4 Days in Prague – 40 Things to Do!

Just below the Astronimical Clock in Prague.

Prague never gets old for me and why should it?

It’s not New York. It’s not Paris. It’s Prague. In the East but with a blend of the West.

Speaking of the East. The refugee situation in Hungary and other European countries is an international crisis and a bloody mess. We need to think of humanity and compassion. It would be irresponsible of us all to just look away and leave these vulnerable people to sleep in the streets and huddle under bridges. Every little bit helps.

They need our help. #Refugeesarewelcome
They need our help.
#Refugeesarewelcome.

In that wise, I’m utterly pleased that in my adopted country ordinary people and individual federal states are trying to help and sending a message that #refugeesarewelcome.

Thank you Germany.

Up the hill in Prague – Prague City Tourism.

Back to Prague.

The Heart of Europe. The City of 100 Spires. The Golden City, etc. These descriptions are just some of the nicknames that Prague has acquired over the ages, but one thing remains constant – Prague is truly one of the world’s most unique cities with beauty, interesting food and brilliant alcohol!

So what to do in a city that has everything your heart can so desire?

Trdelník in the Czech Republic but also known as Kürtőskalács in Hungary!
Trdelník in the Czech Republic but also known as Kürtőskalács in Hungary!

In that wise, here are forty (40) tips to guide you on what to do and where to go.

This is what we did. Are you ready?

  • The first thing you have to do is to go to the Old Town Square (Staromeska), enjoy it’s beauty and grandeur of the 12th century and have a drink or two. We went in the summer and it was so burning hot that the town had organised the spraying of soapy water in the Square. It was a lot of fun LOL!
  • Next, check out Prague’s most famous 15th century Astronomical Clock. Enjoy the view but keep a tight hold of your pocket as the Square tends to get tightly packed.
Franz Kafka.
Franz Kafka.
  • If you’re going to read about anybody who is Czech then it ought to be Franz Kafka.
  • Visit the Jewish Quarter Josefov (Old Jewish Cemetery and Synagogues) and perhaps hear a whisper of the legend of the Golem.
  • Go on a walking tour. I love walking tours and even in my own city of Berlin, I go on a walking tour every now and then, just to keep abreast of new developments in different parts of town. Prague was no different. I chose to go with a company called Prague Extravaganza Free Tour. The tour is free and you can decide how much the tour is worth to you by giving the guide a tip. There is no obligation to do so of course, but if you feel that they do a good job then why not show your appreciation!
  • Use public transport. Prague has underground trains, trams, buses and a funicular and they are clean, efficient and marvellously easy to use. Try to avoid using taxis as best you can. They really are awful and will do their best to rip you off.
  • Take Tram 22 – This tram is the best mode of transport you can take as it travels through one of Prague’s most scenic routes passing very near the Old Town (Staroměstská) and the New Town (Malostranská) as well as via the Prague Castle. It really is a good tram to travel with, as it covers pretty much every tourist sight that you ought to see.
Tourists in Prague.
Tourists in Prague.
  • Visit the Prague Castle which has been an important symbol of the Czech state for more than a thousand (1,000) years. It was founded in the 9th century and became the seat of Czech rulers and later presidents. The castle, one of the largest complexes in the world, is made up of historical palaces, offices, church and fortification buildings, gardens and picturesque spots. It covers an area of 45 hectares and the panoramic view of Prague Castle is one of the most spectacular in the world!
  • Observe the Changing of the Guard at the Prague Castle. On the hour.
  • Go to the gothic cathedral of St. Vitus which was established in 1344  and took nearly 600 years to build! You can find it right next to Prague Castle.
  • Visit the St. Wenceslas Chapel with the tomb of St. Wenceslas, the crypt where Czech kings are buried, and the Crown Jewels.
  • Take a stroll along the Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička) which used to belong to castle soldiers and craftsmen from the 16th century.
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. © Petr Salek
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
© Petr Salek
  • Take the nostalgic Tram 91 – This tram is a historic one that only runs on Saturday & Sunday and during the main holidays from April to Mid-November. It leaves on the hour until 17:30.
  • Go to a local Czech outfit and have a meal of stodge!
  • Get yourself a grilled Czech sausage. Just make sure that the kiosk is clean and there’s a waiting queue!
  • Drink some delicious Czech beer. Don’t be shy. It’s pretty good and very, very cheap. ps. If you’re over 18. Absinthe can be bought in the TESCO supermarket!
  • Go to a Black Light Theatre. As many as you are inclined to visit. They’re all quite entertaining.
Black Light Theatre - Image Theatre - Prague.
Black Light Theatre – Image Theatre – Prague.

