A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
Last week I told you the story of how I came to live in Prague.
Back in the day.
And now to how it was a few weeks ago with son in tow.
One of the reasons that I wanted to go back to Prague again was the fact that I wanted to show my it-sounds-awfully-boring-but-I-will-if-I-have-to-listen 13 year-old tween! In a couple of years, university will beckon and he’ll be bound for the more exotic Chiang Mai in Thailand, like other young GAP year Germans & Brits, and Prague won’t even get a look in!
Every time I go to Prague, it’s always nice to know how it’s changed or otherwise.
In many ways it has changed and in many ways it hasn’t changed at all!
Let me explain.
If you’re walking through the streets of Prague you just have to look upwards and see the outlines and roof-tops of this beautiful city. Prague is a remarkable place and a city shrouded in countless myths and legends from its thousand years of history.
It’s a place which has a unique character. A city on the bank of the Vltava. A river city.
The city of a hundred spires, a UNESCO monument and one of the most beautiful cities of legends past.
Streets are lined with windows full of tempting wares that beckon you with whiffs of a delicious aroma or strange-like dishes, or perhaps the mystery of a dark outline of a Gothic castle built in 1348 and crammed with royal treasures, Bohemian crown jewels and holy relics.
Whichever way you look at it, Prague is quite magical.
When I first lived in Prague, the place was bursting with secret little dives and back-corner bars that most people could see but never saw!
I accidentally found a group of young Czech people who brought me into their fold and introduced me to “their people” as “one of them” not only that, but they also happened to be artists which meant that I rarely ever paid for theatre productions, clubs or bars and I hardly slept spending my days managing my team and my nights going from one private club to another!
In fact at one point, we were all so comfortable that I was invited by someone’s grandma to help them pick strawberries in their garden!
She didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak any Czech.
She just thrust a raffia basket in my arms and off I went.
Those strawberries were delicious and it was one of the best Sunday afternoons that I have ever had!
I know my way around Prague very well but of course, as every living city does, things change, places close and people move on. Prague has ten (10) zones or districts and each district has its own characteristic atmosphere and unique charm.
When I lived in Prague, I lived on the other side of the Prague Castle.
It was a bit of a slog to get to, being on the hill n’all, but we all knew a short-cut and used to either take the bus and cut through the back, or take the funicular up the hill!
Whenever I’m on a short visit in a city destination, I normally prefer to be in the thick of the action and within walking distance of all the sights, but because Prague can sometimes be heaving with visitors especially in the summer months, I decided to book outside Prague 1 and 2.
Prague 3 is particularly boring except for my favourite vegetarian restaurant at Radost FX and even though I’m not a veggie or vegan I would highly recommend their food LOL! And of course, our expat bookshop – the Globe Bookstore and Café – where we used to hang out and meet other people (it’s relocated to Prague 1!)
And I don’t think I ever went to Prague 4 at all!
This time around, I booked our hotel in Prague 5. It’s about a 10 walk from the river and is located on the west bank of the Vltava River.
Prague 5 is semi-residential with bigger hotels, fancy bars and restaurants but with real Czech locals living in the area too.
Our hotel was called Angelo Hotel Prague and was in the Prague’s Anděl neighbourhood known as the hip and trendy Smíchov Quarter.
Smíchov was famous for textile, breweries and railway carriages and most importantly, one of Prague’s most famous beers – Staropramen. In recent years, Smíchov transformed into a district of ultra-modern offices and semi-residential with a farmers market, a scattering of hotel chains, fancy bars and restaurants, but with real Czech locals living in the area too.
Our hotel – Angelo Hotel Prague – was on a quiet historical road and was about two (2) minutes from the Anděl underground station.
The location was absolutely spot on.
The Angelo Hotel Prague stands for an innovative and designed-oriented hotel concept characterized by extravagant styling, distinct colours, and inspiration of the Jazz Age. Throughout the hotel were pictures and painting of jazz music icons!
With 163 rooms and 5 suites, the trademark of the hotel is a colourful design concept of black, coral-red, yellow and white and is managed by the VI Hotel & Resorts group along with 35 other hotels around Europe. In fact, when I was researching hotels I remembered that during the ITB travel trade fair in Berlin, I had booked meetings with a couple of PR industry people and VI was one of them.
Their Communications Team remembered me and that laid the ground for where I would stay.
We were upgraded to a Superior Twin Executive Room on the 6th floor which had a help-yourself coffee-maker and drinks machine on the 6th floor lobby, and bowls of apples!
When travelling with a tween, it’s always nice to have important basics such as a large bed, a flat screen TV, and a DVD player.
Our room also had a desk and chair, a safe, a mobile phone re-charging plug, tea and coffee-making facilities, daily complimentary water, free high-speed WiFi, AC, heated floors, a nice bathroom, fluffy towels and fluffy slippers.
The WiFi was free throughout the hotel premises but if you’re on the 6th or 7th floor, make sure that you choose the extra daily option which is of no charge if you’re a higher floor guest, and is really fast.
