New Year, New City…

I always find New Year is best spent at home and despite a serious bout of envy at a friend’s VIP Times Square experience, this year did not change that. However, I did break tradition slightly, with a somewhat impromptu trip to Prague, and was pleasantly surprised by the bohemian offering of beautiful buildings and winding rivers, as well as the somewhat kitsch, such as the John Lennon Pub (shown below).

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Making my mark on Prague’s only legal graffiti wall.

As tiresome as certain other tourists may be, I stand by the view that in a short break, a walking tour is the best route to making the most of your time and the Prague All Inclusive Tour fit the bill perfectly. The company offer small groups in a plethora of languages the opportunity to see 36 sights in just 6 hours. As crammed in as that may sound, it proved to be a fun and insightful day. Regardless of the questionable refreshments, a 40 minute boat trip was the cherry atop a wonderful tour.

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Full of nooks and crannies, the beauty of Prague – a surprisingly “European” city considering its Communist past – is in discovering the forgotten and overlooked squares and arcades; stumbling upon something even better than what you expected to find. It was in one such square that we found Cafē Pavlina, something of an artisan coffee shop, with a variety of hot drinks almost verging on the ridiculous.

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The Jewish Quarter is most certainly the place to be for anyone craving a high end experience of the Czech capital. In keeping with this, Italian restaurant Cantinetta Fiorentina proffers a warm and inviting atmosphere, offset by the authentic live music to which you can’t help but sway. You can normally judge the quality of a meal by the bread and this was no exception. The bread was warm and varied, the olive oil was rich and a shade of green so vivid my mouth was watering before I’d even tasted it. The only let-down was the price tag; you’ll struggle to find a main for less than £30 amongst the slightly limited menu. The lobster tagliatelle is strongly recommended, though.

For somewhere more humble, the New Town Brewery offers traditional Czech food at reasonable prices, all accompanied by their own brew, available in light or dark. Recommendations:

  • Mushroom soup in a bowl of bread
  • Beef goulash with traditional dumplings

Jo’s provides the perfect place to rest after meandering around the nearby shops; a welcome break from the shiny souvenir-filled streets of the Lesser Town. Where it lacks in size, it compensates in cocktails: happy hour is from 18:00-21:00. Coming out of Jo’s and turning right, you’ll find a neat selection of unique retailers, from a vintage shop to the cheap-as-chips Dárky Gifts, you’ll even find an Absintherie.

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