Aug 31, 2012

Adventures in Prague: What to Do - Part 1

Now, this is not something D and I would normally plan to do in a foreign country we've never visited before. We usually stick to the sight-seeing by day and a nice dinner with drinks out on the town by night (or on the nights we're too pooped to get dolled up and find a place for dinner, we do room service and spend hours laughing at the TV shows that other countries come up with...we're simple people). But on this particular trip to Prague, our friends and frequent travel buddies, Matt & Jenny, thought we'd do something a little unique our first night out. I mean, we were already staying in a brewery, why not add a little more character to this vacation?! Prague Pub Crawl for the win! I must say, we had a blast and a half. We got to wander around Prague, try 4 wildly different bars and Czech beers, and sampled Prague's alcohol claim to fame, Absinthe. This girl right here, not a fan. I don't like anything that tastes like anise or looks and smells like jet fuel. Needless to say, I didn't bring a bottle home with me as a souvenir. Although, you could buy a bottle in almost every shop in Prague. Czechs love them some Absinthe. Blech.

From 8pm to midnight we crawled our way around Prague's night clubs, sipping drinks and laughing foreigners...which, by the way, were out in full force. I'm not sure there was a single Czech person in any of these bars. Mostly Germans, go figure. We even struck up a conversation with a big group of Germans who ended up buying us all a round of beers. It's funny, we always seem to find ourselves amongst the Germans every where we go and all they want to talk about is Peyton Manning. Do we know him? Do we like him? Have we been to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl? Umm, really? No, no, and no. Truth is, all we Americans want to talk about is what the German word for shit is. No, really. We've gotta know all the dirty German words there are, so how else would we learn them? Oh to be a fly on the wall of that bar, huh? Alcohol induced conversations with foreigners are the best. Wanna know what's even cooler? We all got free t-shirts. Well, they came with the $25 pub crawl package (along with that free shot of Absinthe and a welcome beer at each bar)...but, hey, who wouldn't want a Prague Pub Crawl t-shirt? No one, that's who. Friends, if bar hopping in a foreign country is your cup of tea, I'd definitely recommend the Prague Pub Crawl. It'll bring you right back to your college days in 2.5 seconds. Promise.


 {Our German friends. That guy in the front...yeah...we didn't talk to him much. For obvious reasons.}

 Ok, now for some slower paced touristy things to do in Prague. How about a stroll through Old Town Square, one of the most beautiful and historic areas of central Prague?

 

Make sure you stop and check out the Old Town Hall and the hard-to-miss Astronomical Clock plastered to the facade of the building. The clock was installed in 1410 and is considered the 3rd oldest functioning astronomical clock in the world. One of the coolest features of the clock is the "Walk of the Apostles" that happens on the hour, every hour. All 12 Apostles make an appearance across the front of the clock as well as other moving sculptures, like a skeleton (who represents Death) striking the time and a zodiac calendar dial covered in medallions to represent the month.

As you keep walking through the Old Town Square, you'll notice a commanding, gothic inspired church hovering over the square skyline called The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn or Tyn Church. Tyn Church is quite impressive, having two unsymmetrical spires that can be seen from almost anywhere in Prague. As lovely as it is to see during the day, it's the nighttime sky and uplighting along the church walls that creates an ethereal ambiance that beckons you to the town square by night. Oh and if you're an astronomy nerd, you'll appreciate seeing the grave of famed Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe below your feet as you walk through the church.


Hungry? No, we're in Prague people. Ha...see what I did there? I kill myself. Anywho, if you do need to eat, I know of a lovely restaurant in the heart of Old Town Square that you've gotta try. Ladies and gents...Il Toro Negro Steakhouse. The restaurant has an AMAZING view of the astronomical clock and is in the perfect spot for my favorite vacation pastime...people watching! Come on, you guys know you do it, too. Some of the best people watching in the world happens while you're on vacation. It's a fact, but I digress. We dined al fresco on blackened tuna with olive tapenade, chargrilled bacon burgers, and one of the yummiest berry mojitos I've ever put in my mouth. With such an amazing view and reasonable menu prices, I'd say Il Toro Negro is worth a stop, even if it's only for one of their giant ice cream sundaes. Holy cow, they looked amazing.



