My Awesome Weekend In Prague

I’ve wanted to visit Prague for over a decade, ever since I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being in my early twenties. The book also has significance in my relationship with my husband, too. On our first date I asked him his favorite book and he said, “Unbearable Lightness of Being,” and I was like, “HOLY SHIT ME TOO!” Then I practically forced him to marry me. And LOOK! I bought the book in it’s original Czech while in Prague. Isn’t it beautiful? Can’t read it but it totally looks badass on my bookshelf. Aren’t books sexy?

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being in Czech. Yes, please. #Prague #travel

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I’ve stalked blogs, read travel guides, and spent a weird amount of hours googling photos of the city so it’s weird that it took me so long to get there. Life sometimes gets in the way of travel. However, the wait was totally worth it because this city, folks, is the stuff dreams are made of. If Dracula and Hemingway made a baby, the baby would be Prague and it would  be gloriously handsome and smart. Honestly, even our drive through the Czech Republic was stunning. The landscape is just so green, speckled with wildflowers and there’s so much space. And little forests, there were a lot of really vibrant patches of trees. This was right outside of a truck stop where people were peeing outside a lot.

Outside of #Prague in Czech Republic

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As soon as we arrived to our apartment, that we booked on FlipKey,  I was in love. Our apartment was right in Old Town Square in the city center of old town and awesome! Tip for parking in Prague if you drive: You cannot park on the street, ever, not even for five minutes. Park in a private garage, and they will make you pay up front in cash. Also, if you plan to drive throughout Europe, don’t rent a car in Amsterdam through Europcar, they won’t allow you to take their cars into eastern Europe.

This is right outside the apartment. Can I get an amen? Can I also add that I love using Flipkey because sometimes it’s just awesome to have an apartment when traveling and they are amazing to work with.  flipkey rentals

Right next to my apartment. Bam! How cool is that? Found this perfect location and gorgeous apartment on @Flipkey.

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The beautiful architecture of #Prague is a constant surprise.

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TO DO IN PRAGUE:

As per usual, Francesco and I mostly just wandered around looking for fun things to do and it wasn’t difficult to stumble upon things. I had a lot of help from some really great locals, too, you guys gave me great recommendations. We both love different things about the city, Francesco is really into architecture and I like to stalk people. I love people watching and Prague was definitely the place to do it. The interactions between the little shops and the massive groups of tourists were fun. The shop workers would just start laughing really hard when things got weird which I liked. Nobody was mean, just bemused by it all. We found this place that makes homemade cookies with Maka (poppy seeds). I went everyday because it was delicious. The women didn’t speak any English but they were kind enough to try and teach us some Czech and one of them giggled with delight every time we repeated the Czech word back to her. She loved her language, but not in a “Asshole tourist learn my language or die,” way, she just thought we might want to know and she was thrilled to teach us. MAKA!

Maca (poppy seed) cookies in #Prague. We ate three billion cookies from here.

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Old Town Prague is incredibly walkable. We walked from one end of town to the other multiples times over and saw really cool stuff without even trying. Aside from the architecture, there are wonderful statues and massive art instillations all around. Markets with the brightest fruits and little trinkets. And weird posters.

Pretty in #Prague

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Franz Kafka #Prague at first I thought he had a huge vagina.

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Penis. In #Prague

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I have to admit that there were more tourists than I expected but most of them were clustered together in the Old Town Square watching all of the street performers do really cool things like play music, blow bubbles for children, or do theatrical performances.

On our second day walking around we also found this sex machine museum that also looked kind of like a torture chamber depending on your flexibility.

#Prague sex machine museum. Ooh la la.

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Sex Machine Museum because #Prague. It wasn't amazing but it was an interesting (weird) 15 minutes.

