A Praguematic Holiday
In the early fall, Mary spotted a bargain offer of a three night stay in Prague for a remarkable £139 per person, including air travel. We had only been there briefly in 1991, just after the involuntary departure of the Russians, when most of the city was still in the condition which one encounters in the fiction of Franz Kafka. We took advantage of the offer, and then a chance meeting with a Czech who was resident in London resulted in the recommendation of four excellent pub restaurants, the sort favoured by natives. This proved to be one of the best holiday decisions we had ever made. Here are the fortuitous results:
Trial and Tribulation A Kafkaesque beginning to our holiday, but with a happy ending.
TO EACH HIS OWN/GOD’S COUNTRY In which I invent an old and a new Prague inside my head.
Architecture for Architecture’s Sake A unique city which has been allowed to be beautiful!
Living a Normal Life The Franz Kafka Museum, which reveals that the so-called real world is itself a global museum.
Mary’s Prague Which brings us back to earth again.
There are over sixty Michelin recommended restaurants in Prague, including two with single stars. Most of them are French, Italian, Asian, Mediterranean, “International” and “Modern”. That wasn’t what we were looking for.
By a stroke of luck, when I renewed the Eyewitness Prague travel guide at our local community library, one of the librarians on duty was from Prague. I asked her if she could recommend any restaurants of the sort that locals go to when they want a good traditional Czech meal. She promised to consult friends who are living there and get in touch with me.
A few days later I got an email from her with four recommendations. One of them I had read about as a bar/restaurant that set out to be both honest and affordable, “even for students”. The other three were traditional family-style eating and drinking places, all of which began with “U”, which may be translated as “At the sign of”. None of the four were in the Michelin Guide but all four of them had very promising websites and all but one were within easy walking distance from our hotel.
U Pinkasu This great rambling pub/restaurant built its reputation, starting in 1843, on Pilsner Urquell, the newly-invented bottom-fermented beer which was to become the most widely consumed tipple in Prague.
U Vejvodu Another great historic pub/restaurant, with portions as monumental as its architecture.
U Bulinu Excellent food served up in a restaurant which is an extended Kafkaesque joke.
Lokal Excellent and affordable quality, “even for students”!
As I was finishing the last page of this travelblog, the BBC began an hour's broadcast of Czech advent music from Bethlehem Chapel, Prague.
SCHREIER Missa pastoralis
TRADITIONAL Czech christmas Carols
Czech Radio Children's Choir
Blanka Kulinska (director)
Brno Radio Folk Instrument Orchestra (BROLN)
Frantisek Cerny (conductor)
You may listen to it HERE