As if a tuna steak in the middle of Prague wasn't already delicious enough, if you walk around the corner, towards the back side of the Town Hall and astronomical clock, you'll find this stand:


Trdelniks. Confession: I ate 3 of these while in Prague. They are outta this world! Basically, a Trdelnik is a sweet pastry made from rolled dough that's wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with a sugar/walnut topping. People were flocking to these sands by the dozens. And rightly so. They're addicting and quite possibly my favorite stand food ever. Take that, German pretzels!


 Ok, I think that's enough info for one post. We'll continue our tour of Prague later...you've barely seen anything yet! Now, D and I are off to Ramstein to do some shopping and enjoy our time NOT TRAVELING on this 4 day holiday weekend. We had plans to jet off to Belguim for the Brussels Beer Festival, but cancelled our trip last minute. We're pooped, guys. After traveling and entertaining friends for the last 4 weeks, Team Coté needs a break. Not to mention my poor apartment looks like a nuclear bomb went off in it. So, we're taking this long weekend to relax, recoup, and clean...obviously. To all my friends and family...and all you lovely people out in blog land, HAPPY LABOR DAY to you! Enjoy your last official weekend of summer! BRING ON THE FALL, BABY! :)

Aug 30, 2012

Swap Sponsor Spotlight:Round 2


I've got a few more lovely bloggers for you guys to meet! Head on over to their little slices of blog land and leave some love, y'all!

Hi! I’m Erica, a happily married mama of two “rainbows,” living on the Gulf Coast. One year after our oldest daughter was born, I traded in my life as an elementary art teacher for the life of a SAHM. I am new to the blogging world and thrilled to be a part of a community made up of some of the most talented and creative men and women I have ever met. Raising Rainbows is a blog where I share articles on faith, marriage, parenting, and everything in between. I hope you’ll stop by! A girl can never have too many friends!

I'm Tamara, a small town girl who is learning to love life in the big city. I am a newlywed, married to my high school sweetheart. I am a cat lover, but a certain little dachshund has stolen my heart. This blog is to document our newlywed life and all the fun along the way!
Hey We Took the Road Less Traveled readers! I am Sally from over at Me+Life+Coffee. I am British and proud, but I have just relocated to the USA (for the second time in my life) after completing a year of Univeristy in The Netherlands....tep I am becoming quite the pro on surviving culture shock! I love to travel, embrace new cultures, and I try to capture my adventures on film as I go. When you stop by Me+Life+Coffee, you can expect to find posts on my travels and everyday adventures as I get used to living in the mountains. Y'all are welcome anytime- stop by and say hi!


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Discovery Street started as a blog about my wedding and turned into a lifestyle blog which covers topics ranging from marriage, faith, travels, DIY, recipes, thrifting, pregnancy and soon, parenthood. I love having a space to document life and I'm humbled that people enjoy reading about it.  

Aug 28, 2012

Adventures in Prague: Getting There & Where to Stay

If you've been thinking about taking a trip to Prague, Czech Republic, but have no clue where to stay, what to do, or where to start in the planning process...wonder no more! Instead of doing my usual trip recap with simple words about how fun Prague was and just bits and pieces of info about what we did and saw, I decided to give a more behind the scenes look at travel, so you too can go, see, and do all the same fun things we did without having to spend hours scouring the internet for ideas. Sound nice? I thought you'd like that. ;) 

How to get there?: We drove. It's only a 4 hour drive from where we live in Germany, so that was a done deal. Now, with that being said, we knew we didn't want to drive INTO central Prague. It's a big, busy city filled with tons of cyclists and pedestrians (and our hotel didn't offer parking), so we opted to park our car on the outskirts of town at one of the many Park & Ride gated lots and took the metro into the city. The P&R lot cost us about 200 Czech Crowns ($10) for the whole 3 day weekend...and the metro was fairly easy to use and, of course, cheap!


Where to stay?: My go-to website for booking hotel rooms is Booking.com. Many of the hotels listed on their website offer free cancellation, so if you you've already booked a place but found something different and cheaper, you can cancel your previous booking and re-book a new place at no cost! You don't know how many times I've booked 3 different hotels for one destination and at the last minute narrowed it down to the one we really loved. It's good to have options, ya know?

