Hello, hello there strangers, or maybe I’m the strange one. It seems that time, or perhaps it was my writer’s block, got the best of me. But I’m here now.
To refresh our memories… I will bring us back to the first installment of my Vienna trip, also-known-as a Home Exchange: Part Deux: From Vienna With Love. There you can begin to salivate over homemade Schokolade-Nusskuchen, and other Austrian delights in case you don’t remember. Mmm how I dream of having a warm, crumbling bite of that nostalgic cake.
In the blink of an eye, let me take you on my journey to Prague
We made our way (the long, scenic way and getting a little lost) over to Czech Republic, where we would meet up and stay with some more friends we made through Home Exchange.
We were only there for a night, but at least we got to see this morning view of the historical Bohemian city.
Charles Bridge by night
This is one of those cities that’s meant to be seen at night, when their true romance comes out.
We were also able to go to Prague’s Muncipal House, which also has a concert hall. It transported me back to one of my favorite eras, Art Nouveau. Everywhere this art style echoed throughout the structure, with mosaics, whiplash curves, an ode to nature and a reaction to academic art. This building is a magnificent testament to this age; its philosophy was that life should be an art. A sentiment which finds its way into my own life.
Imagine a life surrounded by art.
We took advantage of the time we had in Prague, and stumbled upon a weekly Saturday market in one of the small squares throughout the city.
This stand caught my eye with its vegetarian delights.
It always strikes me when I travel abroad, especially to Europe, and I see things that are vegan or vegetarian. Although I don’t identify as either, I do appreciate the food and think it’s a sign of progression that these lifestyles are becoming more known and accepted in meat-centric countries.
They even had an array of sweets to choose from… impossible to pick just one!
Gopál is a vegetarian restaurant located in Prague, and there are two locations you can find, aside from the stand at the market. They are also featured on Happy Cow, which is a directory for vegetarian/vegan-friendly venues worldwide.
Vegetable pakora on a skewer
I didn’t have time to venture over to one of their sit-down eateries, but when I find myself in Prague again, I plan on stopping by. It seems like a place to have a very down-to-earth meal, no frills… just rustic Indian-inspired cooking, served cafeteria style. Honestly, sometimes that’s what I need to hit the spot, and calm the ego down.
This giant curried cauliflower fritter made for great road trip munching!
Greasy, spiced, and offering a hearty morsel with every bite… I only wished I had some sort of sauce or dip accompanying it, like a cooling yogurt raita.
Before we left, we picked up a lunch with our friend at one her recommended places, U Básníka pánve. Being a vegetable lover, I had been missing my greens in the form of a fresh salad.
The salads on the menu were found under “The Poet’s Garden”
When I spotted the words, “grilled goat cheese with prosciutto, served on toasted bread with wild fruit dip and baby lettuce,” I knew that was my choice du jour! Oh my word! I had no idea a salad could possibly taste this great! I urge you to try serving a salad with a compote of dark berries one day (or more!), accompanied with toasted walnuts. Oh and the GOAT CHEESE, can’t forget that. I had no idea fresh, warm goat cheese could be perfectly lively and creamy at the same time. I wanted to savor every bite of this simple combination. I offered the ham to my parents, but if you’re a meat-eater then I insist on trying it with the cheese and toast. Also, take note: don’t ever underestimate the power of simple buttered toast. This salad made for a memorable meal.
While we were waiting on our check I decided to indulge my curiosity, and explore a tiny shop full of relics across the street–Antik Bazárek.
After this lovely meal, and our good-byes we headed back to our beloved Austria. In Prague we discovered that the cuisine and beer culture are rich, and the little koruna we spent on a meal with plenty of wine (note: beer is what you really want to order when you’re here) pleasantly surprised us–leaving more for us to tip well.
The last time my family was in this region was before the dissolution of Czechoslovakia as a country. I can’t speak much on the topic of changes there, since I was a very young girl at the time; but I still had that familiar sense of subtle culture shock from when I first came to this area. It was partly the language barrier, but also a different mentality and way of life. Personally, I try to explore those feelings when they arise, trying to understand them rather than being afraid or simply rejecting something I do not know. I would love to revisit this place, and give it more time.
I made sure to leave my mark before I left: disarm with love and unlock potential.
Stay tuned for the fourth installment, but I have a surprise in store for you all… I will call it an “interactive intermission”.
Have you ever experienced culture shock? Tell me about it!