PRAGUE 101

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog. The new year hasn't been easy at all so far. Assignments and presentations where running all January, then I got sick and stayed in bed for a whole week, then it was exams period, and considering that I am also working, I couldn't blog, I couldn't go out for a coffee to begin with. So to celebrate the end of that whole chaos, plus me and my boyfriend's 7 year anniversary, we decided that we needed some vacation time. Some of you know that my brother is studying abroad and I thought what better chance than to visit him. So that's what happened. I took 2 days off work and we went on a 4-day vacation to Czech Republic. And now I am here to tell you all about it.

Day 1

We had an early flight (7am Saturday) from Thessaloniki to Athens (there were no direct flights available) and my dad offered us a ride which we happily accepted. It was still dark outside and it was snowing (!!!), but everything went well and we arrived to Athens. Later that day we found out that an hour after we took off, all flights were cancelled for the whole day due to the bad weather. We got very lucky. We then caught our flight to Prague and we were very excited. After about 2 hours we were in Prague airport, and then we took the Airport Express bus to the train station, which is located in the city center and where my brother was going to wait for us. It took us about 25 minutes to get there and I was impressed because the bus itself had free wifi and usb ports near every seat where you could charge your phone and stuff. We surely don't have those services in Greece. Another thing that impressed me was that inside the train station there is storage where you can pay about 2-3 euros per day and you can leave your baggage and it will be safe. We obviously did that, I didn't want to walk in the city and have to drag my bag along. Our first stop was "Cukrárna Myšák", a coffee place - patisserie that I thought was very cute and elegant, the prices were also pretty good and the desserts were delicious. You have to try "větrník", which is a traditional Czech dessert.

After that we took a walk around the city and reached Old Town Square. There we took photos of the famous astronomical clock and the gorgeous Church of Our Lady before Týn, and there you can buy yourself a pastry called "trdelník" (translated as: chimney cake) from local stalls.

We continued walking Pařížská Street, and I quote "Prague’s most prestigious boulevard, home to a wide range of luxury boutiques representing the world’s most prominent fashion brands." where I would add "Featuring expensive cars your eyes haven't seen before", and reached Charle's bridge. It was very sunny that day and it was very crowded because of all the tourists.

We got pretty hungry since it was getting late and my brother took us to a place called Café Louvre. It serves both coffee and food. It's a place where Einstein used to be a regular through 1911 to 1912, when he was staying in Prague and teaching theoretical physics. We ordered traditional Czech cuisine, that I can't even pronounce, "svíčková na smetaně" and "vepřo knedlo zelo", but it was pretty tasty.

We took another walk and then decided to head to my brother's home, which is not in Prague, but in Hradec Králové, a small town 1,5 hour away by train. We got home, we rested a bit and then went out for beers and more food. The menu was not in English, so I read something that looked like "Burger" and ordered it. We got to bed and slept like babies.

Day 2

After a good night's sleep we were ready to hit the roads again. We got the train and there we were, back in Prague. So I had heard of this beautiful coffee place, café Chloé, and I couldn't resist. I forced my brother and my boyfriend to go there, they were feeling a bit out of place, but I didn't mind. It has a wall full of roses and everything inside is pink and gold, even the coffee was pink! I don't know about them, but I loved it.

Then we were up to exploring some more, so we took the tram and we passed through the other side of the river Vltava. Our first stop was Strahov Library, a 17th century library with beautiful decorated ceilings. Unfortunately you are not allowed inside but you are able to take photos by paying the extra 50 korunas (about 2 euros), while the entrance is at 120 korunas (about 5 euros). So if you ask me it is not that big of a deal, you can google the pictures.

Then we started walking towards the Prague Castle and the St. Vitus Cathedral, both very iconic buildings of Prague, I am not sure if you are allowed inside, it was Sunday when we went so they probably were closed for public. It has an amazing view of the city though.

We walked and we walked, we walked through Golden Lane ("Zlatá ulička"), the street from the castle to the river with the colorful houses. We were starving but we had to catch the train back to Hradec Králové. There was one more thing in my list, and that's "Wallenstein Garden", but it's only open to the public from April to October. Exhausted as we were we ordered some food and went to bed.

Day 3

Hradec Králové, which is translated to "the castle of the queen", is a pretty small town. We got the most of it in one day. We started by taking a walk at the park near the University, it is peaceful and a place for locals to exercise. We grabbed a coffee at the Riverside café (NãPLAVKA café & music bar) and enjoyed a piece of chocolate-brownie cake with raspberry sauce on the side while observing the river ducks. After that we walked alongside the river, we spotted the church of St. Nicholas, which is an all-wood orthodox church, walked some more and reached the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, which is located in front of the "Bílá věž" aka the White Tower. We climbed up there, about 8-9 floors and saw the whole city view.

We met my brother and his friends for lunch and beers, at a local restaurant "Pilsner Urquell Original Restaurant", where I had duck for the first time ever and I was truly amazed of how good that food was, and the beer of course. We got home to rest, and then went out again for a coffee at a small but cute cafe called "Galerie Cafe" that is run by a very nice lady. We returned to my brother's home, packed our bags and talked to sleep. We got up at 4am, took the 5am train to Prague and we caught our flight back home.

This vacation trip was everything I could ask for, we had a great time and I am definitely going to be visiting again in the future. Unfortunately it only lasted 3 days, but it wouldn't be a vacation otherwise, am I right? That's all for now. Back to reality.

See you soon,

MK