Prague Trip Report
23-30th May 2009
This is a holiday for two middle aged guys who have travelled to Prague several times in the past, the main point of the holiday was just to relax ,spend some time at the beer festival and generally go with the flow with very few specifics planned.
Saturday 23rd May.
Left from Edinburgh airport at 8.15 am on the Jet2.com flight to Prague, left on time and arrived on time, a great start.
We had pre booked Prague Airport Shuttle http://www.prague-airport-shuttle.com/
To take us to our hotel and there to meet us in the arrivals hall was Chris the owner who whisked us to our hotel in no time.
We stayed at the Best Western Hotel Pav in Kremencova http://www.hotel-pav.cz/en/ which is a pretty central location. The Hotel was fine in a great location.
We were a bit early for check in so left our bags at the hotel and went to U Medvidku http://www.umedvidku.cz/ for a beer and some lunch, the place was a great deal quieter than the last time we were in there, but food, beer and service was of the usual high quality.
Back to the hotel to check in and get ourselves organised, once done we headed out to Letnany for the Prague Beer festival ceskypivnifestival.cz/en/about-festival.shtml , this was running from the 22 nd May – 31st May so we got there on the second day, hopefully I will get round to doing a review. It took about 25 minutes to get there on the metro system from Narodni Trida including a change at Florenc and a very short walk from Letnany metro to the Beer Festival.
We spent a bit of time visiting a few stalls and a few of the 6 huge beer tents enjoying the atmosphere, the food and of course the wonderful beer. I won’t bore you all by listing the various beers tried but every single one of them I had not tried before and they were all great, some greater that others. Various bands were playing in each of the tents and we had a great time, didn’t stay too late as we had had a very early start.
Sunday 24th May.
Up to Namesti Republiky metro and a quick look at the lovely Municiple House building, didn’t visit but took a visit to the Powder Tower which is beside it, been quite a few years since we had been in there but is still lovely and does offer some great views. From there a walk down to the Old town Square and then onto the Charles Bridge and a visit to the lesser Tower which is lovely. From there we then took the funicular up Petrin Hill and visited the Petrin Tower,we have passed this several times before but it had never been open on previous visits,ok 3 towers in one day but our legs,lungs and hearts got us there without major misshap.this is a great vantage point even managed a good look at the Strahov Stadium,just did not realise how big it is.
Well that was Sunday morning over and we had an appointment with a football match, so off we went to the Dubliner Bar (formerly legends)just off Old Town Square to watch the Celtic Hearts football match, I don’t normally advocate visiting the British/Irish bars on my travels but it was an important game in the Scottish season and our team (Hearts) were playing one of the teams that could have one the league.
A 0-0 draw was the result and we were very happy, can’t say the same for the 20 odd Celtic supporters in the bar.
I had been in this place before when it was Legends and can’t say it has changed much, the beer seems cheaper but Staropramen was the only Czech beer on offer and the food certainly was not as good as when it was Legends.
We went back to the hotel for a break after all this excitement for a little rest. headed out to the Beer festival about 8.00pm and had a few beers in different tents again as well as some food, beer again very good but I think some of the craft beers could have been a bit better, I think the weather (very hot) and the fact the stuff in stored in tents rather than cellars did not do it any favours, I am no beer expert but that is my opinion.
Monday 25th May
Very sore calf muscles after our 3 towers the day before, really should have gone into training for all these steps.
In no rush to get out we had a bit of a lie in and went down for breakfast some time after 9.00am.
We took a stroll by the river and took some pictures then headed up to the castle area by tram. We did not visit the castle but took a walk through the lovely gardens nearby, there are some great vantage points down here for photos of the Prague bridges we went right down into the valley bellow the castle ramparts where there is a tunnel that takes you back up to the castle area, we followed this and then took a tram to the Strahov ministry were we had lunch and a beer in the Klasterini Pivovar,very good it was too. The afternoon meant a trip toVysehrad and a lovely part of the city it is too, a wonderful peaceful haven and a delight to visit, had a small beer in one of the outdoor cafes there.
The evening was spent once again at the Beer festival enjoying several beers and some food as well as a very entertaining band in the No1 tent. Crazy Lady they were called and were a good party band doing cover versions of hits from 60’s, 70’s,80’s, 90’s and today. It was a bit cheesy at times but a good fun party band that had them dancing on the floor the benches and the tables, a most enjoyable night out.
Tuesday 26th May.
Off to Benesov for the day, it is a small town about 50 kilometres from Prague, return train tickets for 2 of us were 188czk a real bargain. Train left at 10.19 am and due to some delays because of track works arrived about 11.50.Took a short walk to the Ferdinand Brewery, we had hoped for a tour but even with a friend from Prague phoning them our luck was out. We did take a walk into the brewery complex to have a look but were unceremoniously chucked out by security, well I have been chucked out of bigger and better places and can live with that., still managed to get a few pictures though. There is a small shop beside the brewery that sells beer and a few brewery souvineers,so managed to get T-shirt, baseball cap and a beer glass so went away very happy.
We had lunch in a small restaurant near the town square though it was difficult to find a place that sold Ferdinand beer, seems the locals prefer Pilsner Urquell.we had a nice lunch though the menu was completely in Czech being seasoned visitors we had our little food translation notes and managed a nice meal of breaded pork with potatoes and salad washed down with a glass of Ferdinand the local beer.
We took the 30 minute walk from the town square out to Konopiste castle, the former home of the Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand.(was he named after the brewery or the brewery after him?)
