I've visited Prague before but it was interesting to see the changes (at least to me) in the place since I last visited in 2010.
Firstly, we were visiting in summer this time. It was really hot everywhere, but fortunately quite a few places had air-con (compared to Berlin). Secondly, the customer service has improved significantly. When I first visited Prague, I couldn't help but feel that the place was overrun by tourists (it probably still is in reality) and this was accepted very begrudingly. As a tourist who tries to avoid the big tourist masses where practicable, I couldn't but help feel unwelcome at times, a strange paradox where many were chasing the tourist dollar but did not want to deal with the tourists!
This time, Prague felt a lot more laid back, with great customer service. We stayed in a hotel close to the city centre where Chris was speaking at a conference. It was a rather odd place, with the tradition of many European cities of requiring you to hand in your keys when you left the hotel and pick them up again upon arriving back-it makes sense for group rooms when there is only one key, but was annoying when the reception staff were busy with long winded enquiries like teaching a woman how to put the hotel wifi onto her phone.
I didn't do all that much really as I did a fair amount of site seeing the last time I was in Prague. I walked around, went out for lunch whilst Chris was at the conference, sampled a few bars here and there, tried to avoid the sun and did lots of reading, I was also able to catch up for dinner with a dear friend of mine from my time studying at Melbourne University who lives in Prague, which was fantastic.
As a bit of a foodie I love looking in supermarkets and markets when i travel. I laughed when i entered the foyer of this supermarket as it had a plentiful supply of beer before you even got to insider the supermarket!
I had a quick look at the vegan options, more for curiousity than anything else:
went to a couple of great veggie restaurants, Country Life and Clear Head-Lehka Hlava. Country Life is a cafeteria style restaurant with bain marie dishes of salads, pastas and cooked mains which is purchased by weight. I had a lovely plate of fresh salads, a delicious sunflower creme potato bake and soy medallions.
The restaurant is right near the tourist square which is oddly populated with recipes featuring traditional winter Czech fare (Pork knuckle and other pork dishes, stewed cabbage, potato dishes). I get the idea of eating locally when travelling, but surely seasonality and weather must come into it? Can't think of anything worse than a massive cooked, hot meal at lunch time with it's 38 degrees celsius! I actually gasped at the size of one woman's meal, it looked like what would serve a whole family in most homes!
I've been to Clear Head-Lehka Hlava before, but it was great to go there again and enjoy a big vegan antipasto platter with my friend. I didn't take any photos as the restaurant is quite dark, but it's a lovely place with different coloured rooms, gorgeous art and lovely staff. Definitely worth a visit.
It was also quite odd to see how many English branded businesses had taken up residency in Prague.
I was quite intrigued by this book (and the preceding one) about cooking with wild plants and herbs, it also ties into a Czech tv show, but I haven't seen any translated copies available.
Prague is a great place for a weekend away. It's only 4 hours by coach from Berlin and is cheap, with plenty of interesting things to look at. I'll definitely be back soon-when it's cooler!