You know it’s summer when it’s stormy and the reality TV shows are back on! I wish I could write here more often, and I hope I will, but writing a post takes so, so many hours of editing and perfecting. Maybe I’ll do more but “imperfect” posts? (says the perfectionist)
Ah well. July, one of my absolute favorite months is now fully under way and things are in a much better place for us here. Coming out of May was rough (as you might’ve inferred from the title of this post) but the wrapping up of a school year always makes me so happy, as do celebratory post-school-year trips that I in no way take for granted, especially this year. The pandemic situation is currently in a very good place here in the Czech Republic as of the end of June. Vaccinations continue to be on the rise, numbers continue to drop… nobody knows what autumn will bring us, but this summer is really a chance to exhale… while still wearing masks in indoor or crowded public areas.
Summer really felt like it started in mid-June when we had our first overnight trip in over eight months Český Krumlov, sans dog. I had optimistically purchased Revolving Theatre tickets back in the winter to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary and was so thrilled that the whole thing actually took place! We stayed at one of our favorite accommodations directly on the river, ate delicious food at Papa’s Living Restaurant and enjoyed a Petr Forman-directed cultural experience, all on a random weekday! There is nothing like going out to brunch on a Thursday morning during a quick 24 hour holiday, let me tell you.
As shops were finally open, Alex picked out a Dutch-style bicycle as a belated Christmas present! Now he is a proper Budweiser.
We celebrated the arrival of summer not only with the annual summer solstice picnic (which had to take place inside this year due to such high temperatures!), but with our second vaccination! Vax gurl summer is go! Now, over two weeks after, it feels really good to have that full spectrum of protection, but nobody, not even the fully vaccinated should get too complacent.
A few days after, we took off to Prague for the first time since February 2020 (not counting the quick zoo trip a year ago). It’s only two hours away, but I figured it was a good idea to stay put in little South Bohemia during the worst of it all. but Prague is really back. When I say that, I mean that all the locals are enjoying this summer season to the absolute fullest.
Although my main objective was culture and eats (you know, big city things), we enjoyed an amazing time with Prague friends at the Žižkov Beer Garden, watching the Czech Republic vs. Netherlands match. It’s a fantastic new complex (circa 2020, I do believe) that provides all the entertainment, food and beer you could want to keep you sustained for large parts of the day. While enjoying the game and the company of said friends amongst cheering of the Czechs as their team won and delicious pizza (above), I have to say, I have not had that much fun in longer than I can even remember. Over a year, probably. Such simple joys! I couldn’t help but get caught up in screaming along with the masses as they scored yet another goal.
It was a wonderful time walking all over the city, hunting down delicious food and drink. At lunchtime, we found ourselves at Malé náměstí – the perfect place for some delicious vegetarian tacos from Las Adelitas. Now, “best Mexican food in Prague” is a very contentious topic. Everyone has a different opinion… but the first time I went to an Adelitas location and heard Spanish being spoken amongst the waitstaff and in the kitchen, I was sold, not to mention the food is always wonderful. They no longer do enchiladas (probably not enough demand, nobody here knows what they are!) but their vegetarian tacos, made with nopales are the best I’ve ever had. I would love to get their hook-up for corn tortillas!
A new addition since I had last been there was the incredible Oh Deer Bakery, which also has several locations (near the Kafka head at Národní třída, Malostranské náměstí, Belehradská) because I was craving A Donut. A giant, cream-filled, American-as-can-be donut. The “Homer Simpson” style donut has really gained popularity here in the last few years, but you know what hasn’t? A Bavarian-cream style filled donut, of which Oh Deer Bakery does three or four different flavors! I had the cocoa + vanilla cream and I dare say that I can’t change now. It was too good. Alex tried a fluffy, dusty red velvet thing which looked absolutely nuts.
Korean food played sort of a big role in our Prague eats as well. Not only did I need to go to K-Food (Korean goods shop on Koněvova) to stock up on all the goods I usually wait ’til my trips home to get (but y tho?), but we found an amazing little hole in the wall, authentic Korean joint in gritty little Žižkov called Bibimbap Korea. There are so many Korean joints in Prague (amazing, isn’t it?) but I would go out of my way to go back here. I still fantasize about the teok-bokki that Alex ordered – it was that dreamy.
Okay okay, so it wasn’t all just food and games! Being the first full weekend of the summer, while we weren’t watching the matches, we were spending all of our time in the evening in Žižkov area parks, on a hilltop watching the sun set over the city. It was just incredibly romantic and just so very Prague. A very good weekend can be had in Prague in any season, but we normally don’t get over there in the summer, preferring to either jet off to Karlovy Vary or catch a flight at the airport. This was just summer + relaxation after the long winter in the big city, eating to our heart’s content and boy, did it feel so good.
It was also nice seeing Prague belonging only to the Czechs. The city center wasn’t completely empty by any means, but the groups who were there were end-of-year high school class trips with their teachers, which kind of gave me that nostalgic last day of the school year feeling. I did hear a lot of English and some French but it could’ve been from locals, who knows. That said, I was so pleased to walk down Karlova street and have it be like a regular street for once. The area right before Charles Bridge was mostly cleared out so you could actually get a great view (top photo). I definitely cannot complain.
We have also just returned from an even longer jaunt to Vienna, which really deserves its own post, so I’m going to make that a goal before we head back to Washington for the rest of the summer. (Yes!!! It’s happening!) Since we’ve returned, South Bohemia has been the seat of some rather intense and destructive storms – moreso than at least in the past eight or nine years. The garden is flourishing this year (aside from said storms) and it’s that summer camp time of year, again. Going to take today to finish all the other necessary things before I have no extra energy for the next two weeks.
Wishing you a beautiful beginning of summer! And if you disagree about my favorite Mexican and Korean in Prague picks, tell me in the comments 🙂