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We went to the castle, which is the largest castle in the world (18 acres!) and wandered around for a few hours. It’s easily within walking distance from the city center and the walk was actually nice and I felt really safe in Prague (with the one exception being near the train station, that area felt crazy sketchy). The architecture is absolutely breathtaking. The only thing I didn’t like about the castle is that you need to have cash, and everything costs money (like seeing different sections of the castle). But honestly, it’s worth it. And the views from the castle are spectacular. Tip: Don’t pay to eat in the cafes etc with a “scenic view.” When you’re headed out of the castle and walking down you’ll come across a little off side area that sales food and there’s a vineyard. Absolutely stunning. Also, I bought little wooden hand carved egg cups. You know, those super weird mini cups that you put a hard-boiled egg in to eat it with a spoon? No, I don’t know how to do it but after watching everyone do it in Munich I’m determined to become a professional. Francesco was not very excited about my purchase and kept groaning because he clearly hates fun. Or he’s jealous because I’m going to seem super refined, like a Queen and he’s intimidated by all the egg cup parties I’ll have. This reminds me that I need to find YouTube videos for How To Use Egg Cups.

#Prague

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Cathedral at the castle in #Prague

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#Prague today is overcast. The architecture seems to be only highlighted by it.

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This was me in Prague, so excited to finally be there, photobombing Francesco because I was telling him a story and he wasn’t listening. BAM. I’m all up in the camera.

Francesco wasn't paying attention to me. So i photobombed his castle pics. #Prague castle

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And, of course, there’s this guy who I saw EVERYWHERE in Prague when he wasn’t performing.

Sing it, buddy. #Prague

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We found two exceptionally cool bars in Prague and I’d recommend going if you get a chance. We went to Hemingway’s where I tried ABSINTH for the first time. I felt like a proper writer, very fancy, and also unstable. Hemingway’s is like being in a scene from Mad Men, it’s organized debauchery, and has a hilarious list of rules that made me giggle, for example, “No talking with people you don’t know, no swearing, etc.,” in a bar that serves a fair amount of crack liquor. Also? I don’t think they enforced the rules or my ass would have been tossed after my first few sentences. They played jazz and international music, the bar was dim lit, charming, and elegant. And LOOK AT MY ABSINTH! It tasted like Fernett. Like licorice. That big glass decanter thing is full of purified ice water. They put the absinth in the glass and drip the cold water into it slowly until the liquor swirls a little cloudy. If you like it sweet they put a slitted spoon with a sugar cube over the glass to sweeten it up. Or, if you want to be like the actual Hemingway, you can order your asbinth with prosecco or champagne.

Absinth kind of night in #Prague at Hemingway

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Drinking Absinth at the Hemingway bar in #Prague

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For a really artistic cocktail and gourmet tapas, head over to Bonvivants. I’ve never been to a place that was more magical and weird. I felt like we stepped back in time to the twenties. The owners, servers, bartenders, chefs trio do it all and they’re bloody good at it. And they serve really artistic cocktails like this delicious smoky thing served in a tin can with a spaghetti noodle straw. They also refer to everyone as “madam” and “sir,” and the tapas were delicious. Tip: Order everything on the menu. Portions are tiny but delicious.

Cocktail in a bag. Classy hobo (because the bartender gets me). Bonvivant #Prague

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Something that I really loved about Prague was the really interesting mix of old and new. The old wood and decor of a lot of the restaurants, bars, even bookstore felt like being tossed back in time. The locals seemed friendly but not overly cheerful like some cultures. I definitely noticed a lot of alternative types, rock and roll guys, men in leather pants, and all that fun stuff. Overall the energy was calm but also kind of dark in a romantic kind of way. The city at night is very romantic. The gold highlights on the buildings glimmer in the moonlight but a lot of the buildings in general are darker so it’s a bit eery too. It reminded me of a vampire film in a good way.

PLACES TO EAT IN PRAGUE:

The food in Prague was diverse and delicious which shouldn’t be a surprise since it was the first country in the post communist eastern bloc to get a Michelin Star. Go Prague!. You’ll find everything from typical Czech food to Italian and Japanese. We were warned about the Czech restaurants in any touristy locations with the exception of one because the touristy czech food is often “terrible,” and “expensive.”

