Travel Notes – Prague, Czech Republic

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

We did this trip two winters ago. It’s been a while but I’ve never really had the drive to write about it until now. We flew from Singapore to Amsterdam and from there, took a connecting flight to Milan. Later, I’ll share the story of our adventure in Italy but for now, this is the tale of one of the most beautiful places in the world. A city called Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.

We took the early morning flight to Prague from Milan, a day after arriving at the fashion capital. I remember being quite impressed with the Ruzyne Airport in Prague. It was surprisingly spacious and clean with a really high ceiling that seemed airy with lots of light beaming in from the outside. We arrived around 9 in the morning and were taken to the apartment in a blue shiny Caravelle. The drive to the apartment was pleasant and we passed by the famous Dancing House with the children ooh-ing and aah-ing all the way through.

Prague has that romantic old-time feel to it and we immediately felt comfortably at home. Our rented service apartment was on Spalena 27 located in Praha 1, in a district called Mala Strana. It sat on the 4th floor and I remember it being rrrrreally nice. It exceeded our expectations and had a big bedroom with a large window overlooking the street below. We could see the trams whizzing by if we stuck our heads out the window and on one morning, I even saw the dentist in the building across the street get ready for his practice that day.

We strolled along Charles Bridge a gazillion times and sipped hot coco at Prague Castle, huddled in our jackets and hats. We climbed all the way up to the tower on Charles Bridge and marvelled at the view of the Vltava River down below. We went to Christmas markets scattered around the city and ate lots of yummy local delicacies with funny names. We sat at one of the street cafes and watched as the 600 year-old Astronomical Clock strike and chime its tune. It even snowed on one of the evenings when we were walking home from the famous Prague Christmas market in Old Town Square. The sky had just turned grey and we were almost home when all of a sudden, snowflakes started to fall around us. It was the prettiest sight ever. Click here to see a 360 degree picture of the Old Town Square and here to see the 2007 Christmas market in panorama style. Trust me, it’ll make you want to go there!

We ate at KFC just because their slogan “Finger Lickin’ Good” sounded really funny in Czech. We had one too many trdlos, the popular Czech sweet bread sprinkled with sugar, shaped like a giant bracelet. On one evening, we stepped into a restaurant near our apartment and ate beef goulash served with countrystyle bread. We kept going back to the Christmas market at Old Town Square to buy the traditional Czech pizza-like bread called langose, topped with only minced garlic, tomato ketchup and loads of grated cheddar cheese.

I remember on the first day there, I made it a point to go on this quest for the best apple strudel on earth. I first heard of Susta Strudl in Samantha Brown’s Passport To Europe and have made it my mission to go find it if I ever I set foot in Prague. It’s located in the Zizkov area and we took a tram here and walked to this little homelike kiosk, simply relying on the directions that you see on the program’s forum posted by a guy called Father Orange. It was quite an adventure trying to find the place but it was bloody worth it! The strudel was delicious with a sweet sour taste and we got to watch from behind the window while the strudel man made our order.

One of my biggest regrets was not finding the time to visit the Kafka Museum which is located on the bank of the Vltava River.  But we did go to the Lobkowicz Palace Museum, located within the vicinity of Prague Castle and saw some of Beethoven‘s precious pieces.  They were celebrating Beethoven’s 237th birthday when we came, so, there were cakes and memorabilia displayed on the table near the entrance when we stepped inside.

I must say that our trip to Prague was one of the best holidays ever and I would go back there in a heartbeat. Hopefully soon. But in the meantime, we’ll just make do with the photos below.

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