Black Light what? I hear you say!

Black.

Light.

Theatre!

Black Light Theatre - Image Theatre - Prague.
Black Light Theatre – Image Theatre – Prague.

Let me tell you, a black light theatre or černé divadlo is a theatrical performance characterized by the use of augmented black light illusion and has become a Czech speciality. Without giving too much away, the use of black curtains, a darkened stage, and UV light in conjunction with fluorescent dayGLO costumes is mixed with music and entertainment to create an intricate visual illusion. My favourite black light theatre is called IMAGE THEATRE and every time I visit Prague, I never fail to watch a performance! The theatre used to be in the Jewish Quarter but has now re-located to a new venue at Národní  třída. About 100 meters from Charles Bridge!

Even though I am a full-grown woman, the magic of black light never fails to intrigue me and I knew that even with the arrogance of on-coming teenage-hood, “The Tall Young Gentleman” would be impressed by an audio-visual performance, a compilation of dance, comedic mime sketches, pantomime and the black theatre metamorphosis of reality.

Black Light Theatre - Image Theatre - Prague.
Black Light Theatre – Image Theatre – Prague.

We watched The Best of Image which was hilarious.

The performances are non-verbal and language skills are not necessary. The show is very family-friendly and available for all ages. There are two (2) performances per day so if you want to go out on the night, there’s still plenty of time to do so.

Ticket prices are 480Kč or €18.00.

I highly recommend the IMAGE THEATRE as it’s a local establishment and it’s Czech.

p.s. Don’t sit at the front. The best view is in the middle or at the back LOL!

The Farmers Market at Anděl in Prague.
The Farmers Market at Anděl in Prague.
  • Take the Petřín Funicular which was first operated in 1891! You can take the Funicular from Malostranská which wil take you up the Petřín Hill and visit the Petřín Hill itself which is covered by hills (quite handy when you just need an immediate nap in the fresh air), and rocks! It also has a vast amount of parks. In fact, we did quite a lot of walking in spaces that I had never even seen before. We also skipped and jumped about quite a bit. We were so worn out that we didn’t have any dinner!
  • Check out the Petřín Lookout Tower which was originally built in 1891 as a mini version of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and don’t forget to visit the Royal Rose Gardens, the Mirror Maze, the Observatory and the lake. All very much in the hills within the Prague Castle made up of historical palaces, offices, churches and fortification buildings, gardens and picturesque spots covering an area of 45 hectares!
  • You certainly can’t go to Prague without visiting Prague’s most elegant café and restaurant – the Café Louvre.
Café Louvre, Prague.
Café Louvre, Prague.

The Café Louvre was opened in 1902 and was a place where the elite and intelligentsia of Prague came for coffee, cake and conversation with the likes of Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein among them.

As a Czech expat in those days, I had a couple of spots where I would go to read and write or just generally wile my time away and the elegant surroundings of the Café Louvre was one of them.

Our delightful apple strudel, custard and cream at the Café Louvre, Prague.
Our delightful apple strudel, custard and cream at the Café Louvre, Prague. Nom! Nom!

We went there for delightful apple strudel, ice-cream sundaes, and cocktails as it was such a steaming hot day. I also recommend their wonderful soups. Ask for their lunch specials for middle-class Czech prices!

  • Why not go to the Reduta Jazz Club which is right next door to the Café Louvre? I’m not very much into jazz but it used to be a happening place and such a rich spectrum of Prague’s cultural life that the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Ronnie Scott used to play there. Even Bill Clinton. Yes, Bill Clinton, did a jam session at the Jazz Club in 1994!
  • Go to the centre of Prague which is called Můstek. Walk around, peep in and out of backyards and back alleys. Ramble about and look up at the beautiful buildings and facades.
  • Walk towards a street called Celetná. Celetná was a former Prague trade route and now has a “gate” which is a sort of arch, It’s one of the oldest streets in Prague and will lead you towards the Old Town or (Staroměstská).
Celetná in Prague - ©Moyan Brenn
Celetná in Prague –
©Moyan Brenn

Celetná is a place of pride because that was the road where my office and classrooms were located. It was on this very quaint and cobbled street that I first cut my teeth as the Regional Manager in Eastern Europe. It’s a marvellous street. And if you look up, you can still see the chandeliers through the upstairs windows, and the old and Renaissance family symbols above the many doors. Of course, the street is now filled with elegant stuff, Bohemian crystal, glass, porcelain and amber, Czech specialities. Oh and a wax museum.

A wax museum?

Huh!

