I have to agree with Franz Kafka on this one: ‘Prague never lets you go’, even when you try really hard.
I was here exactly 7 years ago, in January of 2005. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s I had this little tradition of celebrating my birthday here every year.
This ‘vertical Venice’ was my favourite place in all of Europe, but with time it became way too touristy. No surprises about that.
It is truly an amazing city, replete with a huge amount of culture to absorb. Hidden behind the Iron Curtain for a long time, it is now blooming with a true, royal shine.
The Golden City (one of many names of Prague) manages to have everything you could possibly want. From beautiful churches to imposing castles, from museums to numerous art galleries, from hip bars to outstanding restaurants. It is a perfect mix of beauty, melancholy and bohemian nature.
The number of sights is overwhelming. Hradcany Castle (the biggest medieval castle in the world) with the enchanting large St. Vitus Cathedral. The Old Town Square with its Astronomical Clock surrounded by charming baroque and rococo architecture.
Charles Bridge offers marvelous views, which I love the most in the early morning hours. Then there are the outstanding St. Nicolas Church in the Lesser Quarter and the Jewish Quarter which consists beautiful, historic buildings comprising six synagogues.
All travel guides say that without seeing those you haven’t truly visited Prague.
For me, personally, you haven’t experienced Prague without a coffee at the Europa café. Getting lost in the beguiling, charismatic streets-cape to find yourself becoming friends with a lady from a little tea shop (when I have stopped to ask for directions).
Without the galleries and museum hopping to discover some gems, like the Mucha or Sudek exhibitions. Without a day spent on Petrin Hill or a cruise on the Vltava River followed by a perfect evening in the Opera House.
I have recently gotten a bit sentimental about old times and decided to come to this ‘Paris of the 90s’ with my dear friend Miss Top Model to celebrate my birthday.
This was a great decision. I haven’t had such superb fun in a long time.
We were staying at the Augustin Hotel mainly due to the spa they have there. But the bar downstairs won me over by serving a Chelsea Rose cocktail. Which automatically jumped to Number 1 on my Top Cocktails Bar List! Thus winning over 223 Bar in Tel Aviv and Experimental Cocktails Bar in Paris. To die for.
It took me few minutes to be in love with Prague again. It was a great weekend. Starting with dinner at the Bellevue Restaurant and followed by a crazy night at the La Bodeguita del Medio Bar, where we partied till the wee hours.
There are plenty of great night clubs in this city, like Roxy, Karlovy Lazne or Duplex, but Bodeguita is always my first choice.
Authentic, real, tourist free. With margaritas in all colours flowing all night and people dancing on every piece of free space, not excluding the tables, chairs and bar.
Sunday night we celebrated my birthday in the restaurant of a great chef, Riccardo Lucque-Aromi. I loved the atmosphere, the cake surprise and magical grappa. Which never got empty no matter how much we tried.
Conclusions: More travelling with Miss Top Model and more crazy weekends in Prague will definitely be coming soon.