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TOP 5: HOW TO SURVIVE CZECH WINTER

 

Don’t fool yourself. Rain definitely ain’t confetti falling from heaven. Those two rays of sunlight we’ve had so far this year are not a sign of spring but rather that of increased greenhouse gas emissions. (It’s true.)

Spring is not here. What’s more, contrary to popular belief, no strolling down the riverbank with posh ice cream in two-degree weather will make it arrive faster.

Instead, get it right this time, take my advice and there’s a chance we will all live through this. And by “this” I mean my recent breakup of course.

 

1. SAUNA WITH THE VIEW

Bad news: There is absolutely zero discount for having experienced the trauma of a breakup earlier on the night of your visit.

Good news: This is hands-down the perfectest place to spend winter there is! Just picture all the thrills of night river views watched from the sweetest comfort of a sauna. Genius. Genius!

Comes with optional skinny dipping in the very Vltava river (the sauna has a little outdoor pool) – only recommended if you don’t let the staff go into much detail about the, er, random body parts they see the police fishing out every day and blissfully ignore the fact that Vltava is dirtier than you ever wanted your lovers to be.

Lázně na lodi, Rašínovo nábřeží, Prague 2. (metro B: Karlovo náměstí) Open daily 6pm – 11pm.

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P.S. Some of the hotel spas in Prague 4 have rather impressive views, too! I for one really enjoyed the pool at the Top Deck Spa (also known as the place with the largest selection of scary grandpa clocks) but L. refuses to go there again with me after a very lovely last visit, during which I a) informed this banker guy chatting us up that we in fact peel potatoes for a living and b) successfully broke into their room with swimming aids in order to show her this very important thing.

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2. MINDLESS SELF-INDULGENCE

It just so happened that we ended up in this recently opened Vinohrady takeaway one day.

“Hey guys, just to let you know, you left your keys in your door.”

“That’s because we’re closed.”

“Haha. That’s OK! Can we wait inside? It’s really cold today! What time are you opening?”

“In five hours.”

And so we stayed.

Now there might be many advantages to visiting this place – there’s its chatty Slovenian owner, Max, and his sweet cousin, Uros, their beautiful pulled pork sandwiches and incredible life stories featuring London’s beautiful Saatchi gallery and irresistible Czech girls…

But it’s their cinnamon rolls that world media should be covering! First of all, let it be clear that we initially refused to try them (after having tried EVERYTHING ELSE on the menu that is). The boys used a classic candyman tactics though – forcing us to take one each for later, for free, no strings attached, see what we think, the usual.

Little did we know that the world actually stops when you try them – and that it might take an organized treatment program and a support group to learn to fight the strong craving for that brief, intense feeling of euphoria they bring…

It’s basically a miracle that these rolls are still legal.

The Conductor, Francouzska 78, Prague 10 (tram: Krymska)

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3. FILM BINGE

Oh, have I told you about that time I was in a film festival jury? To be fair, all I remember is that I had to massively lie about the reasons I was leaving work way early every day for two weeks and that the mounting lack of sleep combined with the overdose of emotions translated itself into some very surreal dreams – think faceless David Bowie wearing a metallic vestment casually visiting a high school gym with me…

But oh the sheer joy! I loved every split second about it – the endless film talks, the faint cinema smell in my clothes – and not to forget crying multiple times a day while remaining perfectly socially acceptable.

Prague’s Febiofest is the biggest and by far the most beautifully curated film festival in Czech republic. Perhaps a good enough reason to forgive winter for it’s bad behaviour?

Febiofest, 23-31 March 2017 – in cinemas Cinestar Andel (nice and central) and Cinestar Cerny Most (nobody-loves-film-that-much far)

 

4. CAFÉ STAFF TO DROOL OVER

With bad coffee becoming virtually impossible to get anywhere in Prague these days, here’s to our new, evolved criteria to judge a café. I personally expect homemade almond milk, a toilet I don’t get locked in for the rest of the afternoon (…); plus everyone to smile, clap and possibly write me a surprise poem.

There’s a new Italian waiter at Coffee Room. I say, wise move on the part of a café that makes fantastic coffee (East London trained!) but somehow lacks in cosiness; and despite the very attractive menu (fig & goat cheese sandwich or toasted banana bread with homemade peanut butter, anyone?) chooses to close just when I get around to properly start my day (6.30pm) or need my brunch fix (Sundays).

Go on, see if you also find their cappuccino so commuteworthy. Let me just say that so far, every friend I took there lately coincidentally returned the very next day – Donna Summer style.

(Of course he has a girlfriend, silly.)

Coffee Room, Korunni 74, Prague 2 (metro A: Jiriho z Podebrad) Open Mon-Sat 8am – 6.30pm

 

5. OLD TIME FAVOURITES

A loyal reader of my blog that you are (just kidding! I have none), you certainly recall my dearest bar, Hemingway’s. A bar that I shall forever worship for having once created the perfect birthday drink for me based on mere two clues (pink and foamy), a bar where even the worst dates in the history of mankind (1. He had a boxing match and “just no time to change” 2. He brings his own snacks 3. He orders martini, returns it four times, makes the poor waiter sweat and stutter, decides bar is crap) feel almost pain-free… Last but not least, a bar that now finally became completely non-smoking. *fireworks sounds, national anthem playing in the background*

It is Hemingway’s that I took D. to for our farewell drinks prior to his return to homelands. We had a blast despite me having to go a little bit Henry Kissinger on him after he absolutely demanded I tell him if I think he has a serious problem with alcohol. Or codependency. Or both. And just then, the waiter brought us scratch cards.

… Four scratch cards (and no problem whatsoever on either side of the table) later, it hit me that change might be inevitable, new cocktail spots with cool crowd and no toilets often refreshing, but there’s something incredibly comforting about a bar that gets it right every time.

Hemingway Bar, Karolíny Světlé 26, Prague 1 (tram: Narodni divadlo)

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