Someone recommended Mincovna which IS in a touristy location but it’s new and most of the people inside eating were speaking Czech. The menu is traditional with a bit of a twist and the food was good.

Last day in #Prague. Having lunch at Mincovna and heading back to #Munich to fly home.

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Lunch @Mincovna in #Prague. Pickled cheese and pretzel. I had a ginger lemonade. It wasn't absinthe but I'll live.

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A few of you badass readers  also recommended some great places like Lokal which we tried and really liked mostly because it was so lively. I felt like I was eating in the mess hall in Harry Potter. It was a bit touristy but there were also Czech people inside having a beer. It’s communal seating and the waitresses do not fuck around. Ours told us, “No, you can’t have that,” when I ordered something off of the menu that she deemed “not as good today as usual.” It was hilarious.

Mistral Cafe was a great place for lunch. It wasn’t typical Czech but the food was delicious and they had great coffee.

Great place for lunch in #Prague. I had the tomato soup aaaaand salad. So good.

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Grab a Plzen beer from Tankovna for “unpasteurized, unfiltered, all yummy goodness.” Thanks again for the suggestion Paul! You’re the best!

La Bottega Bistroteka on Dlouha 39. Great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Had the conssume and it was badass.

Palffy Palac located at 14 Valdstejnska street for modern Czech cuisine (a top restaurant in the city).

DISH Rimska 29, according to the Wall Street Journal one of the best lunch places in Europe.

CLUBS FOR DANCING AND SHAKING THAT ASS

Magnum: New with diverse music. Stefanikova 25

YES Club: French managed, electronic music. Skretova 1

Club 80’s: An 80’s club covered in glitter and awesome. V Kolkovne 6

Mecca: Prague’s largest nightclub, often has big name DJ’s. U Pruhonu 6

U Maleho Glena: Cafe and restaurant upstairs, tiny live music downstairs. Karmelitska 23

All in all, Prague was an beautiful city with so much to see and do. I’d definitely recommend going if you get the chance, and spending at least four days exploring the city. Do the tours, see the castle, dine, and try some absinth at Hemingway’s.  And, if you’re feeling really bold you can buy some too. We bought ours from the Absintherie. Wander the streets, a little buzzed, absorbing the moonlight and the taking in the romance of a country with so much history and a city that’s seen it all from monarchy to totalitarianism. Hold someone’s hand and stuff your face with some Maka.

Travel To Vienna And Bratislava

We spent most of May 2015 in Europe traveling around by car that we rented from Europcar. We flew into Munich, drove to Salzburg, Wolfgang, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Prague. It was an epic vacation and so, so beautiful. The drives were fairly short. I’ve broken up the trip into multiple blog posts because there was simply too much to put into one large one. So, viola! Here is Vienna and Bratislava.

VIENNA (or WIEN ).

WHAT TO DO IN VIENNA:

In Vienna, Francesco had to work so I spent most of my days exploring the city and doing touristy things. It was the first time I’ve ever done the whole “Hop On, Hop Off,” bus thing and as much as I feel ancient in admitting it, it was awesome! For those of you who have never done it, you basically buy a ticket from some little kiosk around the city or in participating stores, hop on the bus (ideally sit on top because down below sucks) and learn via headphones about the city. You can get off the bus at any of their many stops to walk around and hop back on whenever you want. I learned all kinds of crazy things about Vienna that I would have NEVER learned without the tour.  Like that Maximillian I from Vienna was the emperor of Mexico. WTF!? Also, when Germany annexed Austria the loudest protest against the annexation came from Mexico. Who knew? Probably everyone, except for me. The bus went all over Vienna and through the Jewish Quarter where I got off to eat some delicious food. Definitely do the bus!

Vienna

#Vienna Austria. Parliament building.

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Vienna

#Vienna inner city center near the Spanish Riding School.

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After the bus I headed to the Belvedere Museum to see some Klimpt work. He’s one of my favorite artists so it was important that I stand in front of The Kiss and drool while a group of 17,000 Chinese tourists poked me with their selfie sticks.