We were too late for any English speaking tours, but the place was so very quiet, lucky if there were more than 20 tourists about the place, even in the cafes and souvenir stalls staff seemed to outnumber tourists. We had visit this castle on a tour a couple of years ago so not getting on one was no problem and we had a nice wander round the place as well as a wander round the lovely grounds. Headed back to the train station for a much quicker return journey.
Decided to give the Beer festival a miss tonight and we headed out to the No1 bar of U Karlova Mostu,but we got caught in an almighty thunderstorm and were soaked to the skin, just took the tram back to the hotel got changed and went out to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
The Svejk restaurant http://www.svejk-restaurant.cz/en/ was only a few doors from our hotel and next door to the famous U Fleku bar. There are several bars with Svejk connections, more about one of them later.
It was a most enjoyable meal with very friendly service and superb food, we can highly recommend this place and a great deal cheaper that the more famous place next door.
Had a couple of beers there before dragging ourselves to bed.
Wednesday 27th May.
We said we were not going to do it but did decide on yet another trip to Plzen and the brewery there. http://www.prazdroj.cz/en/come-and-visit/trip .
Now first apologies to several people to whom I have given directions to the brewery from the train station, since my last visit they have built a bloody big hotel right in front of the bridge that takes you across the main road to the brewery entrance, sorry for any inconvenience caused.
This was our 4th trip to the brewery and almost as much fun as the first. I say almost as our guide was a fairly inexperience young girl and though knowledgeable just seemed to go thorough the motions of a tour with no enthusiasm shown, also the tour has been very much modernised and has taken away quite a bit of the “magic” of previous tours.
The Tour was also much longer than previously but still finished off with a lovely beer from the great barrels in the old cellar.
A late lunch was had in Na Spilce the wonderful restaurant of the brewery with a nice meal an of course a big glass of the stunning Pilsner Urquell.
We had a visit to the shop were much money was spent on polo shirts, beers glasses and other beer related items.
We then had a beer in the old pub Starasla Dovna,this is a great old place ,15th century it dates back too, wonderful.
It was getting a bit later than we had intended so off to the train station and back to Prague.
We had intended to go to the Dubliner bar for the Champions league cup final, but as we got there so late the place was packed but we managed to find the game on in a pizza restaurant (where and how we found it I don’t know),but had a pizza and few beers there and enjoyed the game. A late night beer at U Vejvodu on the way back to the hotel ended a perfect day.
Thursday 28th May
Nothing really planned today, did a bit of shopping in the morning then headed to the Hostinec U Kalicha http://www.ukalicha.cz/index.php?lang=EN another Svejk themed bar. Don’t know who Svejk is /was? Then look at this link …wikipedia.org/wiki/…A0vejk
I had recently read the book and have been enamoured by the character and wanted to check this place out. Very nice place but with real tourist prices, but friendly and fun so no complaints from me. Had a huge litre of beer and slivovice in the true spirit of Svejk,they have a small gift shop there and bought a lovely beer glass and poloshirt,I was a happy man. I had been trying to get some prints of Josef Lada’s drawing of Svejk to no avail but the wrapping paper of the shop had some of the drawings on it, the owner/manger gave me a few extra sheets to see if I could use them, very kind of him.
From there we went down to the Staropramen brewery to look for a few items in the shop there, we were offered a tour but having done this a few years ago we declined. We had a very nice lunch in the bar there.
Went up to the Beer festival for an afternoon visit just before the heavens opened so we sat down in one of the tents and enjoyed an hour or so of live folk music along with a nice beer.
Once the rain had eased off we went back to our hotel before going back to the beer festival later in the evening.
Jumped around a few of the tents trying a coupled of beers and listening to some good music, got very cold tonight even the staff were wearing outside jackets and the rain came and went several times, but still a good night ensued. We had hoped to stay to the last metro this evening but the tents were closing early (just after 11.00pm) but not a major worry maybe just one beer less than we would have had.
Friday 28th May.
Went out to Troja castle to the north of the city, ignore what any of the guide books say and take the 112 bus from Narodni Holesovice as the trams leave you well short of the place. After getting all them way out there we found it were closed, this was after having checked out opening times and being assured it would be open. We did however get in to take a few photos by a very kind gateman, I thank him very much.
Went from there to the crypt of St. Cyril and Methodist http://www.prague.net/cyril-methodius-church ,this is the assassins of Reinhard Heydrick were eventually trapped and killed.
If you want to know more of the story and its terrible consequences just google Heydrick assassination, it is a story I have been fascinated about for years.
We were quite close to out hotel so decided to go to the Svejk bar for some lunch and a beer.
Stopped off in our hotel for a while and then I went out and did a bit of souvenir shopping for my nieces and nephews, the rain had come on fairly heavy by now and I spent the afternoon dodging from one area of cover to another.
This was our last evening so off to the beer festival for the last time, had a great night though the weather was cold and wet, visited a few tents but ended up in the No1 tent with the Crazy Lady band giving us a good party atmosphere.
We didn’t stay too late and headed back to the hotel about 11.00pm.
Saturday 30th May.
Saying goodbye to Prague yet again is always sad but we have had a great time.we are due to leave for the airport at 9.30 am.
Prague Airport Shuttle is there a few minutes ahead of time to take us back to the airport another great holiday in Prague over.
Thanks to everyone who helped in the planning and execution of this holiday it was very much appreciated.
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Prague Trip Report