Try and get a little off the...
Try and get a little off the main touristed streets, even just a few blocks, as you can still find the real Czech Republic lurking in the corners. When you are traveling from city to city on an every other day basis, you tend to find a comfort zone within each one. You just cannot be bothered to be too experimental at least with regard to something as mundane as mass transit. And so in Prague, we found ourselves either walking or taking the same two trams around town. Of course, the day we were to take an early morning train to Plzen, I had the brilliant idea after looking at the city map, of going to a Metro stop that appeared so close to where we were staying. Oh, it was close all right, but as soon as we started walking in that direction, it was obvious that as close as it was, it was also about a three hundred foot climb, nearly straight up a flight of steps. It was too late to catch our normal tram and so we found ourselves in for some exertion that neither of us had planned on. Hanna, being a fairly heavy smoker, was less than enthused but surprisingly lagged not far behind me. We made good time but I really did not think we could make it and was caught off guard somewhat when my cohort started a mad rush for the metro train, nearly dancing sure footedly down the flights of stairs to the platform. I have to admit that I had a harder time keeping up with her then than she had on the way up. The race was not over yet as we still had to buy tickets for the train once at the main station, with another dash to the platform there as well. Reaching it just in time, we plopped down in our seats out of breath, just happy to be on our way to Plzen. As it turned out, we were not in a race with each other; it was a race against time. We smiled at each other knowing we both had won.
Walk into the first five bars that you see, ask for a 'pivo' and you'll probably have received five different beers. Decide for yourself if you prefer 'dark' (tmavy or cerny) or 'light' (svetly). Generally the light beers are stronger and the dark beers are sweeter. I stick to dark beers from places with draught although I will drink Krusovice and Kozel from bottles. Czech is Number one in beer consumption per capita and will be forever unless Bavaria splits from Germany. I'd never pay more than 30Kc for a beer even in the centre of town.
Its seems difficult to get in...
Its seems difficult to get in touch with the local people. For me it looks like they're not used to living in an open society after the end of communism. Local people smiling or beeing service minded to tourists are rare... This one got a lot of tip, and finally we got a smile!
"Off the Beaten Path" is a relative concept in Prague, but I was delighted at how quiet, peaceful, and untouristy the Waldstein Gardens were - especially after battling the crowds on Charles Bridge and at the Castle. Albrecht Waldstein (or Wallenstein) lived from 1581 to 1634, and was commander of the Holy Roman Emperor's Catholic forces during the first phases of the Thirty Years War. After taking Prague from the Protestants early in the conflict, Waldstein was given some of the property and estates seized from the defeated "rebels." Waldstein's Palace here in Prague is currently home to the Czech Ministry of Culture and isn't open to the public, but the elaborate gardens are a kind of Renaissance Gardening museum, and there are also open-air concerts held here during the summer. I especially liked the free-range peacocks wandering around the shrubberies.
Snacks from the street vendors
Be sure to try Trdlo, which is some kind of pastry and it looks really interesting how they do it.
Also I recommend Karlsbader Oblaten, which looks like paper, but tastes just great!
Both Snacks can be purchased around Old Town Square.