

Contorted Pine at Botanical GardenBoth Karin and I had our expectations exceeded by the scope and beauty of the space. I am not that much into gardens but the tremendous variety in species was highly interesting.  A large number of plants, shrubs and trees had descriptive signs, though few words in English, but also a large number had no signs.  Perhaps the highlight for both of us was the Geology section because the explanations were in Geology exhibit at Botanical GardenEnglish as well as Czech.

Seed pod collectionAs long as I have known Karin–a whole lotta years–she has collected seed pods.  This day she was in hog heaven as the ground was covered with collectible items.  All in all we had an excellent adventure walking up, down and around along the many paths.


To top it off the free cake–chocolate tort with pistachios and other stuff– at Costa Coffee was delicious.  I am not a fan of their coffee or prices but Karin likes the atmosphere and they always seem to have the best locations.

So what is your favourite way to spend a slow Sunday?

Photos by Karin

Prague cemetery to become celebrated

Street of buildings in cemetaryOlšany, the biggest cemetery in Prague, although not featured on our Favourites page, is, nevertheless, a place we visit often.  We wrote about it here and Karin has a photo journal here.

Now, according to a recent press release from the Czech News agency it will no longer be known to locals only. The Prague Cemeteries Management wants to attract both locals and tourists by organizing cultural and social events on its 50-hectare premises.

Martin Červený, director, would like picnics and workshops in the Olšany Cemetery, as well as readings from books of authors who are buried here. He suggested, “Outside the cemetery gate, a café could serve up black coffee and a popular Czech dessert with whipped cream called “rakvička,” or small coffin.”

Most decorated grave“We would like to present Olšany Cemetery as a cultural site that is open to the living,” Červený said.  “Such is progress,” I say.  What say you?  Please comment.

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