A Free Trip to the Czech Republic

It’s a Tuesday morning in the Czech Republic and I’m sitting up in the light and airy third floor cafe above one of Prague’s most renowned theaters, trying out their special red espresso alongside a warm slice of juicy, black currant tart. From the long wall of windows to my right, I can see the sparkling Vltava River with its parade of long green, white and red boats.

After a relaxed day of wandering the cobbled streets of this living museum of a city I decide it’s time for lunch. I cross a wide bridge and pull up a wicker chair on the shady patio of a riverfront café. The waiter brings me a classic wild boar goulash with delicate potato dumplings. A cluster of pure white swans slip along the river’s surface just beyond my feet while the stately presence of Prague Castle presides over the city in the distance.

After dinner, I amble through an enormous, peaceful park of towering oak trees dotted with the hunting lodges of medieval emperors. On the other side of the park, I end up at an elegant, royal summer chateau—one of many in this area—where I happily get lost in the maze of apple trees and manicured gardens. The chateaux allows visitors to come inside and view its richly decorated Baroque interior. The entire building is filled to the brim with detailed frescoes, paintings and lavish sculptures.

I rounded off my evening by visiting an area known as Vinohrady, named after the city’s last remaining vineyards. From a beautifully-carved wooden gazebo atop an elevated park, favored by locals and visitors alike as the perfect wedding venue, I watch the quaint, orange-roofed city float on in its timeless aura as I enjoy a perfectly chilled glass of local white wine.

The following day, back on the cobblestoned streets of the city’s artsy district, I’m spoiled for choice as to where to eat. A stroll through this up-and-coming area is an international affair with Greek, Lebanese, Japanese, Bulgarian, Russian and French cafes, restaurants and shops. I opt for a newly-opened and very hip bistro where I’m treated to homemade organic goodies like a refreshing beet parsley salad, green tea cookies and a fantastically fragrant elderberry spritzer made from the abundant elderberry bushes that grow locally.

I finished off my day in a sun-dappled beer garden under the widespread arms of chestnut and linden trees (the Czech national tree) sipping a foamy, golden beer celebrated as the best in the world.

As the sun sets over Prague’s wise old skyline, I remember how lucky I am that I’m being paid to indulge in this day of delicious adventures.

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