The usual WiFi was perfectly adequate if you’re only using it for a few things, but if you have a couple of devices (which we do) and you’re not on a higher frequency, it could prove problematic.
And speaking of drinks.
The Angelo Hotel Prague is in a great area and the young front-of-house staff are enthusiastic but the service and the house-keeping staff needs to be spruced up and tightened!
We didn’t receive a welcome drink until the next day.
And we had to ask for it.
Our complimentary bottles of water were not replenished and neither were my teabags.
For black tea.
Until we asked for them.
And on one particular day, we arrived in our room to find that the used towels had been taken away but none were returned.
And we had to ask for them.
Our stay also included a welcome drink in the Jazz Bar, entrance to the fitness studio, sauna and steam bath in the hotel next door (because it wasn’t in the hotel itself, I didn’t try it out), and a rich buffet breakfast that consisted of fresh fruit, cereals, creams and yoghurt, Bohemian cold cuts, sausages, baked beans (yum!), pancakes, porridge, a variety of cheese, a very wide selection of cake, bread and pastry, vegetables, salads and Asian soup!
You could also order a choice of eggs with crispy bacon, sausage and mushrooms, or egg omelet with cheese, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms but again, you had to ask for them as there was no menu and we only got to know that the option existed when we saw a hot plate being served to a customer on a nearby table!
On our initial arrival the hotel management very kindly sent us a welcome tray of macaroons and some fruit. I couldn’t eat them personally ‘cos of the nut factor, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” was in French heaven!
Even though we weren’t in the centre of the centre, we were pretty central as Prague’s public transport system is marvellous and so easy to use.
The nearest station is on Line B (the yellow line) and is called Anděl. Anděl is but three (3) stops until you get to the city centre which is at Můstek. Six (6) stops until you get to Hradčanská which is the castle area, five (5) stops until you get to Malostranská (which is the new town), four (4) stops until Staroměstská (the old town), four (4) stops until Národní třída (the National Theatre), five (5) stops until Muzeum and onto Wencelas Square (it’s the place where everyone gathers like Times Square (US), Leicester Square (UK) and Brandenburg Gate (Germany) and five (5) stops to Hlavní nádraží (Prague’s Main Train Station.)
So you see, the Anděl neighbourhood was quite handy.
Away from all the stress and bother of rowdy tourists and noise, but near enough to either take the train or jump on a tram, as Prague’s most interesting sights and attractions were just minutes away.
If you’re feeling energetic and want to take a longer look at the area, I would recommend walking on the river-side, but it would take at least thirty (30) odd minutes, perhaps more!
In fact, on our first (1st) night we strolled around Smíchov which had a lot of young people milling around with both Czech, English and German voices and not too far away, we found a local restaurant.
We went to a local restaurant in Smíchov (Prague 5) similar to U Dvou Kocek above. Unfortunately, it was quite late and I forgot to take a photograph of the actual place itself AND you don’t get any receipts. Just a piece of plain paper stating how much you ate!
So how can you know if a restaurant is a real dive or not?
Well, you’ll know it’s local soon enough. If the menu is in Czech and the punters look dodgy and intimidating.
That’s the one to go to!
Walk in. Smile. Say “Dobrý den” and take a seat at a wooden table. Any wooden table!
They were awfully accommodating and with creaky Czech, a mish-mash of Polish and much finger-pointing, we had a hearty meal of marinated pork ribs with thickly cut roast potatoes, white cabbage and a three-sauce variety of mustard, ketchup and horse-radish! All at an unbelievable cost of 180Kč or €6.70.
My huge beer was 34Kč or €1.25 and my son’s huge coca-cola was 50Kč or €1.90. We had a couple more!
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. If you don’t drink get ready to open your wallet as beer is cheaper than water. So drink on!
As a matter of fact, Berlin used to be like that too. Beer and cola are now the same price but if you know where to look you can find beer in Berlin for about 20 cents at a local supermarket and in Prague for 12Kč or 45 cents!
If you know where to look LOL!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” had picked up a cold in Budapest and was looking rather peaky so the next day, I went on a familiarization tour around Prague by myself so that I could plan out where and what I would show my son when he felt a little better. I’ll tell you all about that next week!
If you’re in Prague, then you ought to try a few Czech sausages so in the early evening, we went for a little ramble in the immediate area and had an early dinner of Czech grilled sausages. Make sure that the sausage stand is clean and that the sausages have a quick turn-over. If there’s a queue go for it, if it’s a dead sausage stand, keep moving!
Our stay at the four-star modern designed Angelo Hotel Prague was a good choice. We chose it as it’s trendy, in a residential quarter and quiet. For the action and pulse of Prague choose the centre LOL!
So what’s the damage?
Here it comes…
All this from €141.00 per night in the Executive Room which for two (2) people would be €70.00 a pop!
if you’re looking for reliability and a bit of peace and quiet, it’s a safe bet.
