Sunday, July 20, 2014

Notes from Prague - Love at First Eats

I would say that the absolute best thing about living abroad is the accessibility to visit other places, sometimes at the drop of a hat, that you otherwise may not have had the opportunity to go.  This past week, Nick, our Aunt B. and I had a wonderful time experiencing a new favorite city, Prague.

Just to share some really quick first impressions that I had of Prague that surprised me:

1) The fallback language, just in case your Czech is rusty, is often German.
2) Almost all of the signs, including those for the public transportation or directing people to tourist locations are in Czech.  Put on those thinking caps, people!  And get a map, or four - luckily these are everywhere.
3) You thought Bavarian food was hearty?  Try stewed beef cheeks, fried cheese slices the size of dinner plates, the choice of gravy or a mayonnaise, and thick, dark beer.  Throw in a tossed salad (again, covered in mayonnaise or, if you're lucky, Greek-style) and that's the summer menu.
4) Progressive rock of the 70s, 80s and classic country is alive and well.

We arrived in Prague and were greeted by our friendly cab driver, Michael.  If you travel to Prague it is important to ask your hotel to arrange a cab for you in you need one.  It is much safer for you and your pocketbook to have a reliable, fair, and reputable driver.  It doesn't take very long before you realize that some of the rumors that you may have heard about regarding roaming money changers trying to pawn fake currency and other possible tourist ripoffs are true - so a word to the wise. However, we found most people to be quite honest and helpful, if a bit reserved.

After just a little bit of coaxing, we soon had Michael chatting about his home city and he recommended, Lokal, one of his favorite places near our home away from home, Hotel Hastal. Lokal translates, comically, to something close to "the dump" but it is really anything but its namesake.  The inside is efficient and gives the impression of being a very blue-collar, meet-for-a-pint type of place.  Sadly, you don't get a prize if you fill out your beer card!

Na zdraví!