The Czech Republic: Onward to Prague!
One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague held lots of surprises.
First, it is a great mixture of old and new. By old, we mean really, really old. It came into its own as a major power center in the 1400’s. There are bars there that have been in continuous operation since 1375! (More on that later).
Food is a big deal here, and wood-fired cooking is a big part of it. In fact, wood stoves are a big social status symbol here. Boutiques selling refurbished antique wood stoves here command seriously high prices.
The farmer’s market in downtown operates only on Saturday, and it is a real mind-blower. You can get everything here, and the smells wafting on the wind will make you lose your train of thought. Our immediate favorite was the guy selling whole grilled mackerel over charcoal.
Fish on a stick, anyone???
And fresh spices are mandatory. Seriously, you’ve never tasted anything like them in America. They are SO fresh, they completely shift your frame of reference on what spices can be.
Another major wood-fired tradition here is their charcouterie. Absolutely delicious, and mostly kissed by smoke. Here is a shot of about one-fifth of a glass window display:
Another big surprise was the fashion scene. Central Europe is growing fast, and the level of sophistication is really high. Classical music flows onto the streets, and there are concerts every night. Their designers are legendary, too. What was the premier exhibit at the modern art museum? A Manolo Blahnik show!
Oh. My. God. The man is a genius. We took many, many photos, but here are two of our favorites, including a no-heel high-heel!
We also met Beata Rajska, one of the Czech Republics greatest fashion designers. If you buy a dress from her, you get a flute full of traditional Czech plum vodka. It’s really unique, and really strong! But the main thing you get is a truly hand-made item that is an heirloom from the moment you buy it – just like a Cauldron!
The last major take-away was one of the common threads of the trip – BEER!
Remember the tavern from 1375? Every single morning they open a trap door in the sidewalk and replace the empty kegs with full ones. Kegs – that’s plural. In fact, the fewest number we saw them replace in a single day was ELEVEN! That’s a shitload of beer.
In fact, here is a sign from yet another bar that had real resonance for us:
Remember, when in Rome, do the Romans, and when in the Czeck Repbulic, eat smoked sausage, dress well, and drink your Pilsner!