Seeing a Different Side of Prague

Thanks to our Chase Sapphire credit card points, we ended up staying in an area of Prague (Prague 3 district) that was slightly off the tourist trail.  We were located east of the Vltava River and a solid two-mile walk to the main square in Old Town, which is where many visitors go to see famous sites like the Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock.  As a result, we spent more time in our area of town, where there were relatively few tourists, affordable dining options and a more authentic glimpse into the city life.  The streets were quiet and there were small parks at every corner. We literally got to see a different side of Prague!

Of the restaurants we came across, there were two that were so good (and affordable) we just couldn’t say “no” to a second encounter.  The first was called Café Pavlač.  It is a small café with an assortment of great drink options, from iced espresso to grizzly milk, which was what brought us there in the first place.  It wasn’t until we got there and tried it out that we learned their food is just as outstanding!  We are talking freshly homemade gnocchi with spinach and turkey, quinoa salads, and grilled ciabatta sandwiches. Both of us continued to ask one another “who is the chef at this place?” because the food and the overall presentation were incredible.  If you’re looking for a good coffee, reasonable prices, and fair portions for your buck, don’t miss Café Pavlač!

Our first meal at Café Pavlač!

Our first meal at Café Pavlač!

The second “must-eat” of Prague in our opinion is a small little pizza joint called Pizzeria Persona.  Yes: it’s exactly what it sounds like!  With a vast assortment of individual-portioned pizzas and calzones, there are so many delicious ingredient combinations.  The term “individual” is certainly relative, for most people might consider it a meal for two.  But for the pizza-loving Kimble family, we were able to get the job done.  Once again, the price is budget-friendly and the staff is very hospitable.

So, while we admit to not doing much advance planning for our trip to Prague, we definitely lucked out with the location of our hotel. We were able to eat at some really delicious places that didn’t break the bank! For anyone looking to visit Prague but hoping to get outside of the main square for food or lodging, we recommend heading east of the river towards the Prague 3 district. It’s within walking distance of all main sites, but is also quickly available by bus or tram for those looking to get off their feet for a bit.

Check out the link below or visit the “Kimblesinbits” Youtube channel for our video recap from Prague!

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Czech your Expectations at the Door

Generally speaking, there are two ways to gear up for a trip. The first often requires months of advance planning with the help of Lonely Planet books, Yelp reviews and Google searches (i.e “Top Things To See In “insert city here). You arrive at your destination with a detailed itinerary in one hand, a printed map in the other, and a head full of expectations on how each day will play out. The second technique, which is the method we used during our recent trip to the Czech Republic, allows the trip to plan itself. Simply pack your bags and…go!

Now don’t get us wrong, we often enjoy creating an agenda of things to see and do in a new place we’re visiting, but sometimes it’s just as fun to show up there with no set plans and an open slate. We didn’t do much ground work before landing in Prague but we knew that we could expect to see a city with rich history, beautiful bridges and magnificent castles.  Yet two of our favorite experiences in Prague came as a result of being in the right place at the right time, and having a flexible schedule to accommodate the unexpected!

You know those magazines that sit in the seat-back pocket of the airplane seat in front of you? Well, Karen’s decision to pick up and read one really paid dividends for us (what else is there to do when your husband is sleeping?).  During our flight to the Czech Republic, she read about the Český pivní festival.  What’s that you ask?  Why, it’s the Czech Republic’s largest beer festival of course, taking place from May 7-23!  For two people who enjoy a cold craft beer, this was a fortunate find.  The festival was full of great food, 150 varieties of Czech draft beer, and live music. We enjoyed the festival so much the first day that we came back two days later to fill up our steins (and bellies!) once more.

Adam's meal of pork, cabbage, potato dumplings and beer.

Adam’s meal of pork, cabbage, potato dumplings and beer.

Two happy customers!

Two happy customers!

The second unexpected experience came after noticing advertisements around town for the 2015 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships.  It just so happened that from May 1-17, the games were being held in Prague and Ostrava (another city in the Czech Republic)!  On a whim, we looked for tickets online and decided to watch Latvia take on Switzerland at the O2 Arena in Prague.  The atmosphere was electric and it was really interesting to enjoy the game as “non-partisan” bystanders.  We had great seats pretty close to the glass, and we were fortunate enough to be surrounded by a group of Latvians, whose team came out victorious (2-1) in overtime!

Celebrating Latvia's victory over Switzerland outside of the O2 Arena.

Celebrating Latvia’s victory over Switzerland outside of the O2 Arena.

For us, cultural experiences are some of the most exciting and enriching moments when traveling. It’s why we are trying to travel slowly, spending a few weeks in each place whenever possible. Sure, cultural experiences can be planned by doing research and talking with others who have gone before you, but we’ve had the most success when we just let the trip happen and allow the unexpected to occur.

The only expectation we have as of late is this: expect the unexpected!

What’s your preferred method of planning a trip? Have you ever just showed up to a place with no real plan? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!