August 18, 2022

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Prague: An unimaginable keep within the Czech capital filled with historical past, tradition and excellent views

After a 30-minute drive from the Vaclav Havel Airport, I arrived on the Boutique Resort Golden Key, a shocking constructing with a very reconstructed look, which earned it a spot on the Louis Vuitton Prague Metropolis Information. A fast stroll close to Prague Citadel and a pint of Staropramen later, it was time for a bunch stroll throughout Charles Bridge to Previous City Sq.. The nice and cozy climate made for the proper backdrop as we took within the space and found centuries-long historical past.

Bohemian glass is among the staples of Czech tradition, having been internationally recognised for its high-quality craftsmanship and element, and what higher approach to expertise this than by attempting to blow glass as an entire novice at PRAGL.

With the assistance of our very proficient glassblowing skilled David, we got down to make a few of our very personal glasses in entrance of the sweltering 1,500 diploma furnace. After a couple of minutes, some suspect blowtorch use and some cups of native Sklář beer, we had our very personal glassware and had been invited for a tour of their fairly unimaginable gallery.

A brief, and barely cooler stroll later, we discovered ourselves at Červený Jelen – or Flying Stag – restaurant for a standard dinner of braised deer leg and Czech staple Carlsbad dumplings. As with all nice eating places, and nations, the pivo (beer) was flowing and made for a wonderful finish to a primary night time in Prague.

Day two was a full detox as we travelled to the fantastic spa city of Poděbrady. The city is standard for its springs and calm environment surrounded by a beautifully-maintained park and trendy cafes. 

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Since 1908, the Spa Poděbrady resort grew to become well-known for carbonated hydrotherapy which has glorious remedy results on varied techniques of the physique, with Czech residents often being prescribed stays in these spa cities to assist with varied illnesses.

The spa was fully renovated over the pandemic and solely opened once more earlier this 12 months, a lot to the delight of the locals and anybody wanting to wash within the therapeutic mineral spring water.

The city additionally had a glasswork manufacturing unit which manufactures the world-renowned Crystal Bohemia with its iconic blue and gold seal. They’re one of many world’s main producers of lead and lead-free crystal and by far and away the biggest producer within the Czech Republic.

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After a tour of the sprawling glassworks campus, a brief drive took us to Přerov nad Labem and the open air museum, which reveals what life was like in 18th century Bohemia. That includes greater than 32 preserved buildings, guests get a style of how individuals lived, realized, labored and maintained a residing over 200 years in the past.

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As the nice and cozy 30-degree summer season continued to beam down on us, what higher time to go to a shocking winery on the outskirts of Prague, permitting for fantastic views of the entire metropolis. St. Claire’s Winery is a chunk of Czech historical past and is only one of eight vineyards surrounding the capital and may be traced again to the 1200s. However it was Charles IV who revolutionised the wine-making capability at St. Claire’s, issuing a decree about winery institution and guaranteeing all appropriate south-facing slopes inside three miles of Prague be planted with grapevines. And what a choice that was.

After a stroll across the winery, admiring the views of town and the outstanding odor of the grapes, we had been taken to a hidden cellar the place we had been greeted with numerous bottles of wine for a tasting, accompanying snacks and a beautiful blast of chilly air. For me, the Riesling, Pinot noir and the Portugieser had been the cream of the crop. Quite handily, our journey to the winery was adopted by a couple of drinks on the Three Fiddles Irish pub reverse our resort. One other glorious alternative!

The humanities are one other staple of Czech heritage, with Prague being the house to the staggering Nationwide Theatre which carried as a lot heritage as any nook of town. First opened in 1881, and once more in 1883 after a devastating fireplace, the spectacular theatre is emblazoned with gold gildings in addition to masterpiece work from a number of the Czech greats like Aleš, Ženišek, Hynais, Myslbek, and others.

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What adopted was one thing fairly surprising. A go to to Břevnov, which acts as not solely an energetic monastery but additionally a brewery. The primary Benedictine monastery was based in 993 AD and has the oldest custom of beer brewing within the Czech Republic. The outdated constructing proved to be the proper basis for a quaint brewery, with the beer samples taking place a deal with. 

The monastery grounds had been immaculately maintained and even featured a tavern the place we stopped for lunch. The beer tasted even higher realizing it had been produced a stone’s throw from the place we had been sat, particularly when paired with Halusky – conventional potato gnocchi with smoked meat and bitter cabbage.

Czech traditions had been on the coronary heart of the journey and the subsequent tour was no exception as we made puppets with grasp puppeteer Pavel Truhlář. As we sat round Pavel’s studio, we got outlines to create our very personal puppets, all based mostly on facets of Czech historical past. I used to be fortunate sufficient to be given Vodnik, or Vodyanoy, an evil water creature spirit. As with most inventive initiatives, I had a grand concept in my head that I couldn’t fairly pull off, however Pavel labored his magic and made it look nice.

As soon as we had nailed the fundamentals of strolling with puppets, we headed again to the Golden Key resort and ready for dinner on the majestic Municipal Home Restaurant the place we had a three-course meal of conventional Czech delicacies. To high it off, the piano participant within the nook devoted “The Lady from Ipanema” to our desk – a wonderful contact. As we continued into the night time, we had been met with the primary occasion of climate to remind us of dwelling and when it rains, it pours. However not even the torrential rain may dampen our temper as we rounded out the night time at a beautiful bar within the coronary heart of Prague.

Day 4 took us to the “Metropolis of Silver” at Kutná Hora. The wealthy wealth of assets within the early days of the Czech Kingdom helped make sure the increase of the nation and we had been fortunate to take the identical path the miners would have taken within the sixteenth century. By means of the 250-metre-long cave system, we had been in a position to seize a glimpse of what life would have been like for these employees tons of of years in the past, albeit with helmets and lights. The superbly preserved cave now attracts 1000’s of vacationers yearly who squeeze their method by the slim passages.

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A guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Web site noticed our group view the interiors of the magnificent Italian Courtroom and Cathedral of St. Barbara, each sights to behold. The craftsmanship and design on show had been actually outstanding, particularly since development of the cathedral began in 1388.

Our final cease within the quaint city of simply 20,000 was the Kutná Hora Chocolatier. It had some scrumptious selections and, most impressively, one of many world’s smallest devoted chocolate museums. On supply was chocolate comprised of camel milk, matcha flavoured and chocolate comprised of 95 % cacao. It would come as no shock to search out out that it gained eight medals on the Worldwide Chocolate Awards simply final month.

Because the journey started to attract to an in depth, we had one final probability to discover Prague earlier than a last supper. My curiosity led me to a botanical backyard earlier than attempting out the Metro system, which definitely offers the London Underground a run for its cash earlier than wandering the streets of the Staré Město (the Previous City) and Josefov (the Jewish Quarter).

Our final dinner was at Restaurant U Labutí, a fantastically secluded eatery lower than 5 minutes away from Prague Citadel, which as soon as once more supplied unbelievable views of town. As with most monuments we had seen throughout our keep, the fortress – which is the biggest historical fortress on the earth – took your breath away with its sheer measurement and immaculate design.

Sadly my time in Prague got here to an finish on Sunday morning. As I made my method again to the airport, I used to be given one last glimpse of the magnificent views Prague needed to supply, grateful for the possibility to go to one of many world’s golden cities.

For extra details about Prague, Bohemia and Czech Republic, go to Czech Tourism.