Prague Revisited

I first visited Prague in the autumn of 1992 with my wife and some friends. The same group decided to revisit after 12 years, and we were pleasantly suprised.

Prague Revisited

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by bobthequiz on July 12, 2004

For the summer of 2004, Prague is host to the 'Cow Parade' which was held in London a couple of summers ago. ${QuickSuggestions} ${BestWay} Public transport is quick and cheap. A 12Kc ticket is valid for an hour on the subway and 90 minutes on the trams. Taxis are expensive and often 'forget' to start the meter. Pre-book your airport transfers through a local travel company - we had an air-conditioned Mercedes for 4 people for 1100Kc (about GBP 26 or USD 40) both ways.

Palace Hotel

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by bobthequiz on July 12, 2004

The Palace Hotel is situated about 100 yards from Wenceslas Square and so is well placed for the underground and the main shopping streets.

The public rooms are luxurious and the bedrooms large, well appointed and kept clean by the excellent staff.

Breakfast is a well-stacked buffet that is kept replenished. Prague has so many interesting restaurants that we ate lunches and dinners outside the hotel, but always within walking distance.

The staff are the jewel in the crown of this particular hotel. They speak very good English, are always friendly and eager to help and, when on my last day I left a £20 note in my room, it was waiting for me a few hours later when I returned having realised my mistake.

The only downside was the bar... okay, so it's a five-star hotel, but there is no excuse for charging international prices for local beers (60Kc for a small beer) when a bar 50 yards away charges 17Kc for a large beer.

Hotel Palace Praha
Prague, Czech Republic

U Pinkasu

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by bobthequiz on July 13, 2004

The Pinkasu is a local legend in Prague. It was the first beer hall to serve Pilsner Urquell (the original Pilsner beer) and it is still one of only a few bars to serve 'PU' fresh and unpasteurised.

It's situated a few hundred yards from Wenceslas Square and is a prime example of our 'off the beaten track' principle.

The food is hearty local pub grub, with soup served inside small loaves, fine steaks, ribs... the full range.

We ate outside in the new garden, and lunch for four people, including drinks, cost less than the equivalent of twenty dollars. In the evenings, the place gets very crowded, but the quality (and price) of the beer means that the crowd is largely local.

Recommended without hesitation.

U Pinkasu
Jungmanove Namesti, 16
Prague, Czech Republic, 110 00
+420 221 111 150

U Vejvodů

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by bobthequiz on July 13, 2004

Another example of our Prague 'off the beaten track' rule, U Vejvodů is situated about fifty yards from the tourist traps of Bethlehem Square.

The front of U Vejvodů is less than impressive, but the pub is welcoming and serves a good pint of Pilsner Urquell at less than a dollar a pint. Downstairs there's a vast, airy beer hall which tends to cater to tour parties, but in either bar the food is hearty and well prepared.

Two members of our party were particularly fond of the tongue with (lethal) horseradish sauce, but the menu covers everything from the Prague speciality, 'beer cheese,' through to grilled salmon.

Lunch here, for four people, including drinks cost less than thirty dollars.

U Vejvodu
Jilska, 4
Prague, Czech Republic, 110 00
+420 224 219 999

Mucha Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by bobthequiz on July 12, 2004

Mucha has become a national industry in the Czech Republic, and this museum, operated by the Mucha Foundation, is the real thing... it contains displays of Mucha's work, including some original pencil sketches.

There are fascinating photographs of the artist's life (including a photograph of Paul Gauguin at the piano sans trousers) and a thirty-minute documentary of Mucha's life.

The (almost mandatory) retail opportunity is not particularly cheap (100kc for a fridge magnet - 350Kc for a mouse mat, up to £100 (yes, a hundred POUNDS) for a silk scarf), but the quality far exceeds the marketplace tourist tat.

Mucha Museum
Kaunicky palac
Prague, Czech Republic, 110 00
+420 224 216 415

Reflections on Prague after 12 years 'westernisation'

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by bobthequiz on July 12, 2004

When we first visited Prague in 1992, the first McDonalds had opened on Wenceslas Square and there were one or two 'western' style restaurants, but for the most part it was a very 'east European' city.

Now the centre of Prague is decidedly western, with a number of major British stores (Debenhams, Tesco, M&S) jostling with more traditional local shops.

The choice of good quality restaurants has improved - we ate at some really interesting places and had some top quality, but very affordable, food. No longer is the standard 'service with a snarl' - restaurant staff are polite and well trained, everywhere we went the restrooms were spotless and put some western resorts to shame.

But Prague hasn't completely sold its soul. There are still enchanting castles and churches, side streets and alleyways, and traditional beer halls offering hearty slabs of meat with jugs of foaming ale for a few dollars.

A couple of travel tips:

Firstly - stay away at the weekends. Prague has become a hot spot for stag weekends from across Europe. Friday and Saturday nights, the city is home to crowds of drunken lads from France, Belgium, Germany and the UK. The city is well policed and we didn't see any trouble, but I would go midweek by choice.

Secondly - don't be afraid to stray off the beaten track, especially at lunchtime. We enjoyed some excellent drinks and lunches in beer halls and cafes less than 50 yards from the main tourist drags.

Cow Parade

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by bobthequiz on July 13, 2004

In the summer of 2004, Prague is host to a cow parade, which has meant around 300 life size glass-fibre cows being scattered around the city, providing an interesting counterpoint to the magical architecture.

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