Lifestyle Journal.

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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Prague, One City, Two Landscapes

by T W Coombs

Three nights in Prague is about the right amount of time, the city is like many metropolitan landscapes, busy, shops, high buildings, and cars.  But Prague has two sides.

It has become over the last few years the place to go in Europe, it is a tourist magnet, drawing in everyone and so it should.  

It is a city I think everyone should visit, if you are happy to walk and get
Alley through to Old Town
lost (often) then this is the city for you.  If you want shopping and hustle and bustle then the new parts of the city are for you, bars, clubs situated close to Wenceslas Square, which is like a short Oxford street in London.  But when you walk through what can only be described as Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter franchise you hit what my mind told me Prague looked like, Old Town is just amazing.


The Old Town Square  is the showpiece of the city, it is surrounded by amazing Baroque buildings which house restaurants, cafes, hotels and in the centre (roughly) is the old Town Hall with the famous astronomical clock.  The clock brings in an hourly crowd of tourists for the show it puts on.  And if
you get yourself a ticket and head up the clock tower, you get what is just some breathtaking views.  There is some queuing involved, but if you buy your ticket online in advance you can skip, we just queued with everyone else, but is worth it.

Clock crowd in Old Town Sq.
When in Prague you have to do the main attractions, yes you are following the crowds around but this is no difference to anything worth seeing.  So you have the Charles Bridge with its statues and ornate arches at either end.  The bridge is full of tourist trap stalls but they don’t hassle you, and mind you don’t step on any homeless, they all sit in a certain posture on the ground, silent begging, I believe this is so they don’t get moved on, but they are everywhere you will visit, even high up on the hill when you head to Prague Castle.

Cafe Imperial
With all the walking you can do on a visit to the city, there are trams and a metro system but I never used them, you need refreshments.  Now over the three nights there was dinners, lunches and snacks but I want to recommend a couple of places.  Firstly for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even a coffee and a piece of cake you can not go wrong with Cafe Imperial.  Located at The Imperial Hotel this art-deco wonder of a cafe, is just a wonder to behold.  From the decor itself to the staff uniforms, to the service, the cocktails and the food (www.cafeimperial.cz).  One for dinner has to be the Asian Noodle bar Zebra (Melantrichova 5-Praha 1, www.zebranoodlebar.cz) which was a full well balanced menu and the quality was out of this world. 
There are quite a few noodle bars around but this one looked the nicest and the food quality matched, the service was also great.  One thing the Czechs know is service, and I love Asian food and I could have never left the restaurant.

I visited in mid September and the weather was in the 30 degree range for the whole time, but thankfully not humid so becomes comfortable.  For the first time I used AirBNB to find somewhere for myself and partner too stay, and we got a modern studio apartment a few minutes from Wenceslas Square for approx eighty pound a night, which is much cheaper than some of the hotels we previously looked at.  You also find you have a lot more freedom.

Three nights was a good amount of time to see the main sites, we didn’t venture to the Jewish quarter or out into the parks and woodland areas and stayed very central.

If you haven’t been then go, and if you find winter more appealing they have great Christmas markets and when snow comes they city can looks amazing (I was told).  For a good guide book I would recommend Rough Guides Pocket book of Prague, which has a 2016 edition out and you will need the map as the city is a bit all over the place with hundreds of ways to get very lost.

Check out AirBNB at www.airbnb.com, flights daily to Prague and various airlines.

Na zdravi Prague.

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