one thing i really like about living in české
budějovice is its proximity to some pretty interesting places. we are only two hours from both prague to the north and linz, austria to the south. of course, because of international public transport tariffs, prague is by far the more affordable place to head of the two when you’ve got a free day and wanna soak up some big(ger) city lovin’. especially if you are a loyal české dráhy (czech trains) customer like i am and rack up enough points on the regular to earn free train tickets (public service announcement: if you live in the czech republic and frequently travel with public transportation, there is no reason not to be doing this). frugality win!
we headed there last saturday for a proper dosage of all good fall things. in the morning, we started with the karlín farmer’s market at karlínské náměstí. what enjoyable fall weather it was to stroll around the beautiful church, have a cup of fruit juice here and a zelňák there. zelňáky – essentially a flat, savory sauerkraut biscuit – i have been told are specialties of the south bohemian region but the zelňáky from the pekárna at this farmer’s market are amazing – a bit breadier and softer. get in on that!
above, definitely a fan of the exterior of the church of saints cyril and methodius in karlin square. beautiful churches seem to be in every square in the city, but this one is really nice.
after a spot of shopping, we fueled up at our favorite ramen place. i cannot sing the praises enough of ramen kitchen on 28.října
street near můstek. the prices have definitely gone up in the 3+ years since its inception – with a location like that, who can blame them – but the ramen is always top-notch and the service always kind and friendly. alex requested this stop particularly as there is nothing better when you have a cold than hot steamy asian noodles! (or anytime, really)
what better after lunch than a lazy wander around the streets of old town? this is one of my absolute favorite prague things to do, no matter the season. well, maybe besides the summer seasons as the streets are more likely to be absolutely crushed with tourists, but it’s good most any old time of year.
it reminds me of the days that i was (f)unemployed in january over four years ago; had no money and nothing but time to create my own cheap entertainment. i would walk from our flat in malá strana across the charles bridge with something of a loose goal in mind but with no real time limit. and man, can you ever get twisted and turned around in those winding streets! but that’s the beauty of the old town quarter, i think. go where it looks nice and maybe you’ll wind up in a secret lane, square, or at a cute kavárna that you’ve never seen before and probably won’t see again. highly recommended for broke wanderers! (tangent alert!) which reminds me of this scavenger hunt – deeep in this blog’s archives – we did that month! so fun to participate in that…. click over if you want to see some winter prague silliness from two people with a lot of time on their hands; it’s good for a laugh.
although the charles bridge usually remains packed with people on a saturday afternoon in fair weather, i really just do not care. as long as its not signal fest bad, it is one of the highlights of my day (or even week) to have the pleasure to stand on or walk across this dear bridge. to be on charles bridge is the single strongest reminder that i feel like i’m living a dream. i live here. this is my life. absolutely unreal – feels so alive to me. of course you can always find yourself with more solitude in the early morning or late evening, but it doesn’t matter to me. i don’t see crowds, i just feel the energy.
of course, no autumn season is complete without the annual pumpkin spice latte stop (amirite?) at the malostranské náměstí starbucks before a walk up the street i used to live on and up to petřín hill! spending a sunny autumn afternoon in prague walking around petřín as the yellow leaves fall on you – peering out at this great city, speaking about big hopes, dreams, and ideas – this is also a must do.
although there are plenty of great parks and spaces to stroll around in the capital, there’s something for me about petřín. it’s one of my favorites; seeming so imbued with the history of hundreds of years of praguers, history and culture coming together. i also secretly wished i had another stomach in order to partake in tasty treats at one of the many lovely refreshment stands near the top. the sun went lower and lower behind the hills as we sat on a bench and talked until it got a bit cooler.
alex wasn’t feeling a hundred percent, so we barely managed to catch the fast express back to budejovice. this train is on a line through austria, finally ending in zürich, switzerland – what a reminder that you live in the middle of europe to board a zurich bound train, i’ll tell ya. it made only one stop in tábor before pausing in budejovice long enough for us to jump out of – pretty sweet! (file away in memory if i ever want to take a sleeper car to zürich)
the next morning, i awoke in my own bed in budejovice to the pattering of falling rain. grey skies? morning rain? can you believe this washingtonian was excited? although we sometimes get rainy mornings, most often the climate here is clear and sunny, so a rainy morning when you don’t have to go anywhere feels really special. it almost feels like when it snows and you just don’t want it to stop! time to put the kettle on and get cozy!
i pulled on my rain jacket to meet a friend (hi nat!) at the houseboat cafe, newly opened this summer. ohhhhh, what is better than a houseboat + falling rain in the autumn? nothing. the answer is there is literally nothing better. to sip a cappuccino, chat, and watch the yellow leaves float by, giving the appearance that we are actually motoring somewhere. to autumn dreamland, i suppose.