Home is a weird idea. Is it where your heart is or where your hat is? If it’s the latter, my home is in a warehouse in Edinburgh, and if the former, it is located somewhere in he centre mass of my chest right now, beating at a bit above 80bpm or so. But I digress.
Below is the view outside my folk’s place in Edinburgh before we left for Prague.
For me, it was a return trip. Prague, the place where I have made a new life, full of friends and opportunities and a girlfriend. For my parents, though, Prague was some foreign mystical place that had captivated their imagination since the time before I was born. They had wanted to honeymoon here but had been deterred by Communism. Just another thing that regime stopped. They were full of excitement, but I think a little apprehension at what circumstance they might find their son living in.
All in all, I think they were pleasantly surprised. They found a city which is modern yet old, beautiful yet industrious. At first, I believe they were suspicious of the relatively low prices of the food and drink. These suspicions were quelled once I showed them the wonderful culinary delights of the place.
A day of wandering aimlessly, a day of visiting castles, and a day of art.
The aimless wandering took us to some Czech food. Lokal. My favourite place for Czech food as it is frequented by Czech people themselves. Good and authentic stuff, but I get them impression my mum didn’t quite understand the menu, or the size of the gram weight. She ordered a chef specialty and a main course. We ended up with a big slice of fried cheese, a bunch of sausages, a goulash, some rice in a soup like thing, and another main which I can’t quite remember. Enough for one other person! Oh well, I was hungry. Hot cheese and cold beer, though, has its issues.
We dined at their hotel that night. My girlfriend joined us there, but was aware of how overpriced it all was, as was I. Such is the fate of those who eat on Vaclavske Namesti. From that point on, I decided to take more action. We would only go to places where I knew they would get good value and the best quality.
The next day, my parents and I went to Prague Castle. We tried to go early to beat the crowds, but to no avail. The narrow alleys inside the castle walls were full with the human mass, every second or third step was to the side to avoid some group or other who closed ranks to avoid being separated.
After a decent walk around there, then down Malo Strana and into the Church of St Nicolas, I decided we should check out the far quieter Vysehrad – which used to be a castle but is now more of a stately garden.
The views there are immense.
A little bit hard to capture a panorama that shows the enormity, as it is properly panoramic but I did my best, switching to a smaller frame when I saw another opportunity.
At Vysehrad, there is a door which allows you to see down the Vltava. See, everyone is so focused on the castle they forget about the nature* that surrounds the city. There are some really green parts of the city if you only get to high ground and try to observe them.
A great day of castle visiting lead us into an evening of 10 koruna beers in Vinohrady, followed by a dinner at a Vietnamese near Namesti Miru, and sangria in Zizkov. It was fun showing off these parts of the city as they are a bit distinct and separate from the standard tourist trail. It also gave me a chance to show off the city at its best, the prettiness of Namesti Miru, the tastiness of the Vietnamese restaurants here, and the eclectic architecture of Zizkov (looking at you, creepy babies on a tower).
We finished their trip off with a day of going to two art museums, the modern one in Holesovice is especially amazing,
and then a night at Letna beer garden. On the way, we also got Trdelniks with ice cream rolls (available at a place near Hotel Clementium for all you salivating guests).
Ice cream is already a game changer for the traditional Trdelniks, but add freshly made ice cream with fruit of your choice and we’re dealing with a whole new animal. I will say though, it’s kind of big and extremely sweet for one person so may be best to eat with a partner.
All over, it was a great trip. We went to some of my favourite places, and did some of my favourite things, and I got to see a bunch of art too. Normally, I wouldn’t pay for a gallery unless I knew it had something I wanted in there, but when you are bankrolled by visitors it is unresistible. I will close with this, thanks mum and dad for your continued support, your love, and for your visit.
*to my editors: I am aware this does not read correctly, but it’s a common Czech error which I think is lovely and poetic and here is used as a stylistic choice.