Su Le Mani: Hands Up For Our Favorite Italians! (Part I)

As you know, we made some great friends in Torino, and we were so excited when Chiara and Niccolò booked a weekend trip to see us in Prague! They flew in Friday night and we met up with several others in the group at a local craft beer pub.

After a few drinks, and lots of chocolate – they brought us so many delicious Ferrero products – we headed back to my apartment. On our walk home, barely past midnight, we got loudly shushed from some neighbor leaning out of his window…multiple times. Westley, our Prague local ambassador, had told us Czechs are “early to bed, early to rise”. What we didn’t realize was just how seriously they took it.

Saturday morning, we meandered over to Café Jen for some coffee. While in Italy, I discovered my favorite coffee drink is a doppio macchiato; essentially a mini cappuccino in an espresso cup (less milk than a regular cappuccino) and a doppio makes it a double. Turns out, they’re really hard to order outside of Italy. (While in Valencia, I was given a cappuccino with two shots of espresso plus two extra double shots of espresso on the side. That was A LOT of caffeine.) At Jen’s, we went back and forth several times trying to order, finally landing on a flat white. While delicious, it’s no doppio macchiato. Considering I was with two Italians, I’m sticking with the fact that we were right and Café Jen just didn’t know what it was.

Energized by our coffee, we met Jillian, Sarah and Michelle for brunch at Café Slavia, a historical restaurant across from the National Theater. You can still smoke in the restaurant; I’m so used to no smoking inside that it always throws me off. Post-brunch, we walked along the Vltava River…

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…and explored Old Town Square, heading up into the Astronomical Clock.

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We made our way over to Charles Bridge, stopping to try the gloriousness that are trdelníks. This incredible invention is rolled dough, wrapped around a metal stick, grilled over open coals, then finally rolled in cinnamon sugar and sliced walnuts. This is a wonderful dessert of yesteryear that thankfully, is still enjoyed along the streets of the Czech Republic. However, Instagram has taken trdelníks to an all new level. Now, people line the grilled pastry dough with chocolate, then fill it with frozen yogurt. It’s as amazing as it sounds.

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Although really messy.

As we crossed the Charles Bridge, Chiara asked Niccolò to tell us about Franz Kafka. Besides knowing that he was Czech and wrote Metamorphosis, I knew very little about him. Thanks to Niccolò’s insane knowledge about pretty much everything, Chiara and I learned about Kafka’s family history (he had a pretty rough relationship with his dad), the summary of his most famous work, The Trial (pretty much every person’s worst nightmare) and about his untimely death and posthumous fame (Kafka left instructions to his friend that upon his death, he was to burn all of his work, unread. Ignoring his wishes, the friend read through all of it, recognized his talent and, despite the fact that many were unfinished, published much of Kafka’s work).

Feeling far more intelligent than I started the day, we headed to the John Lennon Wall (more to come on the wall in a future post).

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We meandered our way around the Prague Castle, ducking into cobblestoned side streets…

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…admiring the views…

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…and colorful buildings.

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The company and conversation were so great during our walk around Prague Castle, we just kind of kept walking, and ended up over on Petřín Hill, a park a little south of the castle.

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We walked through the park then back up to the castle to enjoy the view overlooking the city.

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To be continued…

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