Vienna

Vienna Museum

The Kiss by Klimpt

I strolled around the first district, as recommended by my super cool friend and reader Scott!

Among Scott’s recommendations:

Visit Prater, a huge park with a carnival. This was fun! It would have been great for a picnic but it was cold.

Yppenplatz area and Brunnenmarkt for a huge a huge outdoor food market (as Scott pointed out, lots of Yugoslavian and Turkish stuff). Outdoor dining was pretty cute except it was freezing while we were there.

Naschmarkt on a Saturday. There were tons of places to eat. I was told to sit outside and “drink sparkling wine and eat oysters in the morning” but I didn’t get a chance to do that. Next time! There was also a flea market at the end but I didn’t get a chance to go that far.

PLACES TO EAT IN VIENNA:

I am lucky enough to have readers with endless recommendations to get me through my trips. Scott P., you were basically my Vienna tour guide so I can’t thank you enough! Here are some of his excellent local recommendations along with some places that I found and loved.

  • Grab a Frankfurter at this little stand on Graben street across from the Stefanel store. I was weirdly into the metal dong that they stab the bread with to make a hole for the hot dogs. I probably seemed like a giant perv just standing there staring at it.

Vienna Street Food

The best food I ate in #Vienna. Plachuttas Gasthaus Zur Oper. I could live on the asparagus soup.

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#Vienna lunch at the Plachuttas Gasthaus Zur Oper.

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Coffee suggestions from Scott included: Kaffeemodul, kaffeefabrik, Balthasar Kaffee Bar, POC “People On Caffeine”, Caffe Couture, Kaffee Von Sascha.

BRATISLAVA

In Vienna we were staying with some friends. One of them owns the company EAT (if you’re into luxury audio, check it out. Her turntables are the jam, and so are her husband’s at PROJECT) and is originally from Slovakia so she recommended we spend a day in Bratislava. Post-communist architecture and adventure? Fuck yes! I prepared for our day trip in the car via my IPhone.

Bratislava Vocab

I had never read anything about the city (or the country) so I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet locals, the modern architecture alongside remnants of the Soviet Union. Old town was really charming and full of British tourists who were having a glorious time. And of course, there’s this place, the most sexist place in Bratislava.

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We ate at the Slovak Hause which I would not consider to be fine dining or even good but it was affordable and they had a nice outdoor area in the Old Town. And who could turn down a restaurant with a menu like this? Nobody, that’s who.

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I tried Poppy gelato because the girl working at this particular gelateria, Koun, said that her people “absolutely adore Poppy seeds!” It tasted like cold. But it was a cute place and the locals seemed to love it.

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This is me at the castle with a panoramic view of Bratislava. If you look in the distance you’ll see the former Soviet architecture. Really interesting place!

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My day in #Slovakia #Bratislava

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And? The nightlife is insane! The city seemed mostly empty until after dinner where people flooded the streets. By midnight the dance clubs swell, the restaurants dim their lights and turn on the strobes (no kidding) and normal looking cafe’s suddenly have strippers on the bars. It didn’t take long to figure out what the british guys were so excited about. We went dancing at a few different places and I noticed that the guys were very respectful. They’d saunter up and as soon as you shook your head “no,” they’d back away and not bother you again. Aces.

I also did some fun shopping and bought a ton of stuff from this store, In Vivo, that I’m obsessed with. The owners make everything by hand and their shit is weird and cool and sooooo affordable.

Bratislava VIVO

Something else that I found really surprising was the coffee. The coffee was amazing! Top five coffees I’ve ever had in my life. And the cafe’s have this sort of old world, depressed but ambitious writerly feeling to them. My kind of place.

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For videos of my journeys you can check out my Youtube page. Slowly but surely I’m getting the videos uploaded for little pieces of these awesome place. Also, while you’re there, check out the new COSI video we just did on How To Be A Good Tourist In Italy!