  • The wax museum is connected to Madame Tussauds but confusingly is also called the Prague Wax Museum.
  • On the same street of Celetná is another wax museum from France called Musée Grévin or the Grévin wax museum.
  • Not too far away on a side street is the Sex Machines Museum which I visited years ago. It’s amusing but NOT FOR ANYONE UNDER 18!
  • Follow the crowds until you  get to the Old Town Bridge Tower which is the beautiful Gothic gateway to Charles Bridge from the Old Town and decorated with symbols of various kings and saints.
St Charles Bridge in Prague. © Jorge Royan
St Charles Bridge in Prague.
© Jorge Royan
  • You must absolutely go visit Prague’s most iconic and famous Charles Bridge (Karlův most). It is the oldest bridge in Prague covered with statues of saints, artists, entertainers and tourists and has fantastic views of the river. I love going there at all times of the day and night but it can get quite crowded so stay with your party, and watch your pockets!
  • Make sure that you take a stroll on Wenceslas Square which hosts any event worth it’s salt, New Year’s Eve and various important historic and social events. There are also numerous shops, restaurants and historical hotels as well as side-streets with local cinemas and small Czech theatres.
  • Check out the classical concerts and orchestras in almost every religious house and building.
  • Throw yourself into the music halls and venues of Prague such as ballets and operas and go to as many museums and galleries as you can.
Don Giovanni marionette opera in Prague.
Don Giovanni marionette opera in Prague.
  • Experience the art of classic puppet and marionette theatres in shows such as the performance of Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute of Mozart.
  • Go clubbing at RadoxFX, Roxy, Akropolis, MeetFactory, or Karlovy Lazně.
  • Indulge in fresh seafood such as grilled trout or stuffed salmon fillet served with fresh herbs and lemon!
Boating away in Prague.
Boating away in Prague.
  • Enjoy the picturesque Vltava River. With over thirty bridges and footbridges and ten little islands, you can afford to go on a river cruise, rent a rowing boat or try your hand at pedal boating.
  • Make your way to the John Lennon Wall which is a wall that has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti, pieces of Beatles lyrics and words of world peace, freedom and hope. It’s on the other side of Charles Bridge near the French embassy. Ask around!
  • Go to a flea market and get chatting with the locals.
  • Drink Viennese coffee – I don’t drink coffee but it doesn’t mean that you can’t!
  • Prague’s views are breathtaking. Enjoy the moment and get a table by the riverside and rejoice that you get to see it.

Have fun!

And there you have it. Forty (40) things to do in four (4) days.

Marvellous!

Sunset in Prague.
Sunset in Prague.

For more information about the black light theatre, please contact: IMAGE THEATRE.

This article isn’t sponsored and even though I received a complimentary theatre ticket all opinions and the scrummy apple strudel that I lovingly devoured, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you. Next week will be my 100th post. Yay!

Stay tuned!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following events:

On 16.09.15, the Strictly Stand Up English Comedy Night will be taking place at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.

Until 26.09.15 only, the Wintergarten Varieté will be presenting The SOAP Opera show or Show SEIFEN OPER.

From 28.09.15 – 07.10.15 the Bar Jeder Vernunft will be presenting, for one (1) week only, a festival of top British entertainment – Britain’s Best! Music and Comedy.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin right now, hurry up!

September is going to be windy!

Watch this space!

4 days in Prague - 40 things to do!
4 days in Prague – 40 things to do!

Have you ever been to Charles Bridge? Would you have an apple strudel with custard and cream or just custard?!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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Prague is modern but historical, exciting but easy-going, in the East but with a blend of the West. It’s just one of those perfect places!

The clock on Staromeska in Prague!

Last week I told you the story of how I came to live in Prague.

Back in the day.

And now to how it was a few weeks ago with son in tow.

One of the reasons that I wanted to go back to Prague again was the fact that I wanted to show my it-sounds-awfully-boring-but-I-will-if-I-have-to-listen 13 year-old tween! In a couple of years, university will beckon and he’ll be bound for the more exotic Chiang Mai in Thailand, like other young GAP year Germans & Brits, and Prague won’t even get a look in!

In Staroměstská - the Old Town Square in Prague.
In Staroměstská – the Old Town Square in Prague.

Every time I go to Prague, it’s always nice to know how it’s changed or otherwise.

In many ways it has changed and in many ways it hasn’t changed at all!

Let me explain.

If you’re walking through the streets of Prague you just have to look upwards and see the outlines and roof-tops of this beautiful city. Prague is a remarkable place and a city shrouded in countless myths and legends from its thousand years of history.

Vltava in Prague © Che
Vltava in Prague
© Che

It’s a place which has a unique character. A city on the bank of the Vltava. A river city.

