Prague: Our festival of scenic gastronomy

“My Mojito in La Bodeguita.”
Ernest Heminway

Deliciously caliente.

One threshold I’ll never forget crossing is the one that led me into La Bodeguita del Medio.  Mind still swirling from the dizzying beauty of Prague’s architecture, geography and gastronomy–I’m already thinking that things just can’t get better, but they do. I’ve never been to Cuba (though I’d love to go), but this cocktail joint is like the fastest trip across the Atlantic I’ve ever been on. You smell the cigars, see the salsa dancers, find a nook to nestle into on the bar and just drink it in. My first taste of my mojito especial was heavenly. The fresh lime and mint artfully muddled, the crunchiness of the raw sugar…ach, it’s absolutely gorgeous and wholly refreshing.

The Vltava on a rare sunny moment.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Prague, or Praha as the locals call it, here’s a quick background: Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and is the heart of the region of Bohemia. Prague has existed under many different empires over the ages, including the Holy Roman Empire, the Third Reich (interestingly Hitler decided not raze Prague’s large Jewish Quarter because he wanted it to be a museum of sorts to what he hoped would be an extinct race), the USSR, Czechoslovakia and finally now itself, just the Czech Republic. For all this conquering, Prague is remarkably preserved. I suppose even the tyrants over the ages didn’t have the heart to destroy this stunning city. Thank you evil, power-crazed men, very much for that. Loads of travelers have hailed Prague as the new Paris, but what I love about it is that it’s the affordable Paris. Reid and I adored ducking into loads of sidewalk cafes for a stein of Gambrinus or an espresso. The Czechs are friendly, the tourists are happy and the overall feel of the city is just magical. Walt Disney seriously has nothing on Prague.  I’m just glad I got to spend time there when it’s still cheap.  The Czech economy is apparently doing rather well, and it’s not so much a secret anymore how amazing Prague is, so it’ll only be a matter of time before it truly is like Paris ($£$£$£$).

Bohemia Bagels: where the hungry traveler can enjoy unlimited filter coffee refills IN EUROPE!

The Iron Curtain: a fabulously kitschy fusion of Communist era artifacts and a pub grill.

On Mondays at the Iron Curtain puts one of their kegs on special, for the equivalent of 60 cents, one can purchase pints of craft pilsner = happy Reid and Emily. Beer is generally cheaper than water in Prague.

Kolkovna: home of our favorite traditional-esque Czech meal.

Our meat and dumpling fest, oh and this is a single portion. Luckily enough Reid and I split it.

Favorite lean-against tree to date.

King (or Saint?) Charles: a great benefactor of the arts and architecture of Prague.

Reid petting the lucky pup on the Charles Bridge.

Being cheeky at the market.

Frolicking Czech munchkins at the Easter Market in Old Towne Square.

One tower is a wee bit bigger than the other.

No Lloyds allowed?!?! Heaven forbid.

A typical street in Prague. Yes, they are nearly all this pretty (except for the few remaining footprints of good ol' Lenin and his man Stalin).

Oh so Rococo. There's actually a thief's hand in this church that allegedly a Virgin Mary statue tore off when he tried to steal her necklace.

Budweiser Budvar, a Czech pilsner. There actually is an ongoing lawsuit between the Czech Budweiser and its American cohort of the same name because the American one took the Czech one's already trademarked name (Budweiser Budvar was first brewed in 11th century!) and won't give it back. Seriously Anheuser, way to be a bully. Your lager doesn't hold a candle to Budvar.

Overlooking Prague from the castle (and its adjacent vineyards).

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