I should start out by saying I can’t believe how long its been since I’ve written, but that’d be a lie — we moved to Atlanta in January and I’ve since been crazy traveling across the US producing events, so it’s no wonder I haven’t had free time to write. Those last six months have been a whirlwind, so much so that I have to stop and force myself to reflect before really realizing that prior to the last six months of crazy, there were three even crazier months of crazy: we lived in Europe. Beyond that madness, a big crew of our best friends from both San Francisco and Seattle made the trek to Europe to join us on a multi-city tour of Europe before we closed out our stint in the continent. Fast forward ahead from our time in Hamburg (you’ve read about it) and Berlin (I’ll get there eventually but it wasn’t my favorite), we arrive in my favorite (yes, after six months I’m ready to say it) European city: Prague.
Our journey to Prague was epic. First a train from Hamburg to Berlin, next a train from Berlin to Leipzig, and finally a train track maintenance causing forced three hour bus ride from Leipzig to Prague. Regarding our stay, our overnight accommodations were beyond fabulous: for under $200/night, we had a two-unit penthouse with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, two kitchens, two living rooms and two balconies. Split between five people, we spent hardly anything and lived like kings. On our final day in Prague, we awoke to chorus music flooding our open windows as a huge chorus was singing on the street level as part of a ceremonial, parade-type ritual for a national holiday literally right on our front doorstep — it was magical.
The food and drink culture was phenomenal. Everyone drinks beer, and a lot of it: they’re known for chugging their beers and reorder so frequently that the simple flip of a coaster signals you want a refill. Everything is pilsner, either light or dark, and both are cheap and fantastic. Given we were there in early winter at the start of the European Christmas markets season, there was plenty of delicious gluehwein everywhere as well. Beyond that, it’s Europe so duh, schnapps for days. The food was super hearty and dense comfort food, delicious but not exactly food for health: gummy, steamed potato dumplings with every meal, roasted meats, gravy, stews — my god it was good. And cheap. Our crew of six could order multiple apps for the table, rounds and rounds of beers and schnapps, big entrees each and our check would total the equivalent of ~70 bucks for all six of us. Long, indulgent dinners in Prague with rounds of beer and schnapps were some of my favorite memories of Prague. Pilsner Urquell, the restaurant home of the famous Pilsner Urquell Czech Pilsner, was the absolute highlight with the best dumplings in town in addition to some amazing beef tartare. Beyond just dining, we had a few other notable beverage highlights. My personal favorite was the Beer Spa where we had two hours in a private room to rotate between soaking in a bubbling copper tub of beer and sitting in a hop sauna while drinking unlimited beer from multiple beers on tap — it was quite possibly the high point of my life to be honest. As well, we visited a Monastery at the top of the city where we drank beer brewed by monks in a cave-like building by candlelight.
As if my recap of the food and beer alone isn’t enough to sell you on Prague, the real reason Prague is my absolute favorite European city is the architecture. Prague is super old world European with its well preserved Gothic architecture. It’s also one very few European cities that wasn’t destroyed by either of the world wars, plus the fact that since then it was behind the Iron Curtain for a long time, which shielded it from the pressures of development and modernization. We took trips to the Prague Castle, Prague astronomical clock, and Wenceslas Square amongst others, but my personal favorite of course was the Charles Bridge.
In the year leading up to our visit to Prague, “The Czech Republic” rebranded itself as “Czechia”, a subject matter my friends and I were curious to hear some locals’ perspectives on. Funnily enough, Czech folks don’t give two anythings about how we refer to their country in English, and themselves simply enough call their county “Czech”. Regardless of whatever the country’s English name may be, their stunning city of Prague was one that captured ahold of my heart. If you’re considering where next (or even better, first) to visit in Europe, and especially if you’re on a budget (but not only), I would without a doubt give Prague my highest of recommendations.
Next up our closeout trip to Amsterdam, and eventually I'll catch up on life back in the US. That’s it for now y’all.