For our trip to Prague, we knew we wanted to do something unique. So, we booked a room at a brewery. The oldest working brewery in Prague, mind you. The brewery/hotel is called U Medvídkû and we practically paid pennies for our stay (I'm talking $220 per couple for 2 nights in a quad room) with free breakfast, wifi, and a mere 2 minute walk to Prague's infamous Old Town. Oh and did I mention the slew of yummy Czech food and beer selections just a walk down the stairs? Nice, right?




Seconds after we checked into the hotel, we immediately went down to the brewery (I mean, duh, what did you expect?) to try their famous X33 beer...a beer that has 13% alcohol content and a sweet, caramely flavor. The brewery claims it's the strongest beer in the world, but it's not. I'm aware of a few breweries back in the states that make stronger. Sorry, Prague, you didn't win that one. The boys loved the X33...me, not so much. The brewery ambiance was fantastic, though. Felt very Eastern European. And I did enjoy their hearty portion of Beef Stroganoff. Party in my mouth!


First few hours in Prague...so far, so good! After trying some of U Medvídkû's finest, we made our way outside to start exploring Prague a bit. Right outside our hotel was a little alley way that was littered with shops, gelato stands, and some frightening art. This bronze man was hanging from a bar almost 4 stories up from the street. At first glance, we thought this guy was about do do something really, really stupid. But after standing there, waiting for him to fall, we realized this was Prague's strange way of showcasing art. Everyone that walked by first gasped, then laughed hysterically when they realized he was bronze. Neat and frightening all in the same breath. That "he", by the way, is famed Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who was born in Frieburg, which is now part of the Czech Republic. The artist, David Cerny, created this 'Man Hanging Out' to signify Freud's constant struggle with the fear of his own death. Strange, no? 



As the sun began to set on beautiful Praha...we made our way down to the Old Town to enjoy Prague in a different way. Prague Pub Crawl, anyone? Stay tuned!

Aug 24, 2012

Friday Letters

Dear Germany,
You thought you were going to get me in that heat wave you brought on this week, didn't you? Yes I may have walked around in just my underpants in my A/C-less house for 4 days straight, sweated at the slightest movement away from an oscillating fan, and watched my favorite blue candles melt right before my eyes in the living room, but I didn't spontaneous combust like the German at the grocery store told me I would. Take that, you masochists!
{Seriously, get some A/C Europe! What are you trying to prove?!?}

Dear Hair,
You are WAY too long. I'm starting to feel like Cher, always flipping my hair from shoulder to shoulder. I saw this picture of you and thought...dang...girl needs a hair cut (and color, yikes!). Think I can wait till I'm home in December and go to my favorite salon? Fat chance. I can't do anything with you. Not to mention, you get caught under my armpits...and that's just gross...and painful. Shooting off my hair flare now. H-E-L-P.

Dear Girl Scout Crunch Bars,
OMG. I die for you. If it wasn't for my sweet SIL sending you in a care package to us this week, I'd never know you existed. But, now that I do, I can't get enough of you. You are (dare I say?!) BETTER than the cookies. Gasp! It's true. SIL sent enough for both D and I to try each flavor...but, I might eat you all. Sorry, hubby.
 {Have you guys tried these? SEND MORE AIMES! ;) }

Dear White Collar,
Also known as the greatest show currently on TV. Why it took me so long to get on board with you, I'll never know. But, I'm glad I did. Matt Bomer is some major eye candy...and pretty much the only reason you ever came on my radar. I'm well aware your leading man bats for the other team, so to speak, but I could care less. I could watch him fight crime, steal art, and banter with that bald guy from Sex and the City for days. Which reminds me, I STILL haven't seen Magic Mike. MUST change that.
{Oh my goodness. Yum, right?}

Dear London,
Guess who's coming to see you today?! TEAM COTE!! You are, in fact, the greatest city in the entire world and I cannot wait to explore more of you! I've got us tickets to see Jersey Boys at Prince Edward Theatre, a tea time scheduled at Kensington Palace, and a WICKED COOL SURPRISE for my handsome husband that he might pee his pants over. I plan on getting his reaction on tape...the excitement, not the peeing. London round two, let's do this!
{You can follow all our fun in London via my Instagram stream! Username: CaseyCote}

Happy Friday, friends!

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