There were loads of German-speaking guests and others from Argentina, the US and Italy and even though I was a bit peeved as the service could have been better, the fact is, German clients tend to be a demanding lot with high expectations, so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you!
That’s all for now. I’ll be telling you some Prague secrets next week!
For more information about the Angelo Hotel, please contact: Angelo Hotel Prague.
This article is part-sponsored by the Angelo Hotel Prague but all opinions and the huge beers that I had, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following events:
On 16.09.15, the Strictly Stand Up English Comedy Night will be taking place at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.
Until 26.09.15 only, the Wintergarten Varieté will be presenting The SOAP Opera show or Show SEIFEN OPER.
From 28.09.15 – 07.10.15 the Bar Jeder Vernunft will be presenting, for one (1) week only, a festival of top British entertainment – Britain’s Best! Music and Comedy.
I’ll be there. Will you?
As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!
If you’re not in Berlin right now, it’s never too late!
September is going to be swell!
Watch this space!
Do you think Prague is modern and trendy or traditional and boring? Would you eat a Czech sausage or a Czech doughnut?
See you in Berlin.
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The hotel looks awesome! Very pretty..and yep..the other girl has good taste too. The dress is quite pretty. I think l will enjoy Prague when l eventually visit. From your description, as well as pictures and other posts that l have seen, it’s a sure bet. I’m also glad that it doesn’t seem to be as expensive as l was previously led to believe (makes a big difference who is writing it l guess..a backpacker lifestyle might find it super expensive). The food looks awesome..yeah!!!!
Thanks so much kemkem. It was indeed and thank you so much for the lovely comment. You always bring a ray of sunshine to my blog and the more I read, the happier I am that I actually know you in real life. 🙂
You will love Prague.
It’s neither more expensive or cheaper than Budapest. It’s the same, and to appreciate it better, a higher budget is necessary.
I have already done the cheap version of Prague and that was at the university hostel for £2.00 per night in the old days. Yeah, it was mixed rooms and a couple were sleeping in the bed that I had paid for AND someone thought it would be grand to vomit outside our bedroom door LOL! Yeah, it was hilarious sort-of but those days are over!
p.s. I’m going to write about the food stuff next week. I was offered a complimentary food tour but I turned it down as I already knew the restaurants personally and could find better on my own. It’s really good to “know” a city destination LOL!
Awwhhh..thank you too! We still talk about meeting you guys here as well. We had fun :-). Oh..your cheap days description almost made me puke just reading about it..hah hah! funny about the food tour. Yep..when you can do better on your own, it’s not worth it :-).
I left a “sort-of” message for you on your FB blog link but I’m seriously thinking that you and I ought to meet up in Europe somewhere, on one weekend very soon. What say you?
It’s a beautiful city!
Thanks so much! It really is. Have you been yourself?
Yes, but a long time ago, and I think about visiting it again 🙂
Nice one! You won’t regret it and if you need any help with anything, do let me know. 🙂
A truly fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable post equipped with beautiful photos! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tour, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. 🙂
Thank you so much Linda! I’m really glad that you liked my post. There are so many opinions about the lovely city but I’m firmly in the camp of “I absolutely love Prague” LOL!
Greetings from Berlin, Germany!
i’m headed there next month, your post was really helpful. I am excited!
Thanks very much Jennifer! You’re going to have such a great time! If you have any questions, do let me know. 🙂
I absolutely agree with you. Prague is a great combination of modernity, creativity and history! Actually everything what a budget traveler and adventurer is looking for. I’m glad you tried Czech beer. Is it that cheap? It’s known as the most affordable beer in Europe!
Come on seriously? I’m Polish and I’m pretty convinced Polish beer is more affordable… I might be wrong…
Thanks so much Pati!
I go to Poland quite a bit as it’s one of my favourite countries to visit and yes, you’re right at small supermarkets, you can get beer for 8 cents but that was not in the capital. It was in a small seaside beach!
I’ve not yet been to Warsaw so perhaps, I could be wrong LOL! 🙂
Thank you so much Agness!
Yep! Czech beer can be cheap as long as you get it away from the tourist highlights. You tend to get the real price on small corner streets or if you’re really on a small budget: in local supermarkets. For example, we bought a bottle of water for 9.90Kč or 36 cents, beer for 12.90Kč or 47 cents, and a bottle of fanta for 24.90Kč or 92 cents at TESCO!
Becherovka – when I was a student I loved that liquor :))) So many nice memories it ivolves 🙂
I invite you to visit my blog:
Thank you so much Pat!
Yep! Yep! Yep!
p.s. I think you have an interesting blog there. I’ve followed you on google+ 🙂
Prague has long been on our list of top places to visit when in Europe. So luck that you have been there and live relatively close to it.
Thanks so much Phil! You’ll absolutely love Prague. It’s really delightful. I was really lucky to not only be able to visit but live there too once upon a time. At one point, I was coming and going up to 3 times a year but I’ve calmed down now as I can go whenever I please LOL!
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