Friday, November 7, 2014

A perfect week in Prague

Returning to London is always a bittersweet moment. I love London, but when you've been away, especially to a beautiful European city, things don't seem so shiny. This is how I felt returning from Prague to drunk people wandering the streets in all sorts of Halloween costumes. My room isn't very well sound proofed so I heard the shouting and screeching all the way through to 4am... But that's enough of my sleep deprived rant! Moving on to what I got up to during my week in the beautiful city of Prague!

Wandering around the Old Town

I prefer not to travel too fast paced and like to get to know a place outside the tourist hubs. The best way to do this I find is by wandering around the city. I was staying about a half hour's walk away from the Astronomical Clock, in Prague 5. This gave me a chance to walk through nice parts of Prague and really take in the surroundings. Like with most European cities, sometimes the best way to enjoy a place is by getting lost in it.

Seeing all the sights

There is so much to do and see in Prague, and even with a whole week there are things I didn't get to. Climbing up things seems to be pretty popular, and I ended up climbing three different towers around Prague. These were Petrin Tower, Astronomical Clock Tower and the Astronomical Tower which is part of the Klementinum. All offered amazing views, but if I had to pick one favourite I would say it is the Astronomical Clock Tower in the center of the Old Town. I unintentionally turned up at around 5pm so managed to see the beautiful sunset with an amazing view all around Prague. It was incredibly crowded up there at that time, but so worth it to see the sun set on a clear night. Petrin Tower offers views from further away, and the Astronomical Tower in the Klementinum also offers great views of Prague.

If I could recommend just one thing to do in Prague aside from going up a tower, it would be to visit one of the beautiful libraries. The library in the Klementinum was the one I visited and it was absolutely amazing. Despite the fact that most of the books were missing to be digitally recorded, it was still such a beautiful room. Of course, you might hate libraries and old books, but if you are a lover of these things like me you will thoroughly enjoy it! There is also a great library in Strahov Monastery, however I didn't manage to see that one.

Eating all the food

For me, an important part of travelling is trying the local cuisine. I feel that if you don't try the food, you really can't say that you have experienced that culture or place. My diet in Prague consisted of lots of goulash, bread dumplings and trdelnik, which is a kind of pastry dessert. My favourite goulash was the traditional Czech kind and I also liked the goulash in a hollowed out bread roll. Beer goulash was also on many menus, but I found that one to be far too rich. Most places also have the classic pizza, pasta and meat dishes if you don't like goulash.

After having my fair share of trdelnik, I determined that it has the potential to be great. It is basically dough wrapped around a stick/pole which is then covered in cinnamon, sugar and optional walnuts or almonds and then grilled. It is traditionally cooked over an open flame, but many places have taken to a more modern approach. To cut things short, trdelnik is delicious. However, I found so much inconsistency with them. The first one I tried did not have much sugar on it and was cold, the second one I tried was still raw in the middle, and the third one I tried (wait a minute, I sound like Goldilocks here) was overcooked and too chewy. They were all still great, but I just wished that they were made a little more carefully and not just made sloppily for tourists. After three times trying to find the "perfect" Trdelnik I gave up, although slightly happier in the knowledge that I could finally pronounce it. 

Prague is an amazing city, and one certainly worth visiting. There is so much to do, and I did a lot more that I will save for other posts (I don't want to bore you with a 5 000 word essay now do I!). I really enjoyed staying there for more than just a weekend to really enjoy and embrace Prague. The scales have also enjoyed telling me I embraced Prague too much...darn you delicious food! 

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