October Miscellany

We are often asked what is the best month to visit.  For Paros, Greece we say September or June; for Ireland it is June or July; for Prague, we are still learning.  We have heard that July and August are bad because of the crowds at Charles Bridge and other tourist centers.  Therefore we were surprised in October to see crowds on Charles Bridge and Old Town!

Of course the good side of that is the city is alive and active the year around.  We found the beer garden nearly empty in October but on a sunny day the park paths are busy with strolling people.  So below are a few photos and comments to demonstrate October in Prague and environs.

 

hidden garden of Vojanovy in Malastrana, PragueThis is the secret garden Vojanovy surrounded by historical buildings in Malastrana.

Balloon rides over the Kafka Museum and Pissing Men

tethered balloon over Prague

 

 

 

 

raspberries at a farmer's market, PragueFarmer’s Markets two days per week!  The berries are about €1.35 or $1.88 per basket.

River dining (River cruises are active year around.)river boat dining on the Vltava, Prague

 

 

 

 

relaxing on the grass near beer garden, PragueKarin sun bathing at Riegrovy with Beer Garden in background.

 

 

enjoying Pilsner in beer garden, Prague

Me enjoying the beer and the garden.

coffee house struedel in PragueOn occasion it will be cold or rainy.  Then we enjoy the interiors of coffee shops.  More on coffee culture here, but please notice Coffee Heaven is now Costa Coffee

Cheers

The End is only the Beginning!

It is now December and we are coming to the end of our first month in Prague (but not the end of the posts).  After we arrived Prague received its first light covering of snow with the promise of more to follow!  Since we live in Greece, on an island, where snow is unheard of, this was such a treat!  I was reared as a child in Washington State, USA and Michael in Portland, Oregon.  Both of us remember the snowfalls of our childhood, so the snow in Prague was a delightful and welcome Christmas Gift!  However, I understand it was not the feelings of most Czechs, as it was the worst winter in 40 years!  We were as innocent of that as babes!

Since it is the end of the year, I thought I would show a few pictures taken at random during the month of December.

Easy ID photos in Prague

When Michael and I first got to Prague we went to the Prague Transportation Department where we filled out a form to get a Senior Discount Pass for 3 months – which comes out much less than having to spend money for each trip.  This pass is good for buses, trams and the Metro (subway).  We even found it good on the funicular from Mala Strana to the top of Petrin Hill! 

One of the things we had to do was get photos of ourselves.  We were told one of these foto booths (above) which could be found around the city would suffice.  We had to giggle because the last time either of us had used them was when we were teenagers and took goofy pictures of ourselves with our friends!  Notice how rigid Michael is this time!  He even had his glasses off!  And I had to make sure my hair looked just right!  We found this booth in the Mustek Metro Station.

Wood cooked barbecue in squares of Prague

I mentioned in previous posts, that the Christmas markets had wonderful outside booths, many with mulled wine, hot sausage stands, etc.  This particular barbecue stand, outside a little restaurant, was in the Namesti Republiky (Republic Square).   I don’t know why we didn’t eat any, probably we were in a hurry to go elsewhere.  It makes my mouth water just too look at it now!Colour in architecture in Prague

I found myself taking lots of pictures of buildings.  Nothing seemed ordinary to me.  The white seemed as delicate as icing on a wedding cake.  Prague has an enormous variety of styles: Romanesque, Baroque, Renaissance, even Cubism to the heaviness of the communist era.  It is said Prague was practically untouched during WW ll so it is a wonderful place to study architecture. architecture detail figure over doorway in Prague

Over a doorway. . .tower close up in Prague

This looks like it should have been in one of the Harry Potter movies!

Holy family and nut fresco in Prague

This particular painting over a doorway really intrigued me and I tried in every way I knew how to find out something about it.  Also to know the significance of the arm holding the ball.  I could not find any information about it.  (If anyone knows, please tell me!)  It was on a little side street, of which I am not sure now where, but think it was near Bethlehem Square.Dessert after walk at Potrefena husa's on Vinohradska

We often walked miles, taking loads of pictures when suddenly one of us would call for time out and a coffee break!  They always were a treat and really perked us up!  Amazingly, I didn’t gain weight from all these beautiful desserts. . .but I practically wore out a pair of shoes!

And so ends December.  And to think we have January and February ahead of us!  We feel so lucky! 

Technorati Tags: snow,bus pass,architecture,desserts,republic square

Coffee, Desserts and Hospodas

Michael and I spent most of December exploring.  This meant many days of walking.  Now I enjoy long walks and liken myself to a beagle dog.  Does that need explaining?  Well, a beagle is often found walking with it’s nose to the ground, sniffing some exciting smell and ending up miles from where it started.  So, I am a like a beagle, always wondering what is around the next corner.  Michael is definitely not a beagle!  However he became this beagle’s best friend–but ONLY if I promised he could rest ever so often at a coffee shop and/or have lunch out in a restaurant.  That sounded ok to me!

On one of our walks we discovered a delightful coffee shop (that reminded us of the ones we frequented when we lived in the States.)  It was called Coffee Heaven.

Every time we went grocery shopping at the Flora Mall in Vinohrady, we made a bee-line straight for Coffee Heaven.  I was hooked on their java and and  chocolate cupcakes.  The girls there were very friendly and helpful as I attempted to order in Czech and they attempted to answer in English!

Then we discovered another Coffee Heaven near Old Town.  I loved the atmosphere there, particularly upstairs.

 

Yours Truly . . . enjoying a hot coffee after a cold walk around Old Town.

Historical ceiling in Costa Coffee old town Prague

 

Such a beautiful ceiling. View of Christmas looking out window of Coffe Heaven (Costa) Prague

 

I enjoyed sitting by the window and watching the people below.  Christmas was only a few days away and everything was very festive in the streets with Christmas trees lit up in many squares.  The outdoor Christmas Markets (for which Prague is famous) were very busy.  Here one can buy a variety of interesting gift items as well as hot spiced wine and delicious sausages served in bread!  (Yes, we definitely tried both of those —  more than once!)

On one walk, we stumbled across The Globe Bookstore and enjoyed a delicious coffee there as well.  We love the combination of coffee and books.  They go together so well — and seem to appeal to people who also like to have long quiet conversations.  We intended to go to some of their events such as live music, movies, book readings, but we never seemed to get there.  Next time!Globe restaurant Prague

 

I could go on and on with lots of pictures of fabulous desserts we ate, our great lunches in the Hospodas (a bit like a bar but with food) in the neighborhoods we explored.  But I won’t at this time. Just suffice it to say that you definitely won’t go hungry and if you like beer you won’t go dry (Czech beer is very affordable AND wonderful!)  I am not a beer drinker, but when in Prague I seem to drink an awful lot of Pilsner Urquell!  Cheers!  Na Zdravu!

Update:  Coffee Heaven has been bought out by Costa Coffee.

Technorati Tags: hospodas,cafe,coffee,Coffee Heaven,Christmas
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