Na zdraví from Prague!

Welcome to the heart of Europe! It was quite a dramatic change of scenery coming from our time spent in the Mediterranean to arrive in Prague, but we were excited to change things up. One of the bigger differences we noticed after we flew into our final airport of the journey was the cost of goods and services. Everything became instantly cheaper compared to when we were in the port city cruise ship hotspots! The other thing we noticed: Prague is for beer. Looking forward to seeing what the Czech Republic had to offer, we hit the streets soon after checking into our downtown Airbnb.

Our Airbnb – already getting a glimpse of some cool architecture.

Day 1

Taking up a recommendation from our hosts, we traveled a short distance to find The Tavern. This was an American burger bar (which was a little disappointing), but it had a great vibe around it. We rather appreciated it for the endless list of Czech beers provided and quickly learned that nearly all Czech beers are light lagers/pilsners. This probably shouldn’t have alarmed us as the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. And with this consumption comes extremely low beer prices. I mean very low. They drink the stuff like it is water. Beer is at every meal. So, having any heavy-type beers wouldn’t be the smartest plan. We took a stroll through the Riegrovy Sady Park next and were greeted with at least a couple beer gardens. So, we said to each other why not, when in Prague- grabbing more beer and a seat while we watched some local soccer on a big outdoor projection screen.

Riegrovy Sady Park

The start of our Czech beer experience!

Found a beer garden in the park to watch soccer at!

Riegrovy Sady Park

The start of our Czech beer experience!

Found a beer garden in the park to watch soccer at!

Day 2

The next day we started off with a nuclear bunker and Communism tour through Prague Special Tours by Ivan Galik to get some sense of the history of Prague. The whole tour was pretty eye-opening, especially when the guide took us through the events of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. But the craziest part was going down into the abandoned bunker. They had old guns, ammo, world clocks, gas masks, hazard suits, and tons of propaganda posters just sitting down there. They even had classroom demonstrations of how to put your gas masks on and hide under your desk in the case of a bomb detonation. Definitely a different world than anything we’ve been used to!

The stark contrast between the beautiful buildings…

…and the communist buildings is pretty obvious.

Entering a bunker on our tour!

Where we got to try out some old gear.

The stark contrast between the beautiful buildings…

…and the communist buildings is pretty obvious.

Entering a bunker on our tour!

Where we got to try out some old gear.

Before continuing our historical journey, we stopped by V Cípu, located in a back alley off Wenceslas Square, for some traditional stuffed dumplings and Staropramen. For dessert we tried our first traditional trdelniks too! Basically, this is rolled grilled dough doused in sugar. It might’ve rivaled stroopwafels for Megan. For better or worse, the modern trdelniks have been transformed by becoming chocolate dipped or even ice cream filled.

Traditional Czech stuffed dumplings.

This is how they make trdelniks, their top dessert!

And they are quite delicious!

Traditional Czech stuffed dumplings.

This is how they make trdelniks, their top dessert!

And they are quite delicious!

Our afternoon was spent walking over the river to the Prague Castle and the surrounding buildings to get a glimpse of history starting in the 9th century. Here the St. Vitus Cathedral was the most beautiful with its stained glass and the royal gardens were a close second. We also got to see what they called the “Golden Lane”, where all the craftsmen and goldsmiths once lived during the reign of kings.

One of the entrances to the Prague Castle.

St. Vitus Cathedral

The “Golden Lane”

One of the entrances to the Prague Castle.

St. Vitus Cathedral

The “Golden Lane”

Once we were done here, we went on a craft beer tour of Prague to finish our day! Yes, believe it or not Prague does have smaller craft breweries making more than the standard pilsner. Our guide through Prague Beer Tours provided us with some good information on the ever-growing beer scene while walking between the breweries. We hit a few, including Pivovar Boršov and Pivovar Dobřenských, the latter being an herbal beer brewery where we sampled a salvia stout.

Pivovar Dobřenských – where drinking beer is enhanced by wearing hats.

Day 3

Brunch was at Sweet and Pepper Days, a trendy hipster bistro that was on the way to Kampa Island. The Charles Bridge cuts over the northern tip of this island, which is full of romantic lanes to walk, great picnic spots, and numerous opportunities to engage in the local art scene. In keeping somewhat with the art scene, next we visited the Lennon Wall and spent longer than we thought gazing at all the different graffiti and writings meant to trigger change. We took another recommendation when we were done and visited Café Kafíčko for some exquisite hot chocolate with almonds (so thick it was basically pudding) despite it being the middle of summer.

Charles Bridge from afar.

Charles Bridge up close.

The ever-changing Lennon Wall.

Peace.

Possibly the best hot chocolate ever at Café Kafičko!

Charles Bridge from afar.

Charles Bridge up close.

The ever-changing Lennon Wall.

Peace.

Possibly the best hot chocolate ever at Café Kafičko!

To obtain another birds-eye view of the city as we like to do, we rode a funicular up Petřín Hill to the lookout tower there that resembles the Eiffel Tower. You get a great view of what Prague has to offer. Even getting to the tower we got more local culture than anticipated, with street musicians and performers scattered throughout the park entertaining the crowds. Apparently one of the more renowned local breweries has its home up here too, so we decided to go check it out. St. Norbert’s Brewery (Strahov Monastery Brewery) has been brewing since the 14th century and it has a large beer garden with what looked like a relatively large following. Continuing the old-age beer theme we made it to U Fleků, which claims to have been brewing in the 15th century and is still going strong. They have a large beer garden where they only serve one beer and keep serving you until you place a coaster on your mug. And our last stop before the evening was U medvídků, a classic brewery-hotel.

Overview of Prague from Petrín Hill.

Eiffel tower-like structure to climb to the top of.

U Fleků: where they keep the beer coming until you cover your beer.

Overview of Prague from Petrín Hill.

Eiffel tower-like structure to climb to the top of.

U Fleků: where they keep the beer coming until you cover your beer.

Over the next three hours of the night we were on a buffet dinner cruise, floating down the Vltava River and taking in the city lights. It was a grand time and the best part- there was a giant wheel of cheese that you could just go up to and take as much as your heart desired!

Dinner cruise on the Vltava River.

Day 4

Not much happened the morning of our last day in Prague! We went to some convenience stores and stopped by a cookie shop of course, but otherwise we were being normal people! For lunch we went to the beer garden at U Bulínů and enjoyed one last trdelnik. To walk it off we explored the massive park that is Letna Park. This space dominates the northern edge of the Vltava River and provides a nice view of the city. It was from here we saw Lod’ Pivovar, the ship brewery that floats on the opposite side of the river. We dropped in and got to enjoy more beer on the top deck of the boat while soaking up some rays. Our final beer endeavor was at the Prague Beer Museum, a gastropub with a vision to bring together the top 30 craft beers in the Czech Republic.

The Prague Metronome in Letna Park where important demonstrations against communism used to be held.

A floating brewery!

The Prague Beer Museum – Adam’s favorite type of museum.

The Prague Metronome in Letna Park where important demonstrations against communism used to be held.

A floating brewery!

The Prague Beer Museum – Adam’s favorite type of museum.

Now after all this beer consumption we were ready to move on to our next beer city- Munich! But we weren’t flying there this time. From here on out we were utilizing our Eurail Country Pass to bounce through central Europe!

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