Fresh off the plane from my first weekend Euro trip, and I’m still buzzing with a traveler’s high. After three delightful days in Prague, I’m unquestionably convinced that my three months abroad will be jam-packed with myriad memorable moments (say that five times fast).
So, desperate to share some of those many moments, I’m breaking up my trip into three posts: one for each dreamy day / night spent in the Czech Republic’s capital.
Here goes. Day 1.
It started with some me-time, as the friend I was staying with for the weekend was tied up during the day on Friday. Ever the rockstar planner, she wrote me a splendid iPhone note with all I needed for my morning alone, including the transliteration for ‘thank you’ in Czech and directions to the quaintest coffee shop on her street, where I of course made my way approximately four minutes after awaking. It was there that I settled down with a most perfect Americano and a slice of crumbly Swedish pear cake. Wondrous wake up call: Check. (Or should I say, Czech?)
After a second Americano, it was time to meet up with my second Prague pal — I’m lucky enough to have two very close friends studying in the city this semester. Needless to say, I was hyped up and ready for a full day of city sights (my two shots of espresso may or may not have lent to this buzzing sensation). We first made our way to Petrin Hill, which stands some 425 feet high and overlooks the left bank of the Vltava River that flows through Prague. We opted for the tram to take us up, up, and away, through picturesque parks, to the hill’s summit.
With wanderlust in full force, we continued on. I marveled at the city’s unbeatable architecture — again, and again, and again — along the way. Each pastel-tinted building made me fall a little bit more in love.
Next up was the John Lennon Wall (and the baby pedestrian bridge that’s packed with love padlocks on the way there). The wall speaks for itself (Am I punny?), with vibrant and ever-changing art and tags that are hard to forget. I especially appreciated the wise message pictured above: Everyday’s Another Chance.
Fact: Sightseeing makes for growling bellies. After making our way over the famous Charles Bridge, to a Shakespeare-inspired bookstore, through another park and then Wenceslas Square, we were feeling the pangs, big time. Solution: we quickly made our way to the classic Prague establishment, Café Louvre, for a late lunch. Traditional, embellished wallpaper and gold accents made the restaurant feel as if it were stuck in a time warp in the best of ways. The only drawback: we were seated in the smoking section amidst clouds of fumes, because that’s allowed. I couldn’t help but think like Dorothy, “We are not in Kansas [or really anywhere in America] anymore.”
I opted for two starters: a carrot / apple salad and chicken skewers sitting in tzatziki (yogurt / cucumber) sauce. Not exactly your traditional Czech food (Can you say goulash?), but delicious nonetheless and healthy enough to precede what I knew would follow our main course: a seriously serious dessert from the glowing case at the front of the café. All options were contenders, but the double chocolate mousse ultimately seduced me the most. Dense cake on the bottom, thick mousse on top, dark and white chocolate shavings dusting the surface. I’ll leave it at that.
The rest of Day 1 consisted of a much-needed rest, a quickie dinner at a marketplace-style restaurant, a walk through the lovely and lit-up Old Town Square, and a night of Cider-ing (What? That’s not a verb?) at an underground bar that was completely entrenched in stone, with arched cave-like walls and ceilings.
The votes are in: my day of introductory touring was an utter success. Tune in for a recap of Prague: Day 2, coming soon to a blog near you.