A few weeks ago in January, my club team traveled to Prague, Czech Republic, for a friendly match and a short team weekend together.
Before our exploration of Prague’s narrow winding streets, we charged our batteries at a local café with some small desserts and coffee drinks. I had a caramel latte with a vegan brownie.
Taking the street tram through the city reminded me sometimes of San Francisco. We were surrounded by gray- and dark-toned buildings, and with every turn of the tram there was a surprise (kind of like riding the old street trolley, coming over Hyde street, seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in the background). It was Sunday the 14th largest city in Europe, but there were still not a lot of people out and about.
We all decided a meeting time and place for later in the middle of the shopping district. I figured it would be good to follow my 2 teammates from the Czech Republic because they would know the best places to go. Shout out to Lucie and Jana for being great tour guides for our entire crazy group!
From the large center of town with tons of shops, cafés and restaurants, we starting walking toward another large square. The buildings and architecture were absolutely stunning, but I could not pinpoint exactly what kind of vibe I felt. Sometimes I felt I was walking through Berlin or Munich along the clean cobblestone roads and other times I felt like I was in Florence or Venice with the narrow, winding streets.
Walking passed the old buildings in the square, we found tons of people taking pictures and hanging around. Even though it was Sunday, they were all enjoying the scenery and the beauty Prague had to offer.
Amidst the crowds of people, we heard a baby crying, or what seemed to be baby. A second look caused us to gasp in surprise! It turned out to be a, adult man hidden inside a contraption with his head sticking out and connected to a baby’s body. It was hilarious and very scary in the same moment.
Getting a bit hungry, we decided to stop at U Roldofina – a restaurant, or Stube, with traditional local cuisine. When we walked in, there was a rowdy group of Czech men who were smoking and drinking. They let us know our presence was noted, even though we could not understand what they were saying.
They did not have menus in English, so I ordered my teammate’s favorite dish. Unfortunately, I do not have the name of it, but the meat was soft, juicy and bursting with flavor. The savory meat with a cranberry and crème fraîche topping was a perfect combination! I love sweet and salty mixes, so this was a real surprise! The sauce was like gravy and blended nicely with the meat. The bread dumpling (houskové knedlíky in Czech and Semmelknödel in German) was good, but a little dry for my taste. The consistency was dense and the 4 large pieces were too much for the amount of meat I received. I think if it came with 2 pieces, it would have be a perfect lunch.
When I thought of Prague, I had visions of romance, dreams and the beautiful river by the old city (Altstadt) in my mind. We had not yet seen it on our trip, but everyone kept talking about “the famous Charles bridge” that we were going to. So, I hoped this bridge was exactly what I was waiting for.
The streets seemed to go on forever, but all of a sudden, we turned the corner and I felt a huge gust of wind. The buildings opened and I could see there was a huge part of the city on a hill in the distance. We walked a bit further and saw some statues followed by a small arc. Then, I saw it – the beautiful Vltava river with the city’s famous castle, the St. Nicholas church and Petrin’s Tower in the background. The river is not only beautiful to look at, but also was crucial in Prague’s building construction and salt transportation. The ducks and geese were peacefully swimming around, waiting for tourists to drop pieces of bread or crackers. The sky was a bit cloudy and the water, buildings, skyline seemed to all blend in with each other.
We were cutting our meeting time bit close, so we headed back. We took a different route back to the shopping district, which was so cool, but unfortunate because there were so many interesting things along the way. Everywhere I turned I could take a snap with my iPhone camera. There were crazy statues with mask, museums dedicated to people or famous inventions (one being Steve Jobs), 3D sculptures on the outer building walls and shocking graffiti designs.
One window in particular stole my attention away. I saw the glowing, red color and bright lights from the outside and decided to peep in. Once I saw the golden manikin with the interesting contraption underneath, I lost it. I cracked up so bad! I did not find out if sex machines and toys were invented in Prague, but having the name as one of the most romantic cities in the world, it could quite possibly be true. I did some research after I came home and found their website along with other people’s adventures in the funny, but useful place.
The last image I have of Prague was of the coolest graffiti art I have seen with a positive message. “Hate free zone” was written at the bottom below three impactful graphic faces. It was a good vibe to have taking the tram to go home.