The City of Spires

One of the goals and aspirations with my Europe move, besides being with the love of my life, was to be able to travel to as many places as I could financially and safely. I’m pretty lucky so far because, since December 2015, I have been able to visit 8 countries within the EU. This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Prague, Czech Republic.

To be honest, my history in the Czech Republic is not up to par and had to do some research to discover that it is part of the European Union and neighbors Slovakia, Germany, Poland, and Austria. Their national language is Czech and their currency is Czech koruna.

Everyone I talk to about travel says to visit Prague. It’s old and new with beautiful architecture, riverside, and an economically fun party city. Lucky for me my friend from the states, Kaitlin, whose brother lives in Prague, was flying in with family to run the Prague Marathon this past Sunday. The opportunity to visit and hit two birds with one stone was a no brainer.

Julien and I found a direct one hour flight from Luxembourg on Friday afternoon with LuxAir to Vlaclav Havel airport in Prague (about 30 minutes outside the center of the city). We ordered a car service to drop us off directly at our Airbnb in the New Town near the Mosaic House and Dancing House. We walked around a bit to get used to our surroundings and discovered most sights were within 20-30 minutes walk and with fantastic temps and clear skies, we enjoyed the fact that this was very much a walking city.

While walking around to find someplace to have traditional Czech food for dinner we came upon a cool, rotating, mirror sculpture of Franz Kafka head (a german-language writer well known in the 20th century). We then had dinner at the cute and quaint restaurant Narodni Nalevna. Big beers, big ribs and steak, Tiramisu and Absinthe to finish all for about $27 for the both of us. YES, this I can handle.

We walked a bit more after dinner and found ourselves in the midst of a happening Friday evening at Vaclavaske Namesti. Cool pedestrian strip full of casinos, girls and restaurants that were alive with several stag parties. The end of the street leads to the Narodni Museum. We made a loop and decided to have a few drinks back at the apartment.

Absinthe is 90-148 US proof and is in fact banned in the US and in much of Europe. Said to have hallucinogen effects and was drank by many writers and artists like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Byron, just to name a few. We figured we would be amongst creative geniuses and grabbed a bottle to sip and ponder on our balcony at our apartment and called it a night.

Saturday morning, we walked to Old Town and enjoyed a breakfast sandwich and ginger tea and Irish coffees at Cafe Ebel. Small but crafty cafe. Very busy on a Saturday morning but we were able to find seating for two. Enjoyed a couple breakfast sandwiches with delicious mango chutney. We finished off brunch with a big piece of carrot cake. Delicious but significantly slow due to only two workers. We then walked into Old Town Square and saw the Old Town Hall, Prague Orloj Medieval Astronomical Clock, Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn, Jan Hus Memorial, and the Church of St Nicholas. We walked through the Powder Tower and met our friends staying at the Hotel Paris. We made our way to a food and beer festival along the river and was able to see the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and Petrin Lookout Tower from afar while doing a riverboat and beer garden hopping tour until dinner. I can’t remember where we ended up, yes because of beers, but had pasta with our friend to carbo-load up for the 10,000 person marathon the next day.

Sunday we made our way towards the Dancing House to watch my friend make her way through the marathon at the 24-25k point. It really was a beautiful day for spectating, but like Paris, a little too warm for the race. But she did great and was happy to see us. Unfortunately, the only flight back to Lux was early afternoon so we didn’t get to see her finish but I’m happy to report that she did complete it! Before we left I had one of the best pizzas I can honestly say I’ve had since being in Europe, and maybe in my life (except for Chicago deep dish) at Fresco Vento. If you go, get the Borino.

I hope to make it back again. It’s a gorgeous city. And next time we will hit up the beer spa. My bad for finding out too late. Word of advice, book in advance. Now it’s back to Metz and back to work and back to working out and getting rid of my weekend beer belly. Cheers!

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