The city of a hundred spires, a UNESCO monument and one of the most beautiful cities of legends past.

Streets are lined with windows full of tempting wares that beckon you with whiffs of a delicious aroma or strange-like dishes, or perhaps the mystery of a dark outline of a Gothic castle built in 1348 and crammed with royal treasures, Bohemian crown jewels and holy relics.

Whichever way you look at it, Prague is quite magical.

U Maleho Glena

When I first lived in Prague, the place was bursting with secret little dives and back-corner bars that most people could see but never saw!

I accidentally found a group of young Czech people who brought me into their fold and introduced me to “their people” as “one of them” not only that, but they also happened to be artists which meant that I rarely ever paid for theatre productions, clubs or bars and I hardly slept spending my days managing my team and my nights going from one private club to another!

Good Times!

In fact at one point, we were all so comfortable that I was invited by someone’s grandma to help them pick strawberries in their garden!

A German Crumpet!

She didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak any Czech.

She just thrust a raffia basket in my arms and off I went.

Those strawberries were delicious and it was one of the best Sunday afternoons that I have ever had!

I know my way around Prague very well but of course, as every living city does, things change, places close and people move on. Prague has ten (10) zones or districts and each district has its own characteristic atmosphere and unique charm.

A tram on a street by the river in Prague. © Jorge Royan
A tram on a street by the river in Prague, not too far from the short-cut! © Jorge Royan

When I lived in Prague, I lived on the other side of the Prague Castle.

It was a bit of a slog to get to, being on the hill n’all, but we all knew a short-cut and used to either take the bus and cut through the back, or take the funicular up the hill!

Whenever I’m on a short visit in a city destination, I normally prefer to be in the thick of the action and within walking distance of all the sights, but because Prague can sometimes be heaving with visitors especially in the summer months, I decided to book outside Prague 1 and 2.

Prague 3 is particularly boring except for my favourite vegetarian restaurant at Radost FX and even though I’m not a veggie or vegan I would highly recommend their food LOL!  And of course, our expat bookshop – the Globe Bookstore and Café – where we used to hang out and meet other people (it’s relocated to Prague 1!)

And I don’t think I ever went to Prague 4 at all!

This time around, I booked our hotel in Prague 5. It’s about a 10 walk from the river and is located on the west bank of the Vltava River.

Hurrah!

Prague 5 is semi-residential with bigger hotels, fancy bars and restaurants but with real Czech locals living in the area too.

Being a part of the Prague trendy set. Has anyone seen a hipster?
Being a part of the Prague trendy set.
Has anyone seen a hipster?

Our hotel was called Angelo Hotel Prague and was in the Prague’s Anděl neighbourhood known as the hip and trendy Smíchov Quarter.

Smíchov was famous for textile, breweries and railway carriages and most importantly, one of Prague’s most famous beers – Staropramen. In recent years, Smíchov transformed into a district of ultra-modern offices and semi-residential with a farmers market, a scattering of hotel chains, fancy bars and restaurants, but with real Czech locals living in the area too.

Our hotel – Angelo Hotel Prague – was on a quiet historical road and was about two (2) minutes from the Anděl underground station.

The location was absolutely spot on.

All that Jazzzzz!
All that Jazzzzz!

The Angelo Hotel Prague stands for an innovative and designed-oriented hotel concept characterized by extravagant styling, distinct colours, and inspiration of the Jazz Age. Throughout the hotel were pictures and painting of jazz music icons!

Snazzy vibes at the Angelo Hotel Prague!
Snazzy vibes at the Angelo Hotel Prague!

With 163 rooms and 5 suites, the trademark of the hotel is a colourful design concept of black, coral-red, yellow and white and is managed by the VI Hotel & Resorts group along with  35 other hotels around Europe. In fact, when I was researching hotels I remembered that during the ITB travel trade fair in Berlin, I had booked meetings with a couple of PR industry people and VI was one of them.

Their Communications Team remembered me and that laid the ground for where I would stay.

Angelo Hotel Prague Executive Twin Rooms!
Angelo Hotel Prague Executive Twin Rooms!

We were upgraded to a Superior Twin Executive Room on the 6th floor which had a help-yourself coffee-maker and drinks machine on the 6th floor lobby, and bowls of apples!

When travelling with a tween, it’s always nice to have important basics such as a large bed, a flat screen TV, and a DVD player.

Our room also had a desk and chair, a safe, a mobile phone re-charging plug, tea and coffee-making facilities, daily complimentary water, free high-speed WiFi, AC, heated floors, a nice bathroom, fluffy towels and fluffy slippers.

