Prague, the largest city and the capital of the Czech Republic was our choice of destination for Greg, my husband and I. What endeared us to Prague is that is has been a cultural, political and economic centre of central Europe during its 1,100 year existence. The town began to grow during the Romanesque and prospered in the Renaissance and Gothic eras, plus it became the seat of two holy Roman Emperors and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
The 20 hour flight to Prague and the 10 hour difference meant we took a rest on arrival, which also enabled us to adjust to the time difference. On our second day we embarked on a tour of the breathtaking city which surprisingly had actually been relatively unknown to most European tourists three decades ago.
Here is the list of places we toured
- Powder Tower
We found out that this was actually among the original gates in Old town Prague. The tower was built in the 11th century and later rebuilt in the 15th century. In the 17th century, the tower was used for storing gunpowder, which is where it derived its name. The royal route, the accession route of the Bohemian kings started at this tower.
We climbed a spiral staircase with 186 steps which lead to the gallery where we got a view of the Old town.
- Prague Castle
The Prague castle towers above the city and is a sprawling complex. We were told by the locals that the castle buildings have been there for centuries and consist of a cathedral, three churches, a basilica, defensive towers, a monastery, magnificent gardens, a lane where craftsmen worked, royal stables and a royal palace.
The castle is a sight to behold.
The cathedral in the royal palace is a splendid example of Gothic architecture. Emperors and Kings are buried here.
- Letna Beer Garden
It doesn’t matter how many watering holes you visit, your trip would be incomplete without taking a trip to Prague’s best beer garden, at least for those who drink. Greg bought a couple of beers while I ordered pizza as we relaxed on the garden terraces.
Greg and I made a point of sampling the Czech cuisine and we were amazed. Prague has a history of its renowned beer, graceful bridges and majestic spires, but, I have to admit its cuisine, for me, was the best experience that I had. Initially I was a little bit skeptical of testing after finding out that the Czech people preferred home cooked meals to restaurant food.
My fears were washed away after eating Konelo. This is a roast pork knee, a dish also very common in Germany. It’s a rough, ridiculously huge piece of meat the likes of which I have never seen before. Despite its caveman appearance, it was delicious. It was a blend of crispy skin, tender pork and fat underneath. The meat was roasted and marinated in dark herbs and beer. We were served with dark Czech bread, mustard, horseradish, sour cherries for dipping, pickles and pickled vegetables.
Svickova na smetane
A good number of Czechs claim that this is the only dish unique to the country. According to them, it hasn’t been influenced by its neighbours. Greg and I loved this meal.
Beef sirloin was soaked in vegetable laden gravy (usually made with herbs and root vegetables such as parsley root, celeriac and carrots) and topped with jam, cream, a slice lemon and bread dumplings. It probably sounds unconventional, nevertheless, it was delicious.