Follow Helen's tips: czechingin
Hello! I'm Helen Ford and I live and work in Prague. I moved here "accidentally" in 2010 and it was only after I arrived that I really realised what a wonderful place the Golden City is. Silly me.
I work part-time in professional services and fill the rest of my time working as a writer and museum volunteer. I am also an aspiring (and very amateur) photographer and hope to post some photos of local life in Prague. I live and work quite centrally but enjoy exploring all of the different Prague districts with my husband and friends. I'm a keen runner and cyclist so explore Prague on foot and bike, as well as using its marvelous public transport system.
The city changes considerably with the seasons. The winter sees locals tucked away in cosy hospodas (Czech pubs) and warm cafes. Come spring and summer, street-side cafes open up again and locals enjoy the public squares and parks throughout Prague.
Listening to music is relatively affordable in Prague. Any given day will see several operas, classical recitals and jazz performances, as well as modern concerts and summer festivals.
There are some wonderful places to eat and drink in Prague. It's not all dumplings and potatoes (although they really are very tasty too!). Czech cuisine both influenced and has been influenced by the cuisines of its neighbours. There is an emphasis on meat dishes, with game, duck and pork being the most popular. Cakes and pastries are very popular Czech treats. Prague's restaurants also boast quality world-cuisine including modern European, Italian, French, Indian, Afghan and Japanese to name but a few. Prices vary tremendously - it is possible to eat both cheerfully cheaply and extravagantly expensively here.
I studied European history at university and so constantly find Prague a fascinating place to live - the city is filled with memories of the past. Its streets and buildings have witnessed the best and worst of nineteenth and twentieth century history and have been home to countless leading scholars, artists and musicians.
There's so much going on in Prague every day and I hope to share the best of it with you, including local insights on theatre, museums, music cafes, restaurants and bars.
You can read more about my adventures in the Czech capital at czechingin.wordpress.com/
and follow me on twitter @CzechingIn
You can follow Helen's tips as she posts them. Here username is: CzechinginHere are my first three tips, to get you started
:Climb some steps
A visit to Letná Park (Letenské sady) will help you work off all the dumplings and also reward you with a phenomenal view of Prague. Letna Park has space to run, walk skateboard and in-line skate, if you can still move after climbing the several hundred steps to get to the top! If you can't - it is also a lovely place to simply relax. The park includes several places to eat and drink including the small restaurant in the Hanavsky Pavilion. As you walk up to the top of the steps (directly above the north bank of Pa_í_ská Bridge and marked by the massive metronome that over looks the city), turn left and walk for about three minutes. You will come to a beautiful neo-baroque building with cast-iron detail. This building, the Hanavsky Pavilion, was originally created as a ceremonial hall for the Prague National Exhibition in 1891, and today is a bar and restaurant. Good prices, indifferent service, but a beautiful view over the southern side of the city, which makes the climb worthwhile.
Letenské sady 173, 170 00 Praha 7
+420 233 323 641www.hanavskypavilon.cz/ Travel like a local
Many tourists are 'afraid' of using new public transport systems but give it a go - Prague's metro and tram systems really are easy to navigate. The metro system is fully integrated and only has three lines, so it's hard to go too far wrong. Compared to most other capital cities, public transport is inexpensive. You can buy one-trip or all-day tickets at all metro stations (you will need coins for the machines). 18 CZK tickets are for shorter journeys with no changes, 26 CZK for journeys of up to 75 minutes including multiple changes. Validate your ticket before your journey using the little yellow boxes at the top of the escalators. The same boxes are available inside trams, which are super speedy and (if you come from the UK) have a wonderful sense of novelty. Validate your ticket as you board. Tram stops in the center are rarely far apart, so it's not the end of the world if you miss your stop. Stops are announced in advance - “p_í_tí zastávka”(pzheeshtee zastavka) means “next station”.
More detailed information is available, in English, here: www.dpp.cz/en/
If all else fails, central Prague is tiny - walk! A mid-sightseeing lunch
While packing in all the tourist sights is a "must" for most visitors (and the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge and castle really should not be missed), the main tourist areas can at first glance seem a little devoid of original quality restaurants. For a healthy yet appetising lunchtime pit-stop, go to Cukr Kava Limonada. This delightful cafe restaurant is very close to the Charles Bridge, yet easily missed as it is tickets away in a quiet courtyard. It offers brilliant savory pancakes and excellent freshly made tagliatelli. On a hot day, cool down with their elderflower lemonade. In winter, warm up with their decedent hazelnut hot chocolate. Take time to look up and see the traditional decorated ceiling and modern quirky chandeliers (from Prague-based i-material [http://www.i-material.com/]).
Walk north over the Charles Bridge and turn left onto Láze_ská. It's on the right, number 7.
Lázeňská 7, 110 00 Hl.m. Praha-Praha 1, Czech Republic
+420 257 530 628 www.cukrkavalimonada.com/
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