Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Prague Day 1 - Sightsee, Pastries and a Cocktail...or Three

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If you follow me on Instagram/Twitter - your timeline during the last two weeks of August will have been filled with holiday snaps of the view from Charles Bridge, gigantic liqueur glasses and the results of speaking a little parseltongue from a little picturesque city in Central Europe. As an early birthday present, Jordan surprised me with a 3 day trip to Prague to celebrate turning 22.

Between you and me, I think he's secretly a wizard (and this has nothing to do with missing out on Hogwarts for the 11th year), it was planned flawlessly. Our hotel and the itinerary for each day was perfectly organised too! I'm normally pretty good at sussing these things out but this time round, I didn't have a single inkling of what was going on. Magic. I had the BEST birthday yet and I can't thank Jordan enough for making it so special. Being whisked away for a short break from the stresses back home was exactly what I had needed and Prague certainly delivered!

I thought I'd split up the three days up into three subsequent posts - it's very picture heavy so pop the kettle on, sit down with your breakfast and away we go!

12PM: ARRIVALS

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With bleary eyes and excited minds, we jumped out of bed at 4am, hoisted our suitcases into the car and hurtled ourselves down to the airport. After our morning porridge, a steady supply of coffee and a 1.5 hour flight later, we arrived in the city of Prague.

"Follow me!" Jordan exclaimed with two suitcases in tow. "I have this ALL planned out!"

With a hop on the bus and a brief stint on the metro, we arrived at our home for the next three nights. Hotel Opera stood proudly in pink and welcomed us in.

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With Jordan knowing that I'm a lover of everything to do with the 'Roaring Twenties' - I was amazed to find out that this little detail was part of the holiday too. The family run hotel dates back to 1891 and has belonged to the Ceska family since 1918. Based on Neo-Renaissance architecture, the six-story building draws inspiration from the Jazz Age with chandelier filled ceilings, upholstered armchairs and velvet clad staircases. I alternated between walking around with my mouth hanging open (attractive) and positively squealing every time I came across a trinket (re: cocktail glasses) inspired by the 20s. Ten minute later, we unpacked, slung cameras around our necks and set off to explore.

1PM: LUNCH TIME

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Passing through Powder Gate, Municipal House and the Church of our Lady before Tyn along the way, our rumbling stomachs dragged us over to Old Town Square - an area surrounded by Gothic architecture left in its original condition since the 10th century.

The market place was brimming with street vendors with a sea of both locals and tourists balancing plates of piping hot meat and pints of just poured foamy beer. After a sniff and a quick tour of the goods on offer, we handed over a wad of Czech crowns and settled down to demolish our food.

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The constant wafts of this made the infamous trdelnik an inevitable choice for dessert. Thin layers of dough are wrapped around rotating metal skewers and slowly grilled until golden brown. It's then rolled in a bed of cinnamon sugar (and a walnut/almond mix) before presented to be inhaled in a matter of minutes... this meant we didn't have room for this.
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2PM: EXPLORING PRAGUE

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Now bright eyed and bushy tailed, we set off on our first day of adventure with an extra spring in our step (and a pint of beer sloshing about in Jordan's tum). We wandered over to the Old Town Hall and stood mesmerised by the astronomical clock - it's one of the oldest in the world and the only one still working!

We briefly popped in to the sex museum, sat on the 'love seat', sniggered at the toys and made our way to the river. Before we walked over the bridge, we stumbled across the medieval torture instruments museum and hesitantly stepped in. To keep it tame, I've included an illustration of one of the contraptions - seeing it in real life is a lot more gruesome and makes Game of Thrones look like child's play. Jordan looks like he's learnt a thing or two.

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6PM: HAPPY HOUR

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Absinthe shops are dotted all around Prague and seems to be popular in the city. We arrived at the Absintherie just in time for Happy Hour and I tried the spirit in a mojito form for the first time! They also served absinthe cheese (?!) and ice cream. I'll be back.

9PM: DINNER

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Consuming the meat heavy meal at lunch meant it had left very little room for an appetite for dinner. Thankfully, our metabolisms powered through and knocked on the door at 9pm with small pangs of hunger. We strolled into Old Town, peered at the menus and decided on a round trip expedition around the river before settling down at a quaint but bustling restaurant cosied up in the center of town. 

We started off with a basket of mixed bread rolls and generously slathered each slice with homemade pork pate. Jordan ordered a traditional beef goulash served in a bread bowl and I decided on the grilled wild rabbit with cabbage and bacon pieces before washing it down with a red wine (for the lady) and another pint of pivo for the gentleman. 

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Despite our food babies and groaning waistlines, we still managed to find the room for dessert. Home baked apple strudel with toffee sauce and whipped cream. The waitress also demanded for us to try their flaming cherry liqueur and insisted that our night would be better for it.

It arrived with dancing flames in a glass the size of my head and were told to let it sit for a minute before attempting it. We clapped our hands in glee (well, I did as I'm very easily amused) and counted down from sixty seconds. Once the time was up, I reached for the glass and peered inside... big mistake. The fumes coiled themselves around my eyes and I gasped 'it's burrrrning!' before thrusting it to Jordan forcing him to try it instead.

I'm nothing if not a sweet and supportive girlfriend. 

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This concludes the first day of adventures in Prague - it's made me miss the city so much! 

I hope you enjoyed this recap of events - two more to go!

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