The WiFi was free throughout the hotel premises but if you’re on the 6th or 7th floor, make sure that you choose the extra daily option which is of no charge if you’re a higher floor guest, and is really fast.

The usual WiFi was perfectly adequate if you’re only using it for a few things, but if you have a couple of devices (which we do) and you’re not on a higher frequency, it could prove problematic.

Becherovka - a type of herbal, spicy, aniseed Czech liquor!
Becherovka – a type of herbal, spicy, aniseed Czech liquor!

And speaking of drinks.

Again!

The Angelo Hotel Prague is in a great area and the young front-of-house staff are enthusiastic but the service and the house-keeping staff needs to be spruced up and tightened!

Drinking a very important cup of tea! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Drinking a very important cup of tea!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

We didn’t receive a welcome drink until the next day.

And we had to ask for it.

Our complimentary bottles of water were not replenished and neither were my teabags.

For black tea.

Until we asked for them.

And on one particular day, we arrived in our room to find that the used towels had been taken away but none were returned.

And we had to ask for them.

Sigh!

Cocktails at the Angelo Hotel Prague.
Cocktails at the Angelo Hotel Prague.

Our stay also included a welcome drink in the Jazz Bar, entrance to the fitness studio, sauna and steam bath in the hotel next door (because it wasn’t in the hotel itself, I didn’t try it out), and a rich buffet breakfast that consisted of fresh fruit, cereals, creams and yoghurt, Bohemian cold cuts, sausages, baked beans (yum!), pancakes, porridge, a variety of cheese, a very wide selection of cake, bread and pastry, vegetables, salads and Asian soup!

You could also order a choice of eggs with crispy bacon, sausage and mushrooms, or egg omelet with cheese, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms but again, you had to ask for them as there was no menu and we only got to know that the option existed when we saw a hot plate being served to a customer on a nearby table!

On our initial arrival the hotel management very kindly sent us a welcome tray of macaroons and some fruit. I couldn’t eat them personally ‘cos of the nut factor, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” was in French heaven!

A tray of French macarons at the Angelo Hotel Prague, in the Czech Republic.

Thank you!

Even though we weren’t in the centre of the centre, we were pretty central as Prague’s public transport system is marvellous and so easy to use.

A map of the Metro Underground system in Prague.
A map of the Metro Underground system in Prague.

The nearest station is on Line B (the yellow line) and is called Anděl. Anděl is but three (3) stops until you get to the city centre which is at Můstek. Six (6) stops until you get to Hradčanská which is the castle area, five (5) stops until you get to Malostranská (which is the new town), four (4) stops until Staroměstská (the old town), four (4) stops until Národní třída (the National Theatre), five (5) stops until Muzeum and onto Wencelas Square (it’s the place where everyone gathers like Times Square (US), Leicester Square (UK) and Brandenburg Gate (Germany) and five (5) stops to Hlavní nádraží (Prague’s Main Train Station.)

So you see, the Anděl neighbourhood was quite handy.

Away from all the stress and bother of rowdy tourists and noise, but near enough to either take the train or jump on a tram, as Prague’s most interesting sights and attractions were just minutes away.

The Vltava as it flows under the Charles Bridge in Prague. © David Iliff.
The Vltava as it flows under the Charles Bridge in Prague.
© David Iliff.

If you’re feeling energetic and want to take a longer look at the area, I would recommend walking on the river-side, but it would take at least thirty (30) odd minutes, perhaps more!

In fact, on our first (1st) night we strolled around Smíchov which had a lot of young people milling around with both Czech, English and German voices and not too far away, we found a local restaurant.

Traditional Czech cuisine!
Traditional Czech cuisine!

We went to a local restaurant in Smíchov (Prague 5) similar to U Dvou Kocek above. Unfortunately, it was quite late and I forgot to take a photograph of the actual place itself AND you don’t get any receipts. Just a piece of plain paper stating how much you ate!

So how can you know if a restaurant is a real dive or not?

Well, you’ll know it’s local soon enough. If the menu is in Czech and the punters look dodgy and intimidating.

That’s the one to go to!

Walk in. Smile. Say “Dobrý den” and take a seat at a wooden table. Any wooden table!

A hearty Czech meal in Prague.

They were awfully accommodating and with creaky Czech, a mish-mash of Polish and much finger-pointing, we had a hearty meal of marinated pork ribs with thickly cut roast potatoes, white cabbage and a three-sauce variety of mustard, ketchup and horse-radish! All at an unbelievable cost of 180 or €6.70.

Tasting Czech Beer.
Tasting Czech Beer.

