Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter in Prague

We just returned from our latest adventure - spending Easter in the beautiful city of Prague. All I can say is that I am so incredibly thankful that we live just a short drive away from this amazing city because this weekend, as lovely as it was, also happened to be downright - COLD! I had been watching the weather for at least a week, so I knew it wasn't going to be the lovely spring weather we had hoped for, but never in a million did I think we'd be battling a blizzard and frigid temps. It made for some chilly memories, creative pictures, and a lot of snuggling and wine drinking. When you sum it up that way, it doesn't sound all that bad now, does it?

As I mentioned in my previous post (here), our friends joined us on this latest excursion. Our drive into Prague took us right through the town where they live, so we stopped off at their place to caravan into the Czech Republic. We were greeted with delicious french toast - can't ask for a more fantastic way to start a weekend with friends. The drive was easy as pie. A mere three hours from our house near Bamberg. When we visited Prague almost five years ago, never did I imagine I'd have the opportunity to live just a short drive away from Prague.

Through our favorite tour guide, Rick Steves, I was able to find a great B&B that sat in an easy to get to location just south of the Old Town called Lida Guest House. The accommodations provided everything we needed and our hosts were amazing. As soon as we arrived, he met us with a smiling face and after we got our things inside, he sat us down over a cup of tea and gave us the lay of the land. We were told about all the best public transportation options, what to see, how to get there, and what to avoid. If we had been ready and willing, he also could have signed us up for a concert, a tour, or anything else our hearts desired. Here is a peek at our cozy little room:

The biggest reason we chose Prague for our Easter destination was because we had heard amazing things about Prague's Easter Market. Not unlike the Weihnachtmarkts here in Germany, they set up wooden huts throughout Old Town and Wenceslas Square. Once we got our things settled into our hotel rooms, we packed up the kids and headed into town to enjoy the Easter Market. We figured despite the frigid temps, we'd still enjoy the handmade crafts and traditional goodies you could find there this time of year.

Our first stop was taking the street car to Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí). Big R and I both liken this area to perhaps Time Square in New York City. It's not really a square, per se, but instead of wide boulevard full of posh hotels and both high end and commercial stores. This time of year, it is also one of the locations for the Easter Market.

It didn't take long for us to discover Trdleniks - our new favorite market treat. It's a hot, sugary coated pastry.

They roll sweet dough and wrap it around a metal rod and then place it over hot coals to let it bake. Then they roll it in sugar or coat it with Nutella - literally anything your heart desires. It's delicious!

Our leisurely stroll through the Easter Market took us from the New Town (Nové město) to the beautiful Old Town (Staré Město) - my personal favorite location in Prague. Here we found more handmade crafts like brightly colored hand painted Easter eggs...

or handwoven bags and clothing, which I quickly fell in love with so much so that I found a handbag to proudly call my own...

It was a really nice Easter Market, but I have to be honest, it hardly stands up to some of the Weihnachtsmarkts we were lucky enough to experience this past holiday season throughout Germany. Are we spoiled or what?!

Because we have little r and our friends have a sweet little six-month old girl, we weren't exactly set on visiting museums or even doing much touring through castles and churches. Instead, we soaked up as much of our surroundings as we could. The weather and terrible lighting simply created a challenge for Big R to capture the character of Prague in the most artistic means possible. We ended up with some great pictures despite the lousy conditions. Here are a few of my favorites:

In front of the Powder Tower (Prašná brána) heading into Old Town
The Clock Tower in Old Town
Church of Our Lady before Týn in Old Town
View from the Clock Tower looking down onto the Old Town square
In front of the astronomical clock in Old Town
Yes, that is snow!
The Lennon Wall... place where protested by painting graffiti of John Lennon to protest communism
Knights of Malta now own the wall and still allow graffiti to portray messages
Church of Our Lady before Týn in Old Town by night
Gateway to the Charles Bridge by night
Prague Castle (Hradčany) by night
To say it was uncomfortably cold is by no means an exaggeration. There's something about the cold coming uninvited in the spring after you've already been teased with warm rays of sunshine for several weeks. You could feel it in the air. We weren't prepared for it, and I don't think the locals were appreciating it much either. We actually found ourselves in a blizzard when we were entering the walls of the Prague Castle! Yes, a blizzard. It was unreal and just no where near as welcomed as it would have been in November when we rejoice in the first snow fall.

We still managed to have a wonderful time with our friends in Prague. We ate at some fabulous restaurants - everything from a "train" themed eatery where your drinks arrive by model train...

...(there was at least one of us extremely excited by this unique way to receive your beverages), to lunch below the castle in a charming local restaurant, to eating outside (yes, outside, it's amazing what a few space heaters, a tent, and warm fuzzy blankets can do to keep you toasty) at an Italian restaurant (the food was so good little r ate an entire pizza on his own!).

My personal favorite part of the trip though was our Easter Sunday morning ride around Prague in a horse carriage. My hubby is a hopeless romantic, and I'm liking this new family tradition we've started. What a fabulous way to see the romantic side of an old city... it's worth every penny...

Our last morning in Prague we were welcomed by some sunshine (finally!), so we visited the grounds of the Vyšehrad castle, which was just a short walk from our hotel. The castle gardens provided a really pretty view of old Prague from the south. Big R enjoyed getting a few pictures with some decent light. I just enjoyed the morning stroll and the beautiful rays of sunshine.

We'll be going back, and you know I mean that :)


  1. Wow, Prague is beautiful! And that pastry sounds phenomenal!

  2. It is really a beautiful city and the pastry WAS delicious!!!