Prague, Czech Republic…the City of a Thousand Spires is the setting of a real-life fairytale with allusions to Mozart and Hemingway around every turn. This city, home to amazing food, many absintheries, and arguably the world’s best beer, is where I spent last weekend as I chose this destination as host to my final trip outside of Italy for the semester.
I arrived in Prague late afternoon on Saturday and after hearing so many great things about this city I was extremely excited! While I heard that the architecture was amazing I was more excited about the food than any other aspect of the weekend. If you haven’t heard, Prague is home to the now-famous “donut ice cream cone”. (If you haven’t heard, where HAVE you been?). The chimney cake, or in Czech “trdelnik”, is a popular street food all over Prague and it has recently become world-famous after some genius realized just how amazing it would be filled with ice cream and reinvented the treat’s entire allure. In a way I suppose it’s similar to fried dough…but better!
We arrived to our hostel from the airport by cab and were excited to realize, before we even stepped out of the car, that we could order trdelnik right next door! After checking in we of course ran next door to order these! When we researched the donut cones prior to leaving Italy we found a specific bakery that we wanted to go to for our ice cream cones, so here we opted for whipped cream and strawberries and this fresh, hot treat was amazing!!
Next we decided to just walk around a bit and head to the Old Town before figuring out where to get dinner.
After we felt that we had walked around enough to get an idea of the city we crossed back over the river and headed toward our hostel where we stopped for a bit while deciding where we were going to eat. Venturing back out into the cold rain we walked a bit down the street and found a restaurant that seemed promising, after all it’s been around since 1782. I ordered koleno, or pork knuckle, which is served on a cutting board and surely attracts the attention of diners around you!
After this we called it a night and went back to our hostel. The next morning we woke up and went to the Prague Castle, which sits atop a hill and has a wonderful view of the city. We purchased a ticket that allowed us to enter part of the castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Golden Lane, all situated atop this hill in what seems like its own tiny neighborhood.
Next, we returned to Old Town and went to the bakery that we had read about online. We got our ice cream cones (with Nutella and strawberries) and even though they were not as fresh as our first chimney cakes and were a mess to eat, they were delicious, even the ice cream was great!
We walked around some more and enjoyed the sun while it lasted. We found a few small food vendors in the Main Square and I tried the “Prague Ham” that was being smoked right in front of us. It was so good!
Next we went to the John Lennon wall, a now-famous wall in Prague that, despite being covered time and time again, has been painted throughout the years in Lennon-inspired graffiti.
After surviving the crowd surrounding this wall we returned to our hostel to get out of the cold and rest for a bit. For dinner we decided to go to one of Prague’s best microbreweries that dates back to the 14th century. Like I said, Prague arguably has the world’s best beer, and there are many microbreweries that brew their own craft beers and incorporate them into many of the foods at their onsite restaurants as well. Keep in mind that the Czech Republic is the country with the highest beer consumption per capita in the world, and they’re proud of it! Here, I ordered pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and it was delicious. We declared our meals here the best of our trip!
After dinner we returned to the hostel and on Monday morning we woke up to make our way to the Petrin lookout tower, which looks like a mini Eiffel Tower. This was quite the hike! However, after climbing up the hill to the tower, and then climbing the tower itself (only about 65 meters) the view was worth it. Luckily, when we went the weather ended up being great for the view but it did end up snowing when we were leaving the observation deck!!
After leaving the observation deck we spent some time in the cafe that was at the bottom while we waited for the snow to let up. Then, we got the day’s trdelnik, this time I ordered one with vanilla sauce and while it was amazing this one was extremely messy!
After eating our chimney cakes we crossed the river again and did our souvenir shopping before it was time to eat dinner. We went to a restaurant that was “medieval” and I ordered beef goulash with bohemian dumplings, which I had wanted to try before leaving Prague. I have to admit though that these particular dumplings were basically just bread.
The next morning was Tuesday and we left for the airport bright and early and flew through Munich on our way back to Florence. I arrived in good time to make it to my class where I had to give a presentation and hand in a paper. After being in school for only an hour I finally felt like my weekend came to an end and I had time to relax a bit.
I have one more full week of school left and I will officially be finished with my Junior year of college and more importantly packing to come back home!