I’ll be honest and say I really didn’t know much about Prague. The bestie and her husband went last fall and fell in love. Almost every person I’ve discussed this city with has fallen in love with it. Like, if-I-wasn’t-in-a-committed-long-term-relationship-I’d-marry-it kind of love. It’s safe to say my expectations were pretty high. So, when Boy Child’s soccer team signed up for a tournament in the Czech capital, we put our explorer hats on. Okay, not really. We don’t own explorer hats. But could you imagine how ridiculously awesome that would be?
After packing up all of our earthly possessions (with the exception of a few air mattresses and an Xbox) to be shipped to the U.K., we were ready to the road. Boy Child decided that we were pretty uncool to travel with (not really…he wanted to hit up the stadium tour in Mainz on the way), he left early with his team. I had to work a full day, so we hit the road around 4:30 p.m.
Trip fail #1: Don’t leave at 4:30 p.m.
Seriously. Not a good idea. We hit traffic jam, after traffic jam, after traffic jam. Our 5.5-hour drive turned into a 9-hour ordeal. By the time we made it to Prague, it was after midnight. Let me tell you … the shady parts of the city are made even more shady by the sheer amount of people stumbling on the streets and in the streets. We were pretty happy to make it to the hotel.
Trip win #1: Hotel Duo.
The hotel we stayed at was pretty awesome. You can tell that they’re trying to keep up the appearances (even though our door didn’t quite close correctly), and that it was probably upscale back in the day. The staff was super friendly, and the bed was surprisingly comfortable. The only draw back is that the interior corridors were painted in yellows and oranges, which gave it a slightly Overlook Hotel vibe. It was also really busy with teams from the tournament. Boy Child stayed in the hostel next door.
We were bad parents and slept in a little late. However, we made up for it by bringing cereal and such for the Girl Child, so she was able to nibble some breakfast before we headed out to Boy Child’s game.
Trip win and fail #2: The Prague metro.
We discovered that Boy Child’s games were spread all over the city like a picnic blanket. Rather than drive, we decided to take the metro to the zone where his team was. The metro in Prague is quirky, hence the win and the fail. It’s cheap, efficient and super easy to use. The stations are very reminiscent of the Communist era and still have the wood paneling along the escalators. Unfortunately, the way that the artwork is hung along the walls mixed with how stupid fast the escalators are, it’s easy to get a little disoriented and feel like you’re traveling sideways.
Trip win and fail #3: River cruise on the Vlatava River
One of the perks about Boy Child’s all-inclusive trip was that we had the option to purchase extra tickets if the rest of the fam wanted to attend whatever sight-seeing thing they were doing. Through our travels, we’ve learned that doing a river cruise through a city is a really cool way to see it. So, the whole fam bam joined in for the Vltava River cruise. The cruise itself was pretty neat. We sailed past beautiful landmarks and saw the Prague Castle perched on the hill above the city. However, I would highly recommend not going with a bunch (like 30 or so) of sweaty kids on a hot day. It’s just not the best smelling combo, and some of the kids were a little restless.
Trip win #4: Trdelník
I can’t pronounce it, but good lord, I could eat this morning, noon and night. After our river excursion, we said goodnight to Boy Child and hit the old town with Girl Child. We were getting a little hungry and there were plenty of food vendors lined along the streets. Seeing as we hadn’t made any reservations and we weren’t starving, we opted to try Trdelník. Oh. My. This doughy deliciousness is sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar love, wrapped around a wooden stick and cooked over a flame. Once it’s baked enough, you can ask for ice cream, Nutella or whatever your heart desires inside. Or, you can just snarf it down plain. Yes. Just yes.
When we woke up on our third day, we decided to drive to Boy Child’s games in yet another area of Prague. The rain had decided to show up, so it was spitting intermittently on us. I have to say, the league did a great job with the team match ups. The matches were close and the kids were excited that they were able to win a few. I really hope that the league keeps the kids in this tournament for years to come. It was an awesome experience.
Trip win #5: Kozlovna Apropos
The Czech Republic is known not just for it’s unique architecture, but also for it’s beer — more specifically pilsners. After Boy Child’s last games, Husband, Girl Child and myself headed back into the old town. We had hoped to cross over the Charles Bridge, but it was so packed with tourists, it just didn’t appeal to us. Instead, we decided to get out of the weather and find a place for some good eats. We checked Yelp and read the menus outside of the establishments. After a good 20 minutes of scouring menus for something that Girl Child’s picky palate would find acceptable, we ended up at a really cool pub … Kozlovna Apropos. You can read the review on Stripes Europe. Long review short, you should totally go.
When it was time to go, we loaded up the car early, walked over to Boy Child’s hostel and decided to hit the road early. Boy Child didn’t want to experience another 8 hours on the bus, so we were cool enough to drive with again.
Trip fail #4: Driving home.
I think we need to look at events going on whenever we travel over a weekend. I had forgotten that this weekend was the notorious Rock am Ring music festival in Nuremberg. Guess which city we had to drive through? Nuremberg. Not only was traffic a lot nutty, but every McDonald’s within a 30-mile radius was teeming with hung over fest-goers. Husband and I had to come up with a few creative answers to some of the questions from the kids.
Prague is a beautiful city. We enjoyed our time there, but it was so full of tourists that it made it hard to really explore. The churches, astronomical clock and the squares were stunning. However, I wouldn’t say that I necessarily fell in love with it. Can I say that I fell in like with it? Maybe if we had visited for a different reason, my feelings would be different. However, if you’re looking for a city that has a complex past, vintage Eastern-bloc influence and is still trying to find its identity, Prague is definitely worth the time.