The Golden City. Once you visit Prague, it is clear why it is called so.
The Vltava. (I keep hearing the melody playing softly in my head as I look upon the city, Bedřich Smetana on my mind). And all the bridges of the Vltava river in Prague, what a sight!
As I walk the streets of Prague Castle, I deeply inhale trying to define the scent of the city. It is wintertime, crispy cold and I feel trails of humidity coming from the great river of Vltava upwards to the hill, smell of snow and wet cobblestone pavement combined with mossy scent emanating from the gothic architecture surrounding me.
Prague, Praha, Prag: an amazing city with a rich history. Dating back to times of Charles IV – the Holy Roman Emperor, hosting Habsburg Monarchy, marked by the post-IIWW Communist Era and the Prague Spring. Even the revolution against the one-party rule was performed softly, thus named the Velvet Revolution. The Prague Castle also hosts the office of the Czech president: my guide speaks with contempt about freshly elected Miloš Zerman, who enters his office at 11 AM. Allegedly, he said that no one sane starts to work at 7 AM, shocks the public with his statements about migrants, and calls EU Parliament „a bunch of cowards“…I wonder what would Charles IV have said about this…
Among many famous citizens of Prague, Franz Kafka lived and worked here. When I approached the Franz Kafka Museum, the scent of freshly made gingerbread cookies and chocolate filled pancakes filled the air.
I am reminiscent of Kafka, thinking about his life story, trying to recall everything I know about him. There’s a thin line between genius and insanity…there’s a thin line. Feeling thankful that Max Brod did not burn all his work, as he was ordered to do by Kafka himself.
As you already know, drinking beer is inevitable here. Czechs are very proud of their fine beers and history of beer making:
Not only can you taste different brews, but I also discovered a whole line of beer-based cosmetics in a small shop featuring different handicrafts:
I stumbled upon Manufaktura, small shops with different lines of natural cosmetics, including Eau De Toilette Men & Bicycle: a refined citrus-wood fragrance with the notes of bergamot, mint, sage, and vetiver. The Men´s range exploits a unique vegetable complex of natural extracts of traditional, mostly Czech. Beer cosmetics as well, of course: all the products contain the pure Czech beer, brewer´s yeast or hops extract and are accompanied by the delicious bitter-sweet aroma, rich with vitamin B.
One thing you cannot miss: Czech glass. Glass in the Czech Republic enjoys a great reputation and is famous in every continent. Crystal as well! Crystal everywhere! When you stroll through the winding streets of Prague, all the little stores dotted around display masses of beautiful vases, chalices, necklaces, plates, beverage sets, rings, pendants, and several other products made from glass, and it is difficult to choose your perfect souvenir.
One of the most famous glass and crystal manufacturers is Moser, with a truly rich history. In 1873. Ludwig Moser was appointed court supplier of glass to emperor Franz Josef I, to start with. Even today, as I am told, there is no royal court that doesn’t own Moser glasses: hand-blown, hand-cut and polished, available with gilded decorations with 24 K gold. Pricey but exceptional!
Let’s not forget Swarowski. Almost everyone is familiar with Swarowski glass. With factories in forty countries across the globe and 25000 employees, this brand offers premium quality crystal products of unparalleled design. Not many people are aware though, that this company based in Austria actually originated in the Czech Rep. Daniel Swarovski, the founder, comes from the North of the Czech Republic, where he learned the glass-making craft.
Bohemia was my choice and I found this perfume bottle:
There are so many things to do and see in Prague, but I would definitely suggest you take a boat cruise on the Vltava.
Seeing Prague from the river Vltava is a unique experience and offers a way to see the many historical buildings and monuments from a different perspective. Drink a famous beer (or two…). Walk around the St. Vitius Cathedral, stroll the Old Town Square. Take a look at the Lennon Wall, walk over the Charles Bridge. Immerse yourself in its vivid nightlife. Have an Absinthe experience. I did, just because of the combination of grand wormwood, green anise, sweet fennel, and all the other herbs.
Eat a Trdelnik! Similar to a cinnamon roll, a Trdelnik is a dough that is wrapped around a pole, grilled, and then topped with sugar. It’s a delicious treat and it can be found all over Prague and it smells yummy. Street food is fun here! Visit a beer pub and bear in mind that food portions are enormous. This serves four, so they told us. My guess is that this serves eight grown-up people:
If you have enough time, I suggest visiting Krumlov as well. is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, with specific architecture dating from the 14th century, a wonderful small town with so much to see in.
As I entered the antiques shop on the main road in Krumlov, I nearly fainted. I found a treasure of these small wonders, each one different, pendants or just perfume bottles:
Sadly, the Astronomical Clock in Prague was dissembled for repair and it will remain so until August 31, 2018. That’s a good reason for me to return to Prague… For those who haven’t visited Prague yet, I highly recommend a stay in this great city. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl