Archive for June, 2013

Top 5 Things to do in Prague

June 26, 2013

Hello world!  Yeah, like many other bloggers I am following, it seems that the start of summer has slowed down the posting. 😉

I’m still here in Zurich; exploring parks with my dog, continuing the intensive German classes, beginning rehearsal for a musical (!!), attending Red Cross volunteer meetings, attending picnics, and just trying to enjoy summer while it’s here!

So with that quick catch up, here’s a post on my top 5 things to do in Prague — because we just spent a long weekend there.

1. The Pivo

The typical glass you will find your pivo served in

Ok, so not really a sight to see or something to explore. Not even any certain kind of pivo (beer), just the pivo in general. But in case you are looking for a few recommendations, the following places had pretty great pivo: U Sadu (very unique interior decor), U Zlateho Tygra (just one on tap, but amazing), U Flecku (also just one on tap and very touristy). We likely didn’t even make it out to all the best spots. Really, just get some beer here anywhere you go and you should be set.

2. Pražský hrad (Prague Castle) and St. Vitus Cathedral

This photo hardly does the Cathedral justice

Of course this makes it on my list. There’s so much history here that for that alone, it should be in everyone’s top 5. Plus, this Cathedral is absolutely my new favorite Cathedral in the world. I recommend taking the “short visit,” (as opposed to the more expensive “long visit” ticket with more things to see), but then again, I guess I don’t know what I missed. I just know that the short visit to Prague Castle, the Cathedral, and the Golden Lane took us about 3 hours and was quite enough to see. Mr. Goat particularly enjoyed the impressive collection of armor and weaponry dating back from the middle ages (and if I recall, even some much earlier items).

3. Malá Strana (St. Nicholas Church)

In this church, there are many opportunities to take fancy pictures like this

I’ve never seen so much gold in one place in my life. Now this is what I called getting carried away with your decor. As a bonus, nearby is the glorious Bakeshop where Mr. Goat and I got breakfast to go every morning. Really wish Zurich had something like this.

4. The Love Locks

If you look closely, every one of these locks has basically the same sort of thing inscribed on them:
A + R = (love symbol)

Ok, so I know it’s cheesy and apparently Prague is not the only city that has this, but it was my first experience seeing this, so I thought I’d at least tell you where you can find it in Prague. Apparently, there are many different theories as to why this tradition began, but the symbolism, I think, is quite romantic — adding your lock to the collection and then throwing away the key; therefore becoming bound with your partner forever in time (well, or at least until the city decides to clean it all up).

5. Trdelnik

They make these sugary, crunchy bread treats reminiscent of caramel corn right in front of you. Bonus — check out the awesome Chess lady buying one!

Trdelniks, the specialty of Prague — or at least it sure seemed that way, because they were sold on the street everywhere. And they are delicious. Definitely makes my top 5 list.

So there you have it! From our weekend in Prague, I have determined that these are my top recommendations for friends.

Now to go back in the sun while it lasts!

How Did This Starbucks Appear in My Hands?

June 3, 2013

Yes, I hail from Seattle: Starbucks center of the world.

What the world imagines a typical Seattlite to look like

No, I was not a huge fan of Starbucks back home. There is much more interesting and artisanal coffee to be found. And dare I say, many Seattlites would agree with me. Come on Seattlites reading this blog, back me up. Starbucks is the root of all evil, yes?

So then tell me: WHY did I end up with a Starbucks in my hand?? Not just one time, either, but I’m ashamed to admit that on average I’ve been getting a grande latte once or twice weekly since I’ve been here. Yes, I know. A grande. I was never more than a tall type of girl.  But fear not, I haven’t yet degraded to fancy-shmancy coffee orders which would really single me out as an arrogant Seattle coffee snob.

Taken at my most recent Starbucks visit. And yes, the prices are outrageous.

Well, besides the fact that I think I had been subconsciously seeking out anything that might remind me of home, it’s because I *desperately* need coffee in order to get in any state of mind for my morning German classes. And, much to my surprise, it has been nearly impossible to find coffee around Bellevueplatz. I have spent countless mornings walking around for nearly a half an hour all the way up into the Niederdorf. I have found a few decent looking cafes — which were not open before 9. -.-  There are a couple restaurants open that early which I have not checked out yet, but who knows, may sell decent coffee to go.

Anyway, point is, unless I’m clearly missing some amazing place (and please point it out to me in the comments), I cannot seem to find coffee around Bellevueplatz. Except for Starbucks, that is.

And then one day in German class, when I come in with my grande latte, I strike up a conversation with the only other American in my class (who I have consequently seen with Starbucks in hand). I vent to him about the difficulty in finding other coffee options nearby and he says “well, did you try the coffee shop at Bellevueplatz?” My head spins — what coffee shop?? I’ve searched this whole area nearly every morning. I don’t understand.

It takes him about 5 minutes to explain this to me (and that’s in English), but apparently I’ve been blind to a coffee shop right in Bellevueplatz. Like where my tram drops me off. Very confused, I decided to check it out the next time I’m having serious issues waking up in the morning.

Coffee shop right IN Bellevueplatz (in the background – see the glass doors). How did I miss this?

Indeed, he was right. There is a coffee shop RIGHT there in Bellevueplatz that I have walked by every morning and ignored. Well, wouldn’t you too? I mean, come on, you can’t see into the coffee shop. It’s just this small round thing in the middle of all these tram stops. I had written it off as a ticket station or something.

Coffee verdict: I got a latte, which had waaay too much milk in the milk to coffee ratio, but when I *could* taste the coffee, it was worlds better than the Starbucks I had subjected myself to for the last month. Next time I think I’ll just go for drip.

So tell me Zurichers: where is the good coffee??