After an activity-packed 11 days in Poland, we were exhausted when we arrived in Prague. We booked an Airbnb room in someone’s apartment but lucked out and had the place to ourselves for the first two days and we took the opportunity to sleep-in and relax. Our first day and a half in Prague we really didn’t do anything, and it felt great. The apartment was spacious with a beautiful view and a Starbucks across the street; it was pretty easy to do nothing.
Feeling recharged, we were ready to get out and see Prague. We walked though Malá Strana, one of the most historic districts in the city, and then up to the Prague Castle. Unfortunately, we chose a national holiday to visit the castle and while it is usually open until midnight with all the grounds free to enter; when we got up there everything was closed off. We watched as plenty of well-dressed people (likely diplomats) walked past security guards and news cameras and assumed something must be going on.
We continued our evening walking across Charles Bridge into Old Town as people have done since the early 15th century. We walked through the main square ‘Old Town Square’ where we saw the Prague Astronomical Clock (‘Prague Orloj’). I had never heard of it before but the Prague Astronomical Clock is quite well known and extremely old – installed in 1410, it’s the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one that still works. “The clock mechanism itself is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.“
Prague is undoubtedly a gorgeous city, especially with the Vltava river as a backdrop and our photos really don’t do its justice; the weather was overcast and everything looked grey.
Our last day in Prague we got to catch up with an old friend of my family’s that I haven’t seen in over 15 years. We had a quick chat and even got to meet Brent’s son who was adorable: very ‘European’ looking (in terms of his dress and hair), extremely polite and spoke perfect English.
In the afternoon we went to U Fleků: “the oldest and the most famous brewery in Prague.” The brewery and pub were established in 1499, making it over 500 years old! The restaurant boasts seating for over 1200 people but when we went most of the large halls were closed off and we were seated in one of the smaller side rooms. We both tried the special dark beer brewed on the premises and the pubs claim to fame, the ‘Flekovský Tmavý Ležák 13°’ (The Flek Dark Double Lager at 13°P). Servers walk through the rooms carrying trays of 0.4L glasses of the beer, offering it to anyone with an empty glass or who has just arrived. If you’re not paying attention you can end up with a beer in front of you even if you didn’t want it. Traditional shots are brought around in the same manner and we had to say no more than once before the server walked off. I read quite a few reviews that the servers ‘force’ you to drink the beer and shots but I would disagree, you just have to know how to politely (and then firmly) say no. I assume one reason the drinks are pushed so hard is that the food is fairly cheap compared to other Prague restaurants but the beer is more than double the price.