My huge beer was 34 or €1.25 and my son’s huge coca-cola was 50 or €1.90. We had a couple more!

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. If you don’t drink get ready to open your wallet as beer is cheaper than water. So drink on!

As a matter of fact, Berlin used to be like that too. Beer and cola are now the same price but if you know where to look you can find beer in Berlin for about 20 cents at a local supermarket and in Prague for 12 or 45 cents!

If you know where to look LOL!

Looking rather peaky in Prague!
Looking rather peaky in Prague!

“The Tall Young Gentleman” had picked up a cold in Budapest and was looking rather peaky so the next day, I went on a familiarization tour around Prague by myself so that I could plan out where and what I would show my son when he felt a little better. I’ll tell you all about that next week!

If you’re in Prague, then you ought to try a few Czech sausages so in the early evening, we went for a little ramble in the immediate area and had an early dinner of Czech grilled sausages. Make sure that the sausage stand is clean and that the sausages have a quick turn-over. If there’s a queue go for it, if it’s a dead sausage stand, keep moving!

Our stay at the four-star modern designed Angelo Hotel Prague was a good choice. We chose it as it’s trendy, in a residential quarter and quiet. For the action and pulse of Prague choose the centre LOL!

So what’s the damage?

The Angelo Hotel Prague.
The Angelo Hotel Prague.

Here it comes…

All this from €141.00 per night in the Executive Room which for two (2) people would be €70.00 a pop!

if you’re looking for reliability and a bit of peace and quiet, it’s a safe bet.

There were loads of German-speaking guests and others from Argentina, the US and Italy and even though I was a bit peeved as the service could have been better, the fact is, German clients tend to be a demanding lot with high expectations, so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you!

That’s all for now. I’ll be telling you some Prague secrets next week!

She's got good taste. In Prague!
She’s got good taste.
In Prague!

For more information about the Angelo Hotel, please contact: Angelo Hotel Prague.

This article is part-sponsored by the Angelo Hotel Prague but all opinions and the huge beers that I had, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following events:

On 16.09.15, the Strictly Stand Up English Comedy Night will be taking place at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.

Until 26.09.15 only, the Wintergarten Varieté will be presenting The SOAP Opera show or Show SEIFEN OPER.

From 28.09.15 – 07.10.15 the Bar Jeder Vernunft will be presenting, for one (1) week only, a festival of top British entertainment – Britain’s Best! Music and Comedy.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin right now, it’s never too late!

September is going to be swell!

Watch this space!

 In Staroměstská waiting for the astronomical clock on the Prague Old Town Square.
In Staroměstská waiting for the astronomical clock on the Prague Old Town Square.

Do you think Prague is modern and trendy or traditional and boring? Would you eat a Czech sausage or a Czech doughnut?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

How I came to live in Prague once upon a time – Wonderful Prague!

As lovely as Prague!
As lovely as Prague!

Prague!

Prague!

Wonderful Prague!

Apart from my actual historical home-town of Manchester, there are but four (4) brilliant cities that I have always either contemplated to be “home” or to have a piece of my heart in some way, and they are Berlin, London, Hong Kong and Prague.

Unsurprisingly, they are all somewhat similar in the sense that they are old cities filled with history and glory, choc-a-bloc with people of charm and intelligence, crammed with artistic creativity, edgy enough to push you to the wall but not too much to make you jump off a high building, have rivers flowing through them and plenty of opportunities to “make it” if you feel so inclined.

And I have lived in them all.

Hong Kong © Ángel Riesgo Martínez
Hong Kong
© Ángel Riesgo Martínez

Except for Hong Kong.

I’ve been there.

I’ve met people and had fantastic adventures.

And I was that close to making a move onto a fascinating island on the Asian continent.

When something more exciting happened to me…

Perhaps I’ll tell you sometime.

Perhaps not!

Anyway, my life and career after university started in the Czech Republic.

In Prague.

THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Good King Wenceslas himself on the very aptly named Wencelas Square in Prague!
Good King Wenceslas himself on the very aptly named Wencelas Square in Prague!

The Czech Republic is a country in Eastern-Central Europe and as such, a part of the old Eastern Bloc! It is bordered by Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland and was formed in the late ninth (9th) century as the Duchy of Bohemia!

The Czech Republic, previously known as Czechoslovakia, was traditionally divided into three lands known as Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia or Slezko (also part of Poland). However, the Czech Republic has also been known as the Czech/Bohemian land, the land of the Bohemian Crown and the land of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas.

Yep! The Saint Wenceslas of ye olde English carols such as:

“Good King Wenceslas once looked out.

