last month we were in prague for a concert and ended up staying in holešovice, simply because the cheapest private accommodation available was there. and not only in holešovice (which is a large swath of prague 7 that sort of encircles prague’s bubny train station), but east holešovice. i go there whenever i visit the DOX museum, but industrial east holešovice does not seem to be a favorite area of praguers. i asked a couple that i knew, “hey! where do you like to go in east holešovice?"
“i mean, pražská tržnice is there. and so is cafe jedna. right?”
“……can’t you just go to letná?”
the letná side of holešovice (west holešovice), enjoying a much less isolated location west of bubny station is far more up-and-coming than the hard-to-reach east side. i received loads of recommendations there. but poor eastern holešovice….
it doesn’t quite have the savoir-faire of its western counterpart, but aside from a mandatory visit to the fantastic DOX, there is still goodness to be found in eastern holešovice. brilliantly accessible thanks to the nádraží holešovice (train station), within a few blocks opens onto lovely ortenovo
náměstí which has a park of european-capital caliber, enjoyable for both adults and kiddos with a great playground. the legendary sir toby’s hostel is also in this neighborhood, and has a great bar and terrace area, popular with expats and travelers for its programs in english.
south of here if you want to stroll down komunardů (busy street running north-south), you can actually find a lot while feeling like you’re in a smaller czech town or neighborhood and not in the busy capital. phill’s cafe branches right around the corner of přístavní
seem alive and well, and a little further down you’ll find bistro lovely day, where we had brunch on their nice terrace the next morning. the perfect kind of fuel you need before getting on a train, and at a nice price point, to boot (highly recommended – i mean, look at this spread; it’s killer).
but as we arrived the day before, we needed some sort of quick and cheap refreshment. that led us down to the strange, almost military complex of barracks that make up prague’s tržnice (market). as well as holding events (like the coffee festival we went to years ago), you can also find some pretty decent vietnamese food.
after a bowl of bun chay at tràng an
on their covered terrace, i was feeling far more refreshed and ready to get on with the beautiful afternoon. it’s funny that even sitting outside at a vietnamese restaurant, you are facing a world war one memorial. history is everywhere in prague, no matter how unlikely the location.
this past may had been quite cold and rainy – very unlike may in central europe, but this weekend in the middle of the month we found beautiful temperatures around 20°C which simply demanded a park visit. we strolled around bubny to northern letná to the eastern-most entrance of stromovka park. we have a stromovka park (popular name) in budejovice as well, but this stromovka – it is the park of prague. although there are plenty, none were as stunning as this park. we came to a vista looking down northwards to all that the park held – man-made ponds, picnic and sport areas galore, ice cream trucks, brightly colored tropical flowers – this was simply a pražký ráj (prague paradise), we dubbed it.
wandering this massive park was the perfect fair weather prague activity to do with pejsek in tow! and gosh, is there really anywhere else in prague you would rather be on a fantastic spring day such as that one?
after what seemed like hours, we crawled out in search of sustenance. although we met many tempting little cafes and bistros lining the letna outer boundaries of the park, we finally settled on a recommendation of a friend, salt n pepa cafe. choosing a non-ethnic restaurant in the czech republic in any given area is typically not the easiest task for us. as neither of us are going to order a meat dish, we need to make sure that the restaurant can offer some solid fare for all involved. although i probably won’t go out of my way to come back, salt n pepa kitchen offered inventive fare that will please the meat-lovers as well as the veggie folks. i had a roast aubergine, drizzled with a tahini sauce served with a tabouleh salad, which made for a satisfying light dinner.
there are countless other interesting restaurants and bistros in the area, though. it was a refreshing area of prague to hang in as it definitely wasn’t very touristy, and still offered a vibe similar to a lot of prague 2, in my opinion. the church at strossmayerovo náměstí (called the church of st. anthony of padua) even gave me major týn church vibes (see top photo). who needs old town square when you’ve got letna/holesovice? really, now?
it is also worth a mention of a little tiny district called malý berlin (little berlin) which caught my eye on a map, so naturally, i had to go there and see just what made it berlinsich. it’s a pretty small area, actually – about a two by four block area north of and around veletržní street, just west of bubny train station and just north of my favorite prague cafe.
i didn’t feel that it bore any physical resemblance to berlin, but later i’ve come to find out, malý berlin is named so as it was traditionally home to a large german population in the late 19th and early 20th century (before the second world war). there is a pretty interesting page about it from the city of prague (czech language only).
later, i realized we spent almost the whole weekend in
without setting foot across the river. just goes to show you don’t need to cross the vltava to have a great time in prague.
happy summer time to you all! i hope you enjoy these lightest days to the fullest – whatever that means for you. i’ll be seeking out all the outdoor time i can (in between the predicted thunderstorms and showers).