It all started one morning, at 3:30AM to be exact. We took turns pushing each other out of bed, until one of us finally caved. We showered, skipped the coffee, and walked in what was still the dead of night for most, to the airport just down the street. Six hours later, we were in what I would soon learn is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Once we were picked up from the airport by a driver I arranged through the hotel, (Do this if your hotel offers it. It can save so much time and hassle.) we were on our way into the just recently dusted with snow city.
We dropped our bags in our room, took in the view from our window, and simultaneously agreed that we were famished. Luckily, I'd done a bit of research into must-eat restaurants and Pivovarsky Klub was just around the corner from out hotel.
The Czech Republic is known for its beer. There is no shortage of pubs or breweries, but this one was highly recommended on every travel show and blog that I perused.
They have the largest selection of beers in the country, so everyone is sure to find something. The staff are also extremely knowledgeable and more than happy to suggest a beer or five that will go with your meal.
I love goulash and this place does it scrumptiously. The food comes out quickly because the meat has already been stewing for hours. Dumplings are popular here and come with practically every meat dish. There are potato dumplings and bread dumplings. I prefer the potato, but both are heavy and filling, and the perfect vessel for soaking up that oh-so-tasty gravy. Tyler ordered a delicious plate of pork and sauerkraut.
If there's one thing I learned about Czech food, it's that the portions are VERY generous and you won't leave any restaurant or food stall hungry. We walked out onto the street full and excited to see more of the city.
As we wandered, we came upon a huge shopping center called, Palladium. It's massive and was irritatingly crowded when we popped in. I hadn't set foot in a Sephora in five months and Tyler really needed a new pair of boots that he'd been hunting for.
Palladium has many global brands and offers tax free, which means you can get money back from purchases over a certain amount, but if you live somewhere that already has these stores, there's really no need to visit it.
It was getting dark as we continued to the Old Town Square. We marveled at the different types of architecture, peeked into the different shops, relying solely on the hoards of tourists to guide us in the right direction.
After a few short minutes, emerged a square filled with people, live music, wooden huts, roasting meats, and a Christmas tree that lit up the entire space.
The first ham Tyler saw spinning on a spit, called to him like a long lost friend. We jumped into the line, waited patiently (cash only, btw), and ordered without thinking. We weren't even hungry, but how could you pass this up?
Before we knew it, we had a whopping plate of smoked ham, a sausage, a large bowl of cabbage, potato and sausage (I forgot the name), a side of bread (it came with it), and two cups of mulled wine. We couldn't help but laugh at ourselves.
Sadly, we couldn't finish everything, but it was so tasty and one of my favorite dining experiences. There's nothing like eating hot food, outside on a cold evening with music and Christmas lights all around.
We continued on, looking longingly at the other treats we just couldn't muster up the room to eat. More on these tomorrow ;)
There was traditional music playing which had drawn quite the crowd.
The Astronomical clock in the square is a major tourist attraction. Every hour, the small windows above the clock open and the apostles pop in and out. The neatest part is that this clock was installed in 1410 and shows the position of the sun and the moon, displays the month, and also manages to tell the time.
We closed the evening with tea and beer at U Supa, Pragues oldest brewery with a pub which was founded in the 15th century!
The food around us looked good and the live accordion musician singing traditional songs made it well worth the visit before we walked back to our hotel and clambered into bed for a long snooze.
The next morning began with espresso in bed and a lovely and filling breakfast at the hotel. I did a lot of research before deciding whether or not to include the breakfast in our bill, but it had great reviews and did not disappoint.
I really wanted to see the square in the light of the day and since it was on our way to our day's destination, we ventured in that direction.
The architecture in Prague is beyond words. The pale pinks and yellows remind me of drawings I've seen in the pages of fairy tales. The elaborate stonework and al fresco paintings are enough to keep your eyes occupied for hours.
Just look at the masterpiece below! The paintings on the side of that blue building aren't bad either ;)
Have you ever seen a more intricate door?
The square was nearly just as busy during the day.
We were making our way towards the Charles Bridge, but couldn't get there without meandering through the winding, cobblestone streets and corridors of the Old Town.
Check back in tomorrow for so much more of Prague and what was certainly our favorite part of the entire trip.