On the Eve of Stepheeeeeeen!

‘Though the snow lay round about

It was crisp and eeeeeeeven!”

I had absolutely no idea that the old Stephen that we always sang about as children, was that Stephen!

In memory of The Fallen, in Prague.
In memory of The Fallen, in Prague.

After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the name Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country.

Once the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 occurred, the two nations decided to part ways peacefully in 1993, turning into the Czech Republic of which Prague is the capital and Slovakia (not Slovenia!) in which Bratislava is the capital.

Back in the day, I lived in both nations which even though have separated, still have enormous respect for each other and happily, there have been no problems at all and you can travel quite easily between the two nations and not even notice the border!

In fact, the Czech Republic ranks as the eleventh (11th) most peaceful country in the world so if you’re looking for stability, development, democracy and peace, move to Iceland!

PRAGUE

The clock on Staromeska!

With streets paved with cobblestones and long shadows descending from glowing lanterns, it’s no wonder that I used to live in Prague.

Prague – the capital of the Czech Republic – is the largest city in it’s young nation. A nation of 1.2 million people.

Prague.

I have always had a love affair with Prague. I mean, I went there as a young graduate, straight from an academic university with stars in my eyes and political philosophy in my mind.

During my last year at university, I was head-hunted by a fellow student who had been working as a summer camp co-ordinator with a company that focused on developing countries.

I wanted to work in a developing country.

I wanted to do something to help those less fortunate than myself.

Helping the less fortunate! In Prague.
Helping the less fortunate!
In Prague.

And that was how it began.

I was tasked to be the Joint Manager and Co-Ordinator of a British summer camp, in conjunction with the University of Central England in Birmingham.

I was scared to death to be in charge of 100 disadvantaged and deprived teenage children and twelve (12) High School teachers, from the North of England.

I must have done alright ‘cos then they promoted me to Project Development Officer responsible for universities, graduates and young professionals in the UK. And it was all grand hobnobbing and spending most of my time at Oxford and Cambridge.

But you see, I wanted to work abroad.

I have always wanted to work abroad.

So when that call came. I was ready.

The company knew that I had wanted to go to India (I know!) but they had something else for me. Eastern Europe.

Photo@ Avisionn Photo

Eastern Europe in the 90’s was dismal, in distress and pretty undeveloped. “Would I be interested?”

I was.

“When would that be?”

“Well, the thing is. Quite soon.”

“How soon?”

“Tomorrow!”

“Tomorrow!!?!”

“Yeah, tomorrow!”

I didn’t hesitate and said yes. They assured me it would only be for about six (6) weeks.

I came back two (2) years later!

And that was it. I was in love.

St Charles Bridge Prague © Jorge Royan
St Charles Bridge Prague
© Jorge Royan

With Prague!

Oh yes, I lived in Prague and became the Regional Project Manager in Eastern Europe responsible for starting up an educational business in both Prague (the Czech Republic) and Bratislava (Slovakia).

It was the best thing ever and basically made me what I am today because at university, I was quite an arrogant, privileged little thing.

I was an academic, bright, young and clever. I had the world at my feet and I knew it.

I even used to be Head Girl for goodness sake (see Harry Potter), and I had parents who gave me everything.

I had never done a day’s work in my life.

Until Prague.

"The Tall Young Gentleman" living the good life and relaxing by the pool in Bali, Indonesia.
“The Tall Young Gentleman” living the good life and relaxing by the pool in Bali, Indonesia with the whole world and a lovely pool, at his feet!

In Prague. I had a whole country to myself, no staff and absolutely no idea what I was really going to be doing out there.

Oh, and did I tell you that when I got there, the fellow who was supposed to partner me, had to leave due to a family emergency, so I was on my own!

Quite alone.

In Prague.

Don't worry!
Don’t worry!

I didn’t speak any Czech or German at the time but I made it work. I was so afraid of failure that I went to the local university and knocked on university hall doors looking for young people who spoke English and wanted to work with me.

I found a few people and that was how I started.

It was quite the making of me.

Did I make mistakes?

Loads!

Did I cry and want to go home?

Many times.

But did I give up though?

Not a chance!

I did well. Got myself a nice team and a few working assistants and made many more projects, and when I did eventually return back to the UK, I knew that if I wanted to fly to the moon I probably could.

If I wanted to!

Drinking on the moon! © gawrifort
Drinking on the moon!
© gawrifort

If you recall, in February, we went skiing in the Czech Mountains and we had to make a stop-over in Prague. My husband – The Music Producer – isn’t one for skiing so he encouraged us to go on without him. On our journey, we ended up in Prague at 02:00 and with a few hours to kill before our onward train to Rokytnice nad Jizerou, so I decided to “show” “The Tall Young Gentleman” a tiny bit of history.

