19. Domažlicka Jizba, located on Strossmayerovo Namesti, is a smokey pub full of grouchy looking old men and guys with ponytails watching football matches. Not really my key demographic, but I love their fried mushrooms and their potato pancakes with "Balkan Meat Mix" (read: Sloppy Joes with salty cheese), and in the summer their big covered outside dining area is a great place to grab a Pilsner, especially as it's steps from our front door (though not for long!). Are you sensing the trend here, that most of my favorite places are located outside, in Letna, and have adult beverages? Hmmm...
20. I used to teach in at the Budejovicka metro stop a few mornings a week, and while I abhor morning classes, especially those that are so far away, there was one bright spot. On the floor of the shopping center with the Billa is a little bakery, and they make Anglicky Rohlik. Big deal, English roll, so what? So what? These were the perfect little breakfast bite - soft chewy dough with sharp cheese and bacon. Yum. Such a good way to start the day (though not enough to make me go over there now that I don't have to).
21. Lots of guidebooks say to get up early and hit Charles Bridge at sunrise. Mehhhhhh, why? Sure, there aren't approximately 275 people waiting to all rub the same statue and you won't be doing the awkward dance of a person trying not to be in everyone else's vacation photos, but really. This is the city of beer! Surely if you're touristing here, you've spent the evening out imbibing some of the Czech Republic's famous brews, or washing down your dumplings with a healthy dose or two of Slivovice. So sleep in, enjoy your morning (Anglicky rohlik perhaps?) and save the bridge and the Castle for late at night. The castle complex is open until 11pm (midnight April through October) and is about a thousand times more romantic and beautiful when you aren't fighting school groups to get around, and a nice stroll through Malostranska and across the bridge is a great way to finish off a day of sightseeing. Much, much better in my book.
22. This one is going to sound pretty stupid, but one thing that I really love about Prague is the cinemas here. Having grown up going to a cinema older than I was (and not in a cute, kitschy, retro way... in a run-down, sticky, unimpressive sort of way), it is so nice going to new ones. The seats are huge, there's tons of leg room, everything's clean and comfy, and also, I really enjoy the experience of watching movies with Czech subtitles. Not only is it a good way to start recognizing language, but it's also really funny to see who picks up on jokes first, those reading or those listening. (Unless you're me, in which case you just get the joke last.)
23. Head down from the Vltavska metro stop a bit and you will hit the Holešovice markets (also known to many by a horrendously outdated and racist knickname). The markets are nothing special - junk mostly, with promises of Louis Vuitton and Prada whispered as you walk by, but in the markets you can also find the Farm Shop. Peej and I discovered this last year when we were on our vegetarian kick (a solid week, thank you very much) and thank goodness. The produce here is better, there's a much greater selection that what you'll find in your local Billa/Albert/Potraviny, and the prices are good. I like the mushroom lady. While I'm sure that's not actually her name, who cares, Portobellos! You can also pick up cheeses, spices, flowers, honey and all types of other farmy goodness. So for anyone who's ever stared at an orange tomato or dug through entire boxes of apples looking for a fresh one, here is your next stop.
25. Who doesn't love a few festive good vibes? (Okay, aside from Scrooge) One of the things I love about this city is the number of markets that pop up around holidays and seasons to celebrate - Christmas, Easter, Burčak, whatever. Whether it's hot wine they're selling, or birch sticks to whip the women, the markets create that Euro cultural flair that's half the reason we came here in the first place. They're just charming.
26. The dogs! Everywhere! This city is dog mad! In the trams, in the pubs, in the parks, on the metro, coming up to say hello in the wine bar, they're everywhere. And so well behaved. Makes me miss Tuck, though I feel he's no where near well-behaved enough for these Prague pooches. (Although I see he's
27. The Vltava. Having a river smack dab in the middle of your city is pretty darn cool. In the winter you can judge just how freezing it's gotten by how much ice is forming, and wince in pain as you watch the masochistic old men still dive in anyway, and in the summer you can grab a beer at one of the many riverside beer gardens or spend an afternoon floating around in a paddleboat and taking in the city from a different perspective. A little further afield gives you a great rafting trip down the river through the darling Cesky Krumlov. And if there was no Vltava, there'd be no Charles Bridge, and then where would all the tourists go?!?!
28. Hands down, the best thing about this city are the people in it. Prague is a young, vibrant and eclectic city that manages to be full of both history and rather modern at the same time. Its population reflects that. With the odd exception here and there, everyone I've met has been helpful, friendly and interesting, whether Czech or expat. So the thing about Prague that I love the most are my nearest and dearest in it.
Phew. Reeeeeeally must try to stop leaving half a month's worth of posts to bang out in one day.
Now, back to packing...