About a month after we’d started dating, James went on a stag do with his friends to Prague and told me that it was beautiful and he promised to take me there to experience it over Christmas.
And he didn’t break his promise.
We landed in Prague in the early afternoon, took a 45 minute bus and train ride to our lovely Airbnb nestled amongst the fruit and art market in the heart of Prague.
Our friendly host, Robert, gave us a quick tour of the attic studio before we dropped off our things and set off to explore!
James told me that once we turned the corner into the Old Town Square, it would be like a fairy tale…
Ticking the Astronomical Clock off my bucket list!
After eyeing up all the delicious food at the Christmas Market, we decided to head off in search of something more substantial for lunch, preferably in a place where we could defrost.
Trdelniks, I’ll be coming back for you!
We liked the traditional, cosy look of U Tri Ruzi so decided to make it our defrosting and refuelling station.
James went for the duck which was yum!
I went for the ribs, potato and coleslaw/pickled cabbage (I can’t remember exactly what the latter was but it was my favourite part of the dish).
By the time that we’d finished our late lunch, it had grown dark and the Christmas Market looked even more magical at night!
This was the largest Christmas tree that I’d ever seen and at approximately 23 metres, it also happens to be the tallest in recent years.
The Prague Christmas Tree is selected from a choice of over 20 different options and none of them are from a public forest. The tree this year came from a private estate close to Liberac, about an hour’s drive north of Prague. It is over 60 years old and won its pride of place due to getting too big for its location close to a house. As it was growing alone, it had both attractive and almost symmetrical foliage.
It was a surprise to find that oysters were traditional at Christmas in Prague so of course I got some…
I never used to like them but I love them now!
James’ first ever whole raw oyster.
I took a video of this experience and he looks like he’s about to throw up in the process but eventually said that he did enjoy it.
However, it doesn’t sound like it’ll be making its way into his list of Top 10 Favourite Foods anytime soon…
Finally, I got my hands on a trdelnik which according to Wikipedia is: “a kind of spit cake. It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut mix.”
I assumed that it was going to be warm and light, like a fresh doughnut, but it was rock hard and cold.
My face changed very soon after these photos were taken.
Nevertheless, I was still glad to have tried it.
Even if it did taste like disappointment in food form.
On our first full day in Prague, James and I started the day with a couple of croissants and hot drinks at a local café.
We had another wander around the magical Christmas Markets…
…and I horsed around with my new pals.
Walking through the town centre to get to Charles Bridge.
Please enjoy this photo of James looking really cold.
Many religious statues line the bridge.
Getting a couple of cheeky snaps for the Gram.
On the other side of the bridge was Malá Strana, also known as Lesser Town, also known as one of my favourite parts of Prague.
The area was filled with little shops and so many restaurants that looked just delightful.
We had lunch at another cosy eatery: Restaurant U Glaubicu.
James had the tasty goulash served in a bread roll and I went for the beef, vegetable and noodle soup to fuel up for the afternoon.
Our next stop was Prague Castle and on the way, we passed lots of cute signs.
We arrived just in time to watch the changing of the guards.
In we go…
The castle is huge and absolutely stunning!
The Christmas Market stalls by the castle were gorgeous.
We warmed up with some Hot Apple Juice (for me) and Mulled Wine (for James)…
…and I also bought my first ever beret to keep my head warm as I’d forgotten to take my bobble hat.
This is my aspiring French artist look:
Views on the way back down into town.
We passed a gingerbread shop where they were baking them fresh on the premises and I wish that this was a scratch and sniff blog because it smelt SO BLOODY GOOD.
Probably the highlight of James’ trip judging by the look on his face!
As it grew dark and even colder as the sun set, we decided to check out the Gallery of Art where they had exhibitions on Warhol, Mucha and Dali.
We started on the top floor with Andy Warhol, which was interesting as it portrayed a lot of information about his family and background, as well as his more well-known artwork.
James having the time of his life in the disco room.
Mucha’s artwork is absolutely beautiful.
I wasn’t that keen on Dali’s offerings but I did like this painting entitled:
Dream, inspired by a flying bee around a pomegranate, a second before waking up (1944).
On Saturday, we started the day by murdering a gingerbread woman.
She was delicious.
James mentioned that he remembered passing a café that he’d wanted to check out when he was previously in Prague so we set off in search of Coffee and Riot.
Besides a customer, pup and a friendly waitress (who I thought sounded like J Law), we had the place to ourselves which I found surprisingly peaceful on a Saturday morning.
It was a lovely little café that served some excellent quiche and mint tea.
For lunch, I’d read good things about a Vietnamese restaurant in Holesovice called Trang An.
There are a lot of Vietnamese restaurants in Prague as the Vietnamese are the largest immigrant community there.
Fun fact: Vietnamese immigrants began settling in Czechoslovakia during the Communist period, when they were invited as guest workers by the Czechoslovak government. Following the collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia, many Vietnamese decided to remain in the country rather than return home.
We took the tram to Holesovice and walked down this dodgy looking outlet area…
For some reason, I’d gotten the impression that it was going to be a little hole in the wall place but it was a surprisingly large restaurant, which was actually great as it meant that we could eat straight away!
James and I both had the Beef Pho, Spring Rolls (delicious) and Tom Yum Soup (average).
The Pho was good but the beef was overcooked for me (I like it a little raw) and they didn’t offer any lime or fresh chilies which I felt let down the flavour a little.
But overall, I’d still recommend a visit!
Our next stop was Letna Park, which I’m sure would have been beautiful in the summertime but it was a bit barren during Winter.
The views from the top of the hill were pretty cool though!
We walked back down to Josefov where we wandered around the Jewish Quarter.
As evening came, we took one last look around Mala Strana.
Products include gorgeous notebooks, magnets, tote bags, mugs and more.
Of course I couldn’t leave without a postcard!
After recharging with a hot drink and a sit down in Mcdonalds (very cultural, I know), we headed back to the Old Town for some delicious Egg Waffles and a rest back at the flat before dinner.
Our final dinner in Prague was enjoyed at Pizza by Giovanni, just round the corner from our accommodation.
James went for a Hawaiian Pizza whereas I fulfilled my Czech fantasies of finally getting my hands on a pork knuckle!
I realise it’s not the most photogenic dish but it was delicious.
I’d been a bit worried about it being a big chunk of dry meat but for lack of a better word, it was perfectly moist (I’m sorry).
The sauerkraut also accompanied it perfectly!
We shared a yummy tiramisu for dessert but devoured it before I even thought about taking a snap.
We caught the 11.10 flight back to England in the morning and were back by the early afternoon.
A huge thank you to James for helping me to Czech Prague off my bucket list!