Chocolate chip ice-cream at KFC in Prague. Not for me of course!
Chocolate chip ice-cream at KFC in Prague.
Not for me of course!

He was fascinated although between you and me, I think he was more impressed with the Czech version of KFC than anything else LOL! And although my son had been to Prague as a toddler, he had never been to Prague proper and from the look on his face, I felt it was time for him to not only hear about the life of his mother, but to see it too!

As a reminder, our summer trip was a journey to both Budapest in Hungary and Prague in the Czech Republic. You can read all about the beginning of the adventure by clicking right here!

After having a marvellous time at both the Aria Hotel Budapest and the Buddha-Bar Hotel, we took the Hungarian 2nd class train from Budapest to Prague.

Take the train!
Take the train!

I had booked in on the website of the Hungarian Train Network (MAV) as it couldn’t be booked in Germany and so with much misgivings, I paid €38.00 for the pair of us and hoped for the best as I couldn’t download a ticket either….

I was so worried that I even went to an actual physical Deutsche Bahn (German Train) office and they told me to either pay €225.00 travelling through another route or to pay €38.00 through the direct route. I paid it and got a confirmation. The snag?

You can only print out your actual ticket at a Hungarian train station which I conveniently forgot all about until the night before we were due to leave! Thankfully, we were leaving on the same platform that we had arrived on, so with trembling fingers I logged in the reference number and managed to get our tickets with just seven (7) minutes to spare…!

We found our compartment and our new companions for the next seven (7) hours who were a bunch of German college boys off to Berlin!

People rushing on the Polish train.
People rushing on the Polish train.

I’ve travelled by East European train many times. They’re cheap but very cheerful. They can get squashy and squishy and filled up not only with suitcases but bags and sacks, and even so-called 1st class trains can leave a lot to be desired, but the local passengers are kind-hearted and are a merry lot and the bathrooms are clean and have bars of soap and running water. And if you’re really wanting to meet the locals on their own turf, then go to the restaurant car and play cards with some of the old men there or buy a couple of rounds, it certainly won’t break the bank and you’ll have made a few new friends as well!

Once we arrived in Prague, I bought our underground tickets and off we went.

50 Rupees
50 Rupees

Speaking of money.

Because I have travelled an awful lot – fifty-three (53) countries – to be exact, and counting, I tend not to spend up or even give away my left-over currency, but to keep it not only as a memento, but also a reason to come back! And as you already know, the last time I was previously in Hungary was eleven (11) years ago and even though I didn’t have enough money for a taxi, I would have had enough money for a cup of coffee.

If I drank it LOL!

So, I had at least 400 Czech crowns or €15.00. More than enough local cash to get us to the hotel and then some.

Prague is extremely tidy, modern and organised. Have no fear if you don’t speak Czech as all over the Hlavní Nádraží or Main Train Station, were information booklets in various main languages of how to get about the city or use Prague public transport. Even the ticket machines and wall maps were in English.

Not only that, but I think Prague has one of the easiest underground systems in the world as it only has three (3) lines.

Yep! You heard me.

Just three (3) lines – green, yellow and red!

We bought one (1) short-term ticket costing 24CZK or €0.90 and one (1) child ticket costing 12CZK or €0.45. These tickets are one-way tickets only and can be used for 30 minutes. Unless, you’re planning to use public transport extensively, you shouldn’t need to buy a day ticket and if your hotel is in the city centre, then walking is your friend!

Our hotel – Angelo Hotel Prague –  was in the suburbs of Prague – Zone 5. It’s about twenty (20) minutes from the city centre and if you’re particularly nifty, a brisk thirty (30) minute walk will take you along the Vltava river and towards the direction of the Prague Castle in amazing Prague – a unique city.

That’s it for now. Find out what we did next week!

Cocktails at Angelo Hotel
Cocktails at Angelo Hotel in Prague.

For more information about the Angelo Hotel, please contact: Angelo Hotel Prague.

This article is part-sponsored by the Angelo Hotel Prague but all opinions and the lovely river walks that I went on, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

Next week, I’ll be at the Long Night of Museums or die Lange Nacht der Museen which takes place on August 29th. It’s an all night museum and exhibition family event, taking place from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin right now, you’ve got a lot to lose!

August is packing up!

Watch this space!

Cooling down in very hot Prague!
Cooling down in very hot Prague!

Have you ever been to Prague? Have you ever lived in another country?

See you in Berlin.

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