Sunday, February 17, 2013

You gotta give a little love

10. There are lots of spots in Prague that are designated expat hangouts. There are also lots and lots of pretentious expats who will vilify these places, spouting off lines such as "You'll never get a true Prague experience if you only hang out with other Americans," or "Well I only go to truly Czech places because I like to immerse myself in the culture."  Well, bravo for you. I like to go to places where I can get a damn good cheeseburger. Fraktal's one of them. It's super close, modestly priced and has a friendly staff. And even though their menu changes have taken my beloved Fraktal BLT and turned it into something no where near as good (bring back the English bacon!!!), there are still lots of yummy new things, so one can't get too mad. 

11. I will let you in on a little secret... Czech is a harrrrrrrrd language to learn. Well, I think. I haven't exactly been the most dedicated of students (my textbooks are gathering dust in the living room), and my measly teaching salary means I can't really afford classes (and my charming employers do nic to help us out with this, despite being a language school). A language swap would be fantastic, but unfortunately, once I get past ordering I'm pretty much out of vocabulary, so it wouldn't be very exciting for them. However, Shan introduced me to a Prague secret - cheapy drop in Czech class. Offered by the Centre for the Integration of Foreigners, you can "czech" out a drop in class for 50-Kc on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 - 7:30pm at the library at the Municipal Library (find out more here) where two instructors will drag you right into vocab, basic grammar structures and all types of useful stuff. It was a lot of fun, albeit a tad confusing in the beginning, and a great way to meet other people from all over who've also somehow wound up in our little corner of the world. Last week's lesson was on apartments and furniture, and I had an excellent time at IKEA on Tuesday walking around labeling things (although Donut was probably rather embarrassed). Plus, as an added bonus you can check out the tower of books at the library, which is pretty effin' cool.
12. Madal Bal is a great little stop for a quick pick-me-up. It's a tiny little shop packed full of gifts and candles and oils but most importantly for me, cheapy cheapy canvases. Right across the street, I can pop in whenever I feel the urge to recreate a Pinterest find without having to worry about the seriousness of an actual art shop (though I will say that for brushes, a legit art store is a much better bet). Our apartment is lovingly decorated with our creations a la Madal Bal.

13. Prague is certainly good for the views. We've already talked about the vineyards in the Botanical Gardens, but another favorite spot for sipping is definitely the Metronome. The Metronome is massive and takes up the spot where a giant Stalin statue stood (read more about it here). It's completely functional, and perched high enough up so that you can take in views of the east side of the city. Pick up some wine from your favorite local vinoteka, hike up there and grab a spot among everyone else doing the same. Enjoy!

14. One of my favorite ways to wrap up a weekend is the Sunday night movie at the Globe Bookstore and Cafe. A couple beers, a good meal, and a nice flick. Last weekend we watched Breakfast at Tiffany's, but they play movies from all different countries and genres. In March they'll be running a New Wave Czech Film Festival featuring movies from the '60's that start taking a look at the ridiculousness of Communism. 

15. What is it about the novelty of beer tap that we love? Do we all have some inner part of us longing to be bartenders? Must be, because The Pub does pretty good business and I'm inclined to say it's largely due to the beer taps on each table. With locations around the city, the rest of the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria, The Pub is one big beer drinking competition, where each table and pub competes against the others in a battle to down the most of the Czech's beloved Pilsner. We love bringing our visitors here, though we have yet to win... challenge?

16. All good Sundays should start with brunch, obvi. And any decent brunch should clearly include a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa, and lots and lots of good coffee. Bohemia Bagel can do that for you. They've got an extensive brunch menu, and yummy burgers (No. 3 on Brewsta's annual roundup of Prague's Best Burgers). What a wonderful way to start the day.

17. Any true list of my favorite things in Prague would be completely wrong if I failed to include the Letna Beer Gardens. Lots of people absolutely love Riegrovy Sady, but I think it's got nothing on Letna. It is the perfect place to go after work in the summer for a few drinks with friends. Tons of picnic tables to sit at with great views of the city, lots of puppies to play with, a totally casual atmosphere, and every once in a while you'll get glimpses of a wedding taking place in Letenský Zámeček. Ahhhhh, please make it be summer already!

Me, Peej and Steph bundled up and starting the season as early as we can!

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