New Year’s Eve is always a big deal for our family and friends, which means that there’s a LOT of food – almost like a second Christmas in a week! So we decided to pre-emptively burn some calories with a bracing 4 hour walk around the local area.
As we headed towards the forest, we could see the snow cannons trying in vain to rescue the local “ski resort” reputation: it’s been a general outdoor holiday rather than a skiing holiday for everyone here.
Even without any snow though, the forest was still extremely beautiful and an absolute wonder to walk through.
About a third of the way along our route, an impromptu stop occurred, as we stopped to examine a stream with the most fantastic ice formations I have ever seen: water spray and droplets froze onto already existing ice, creating globular structures.
But of course, it being almost January, we saw some more traditional icicles too. It was very exciting, actually, as the UK is too warm to permit them from forming, but temperature is certainly not a problem in the Czech Republic (did I mention it was very cold today?).
At the end of our journey, we had a potful of hot Czech garlic soup Česnečka waiting for us, which was perfect for a warm up, and gave us the much needed morale boost to start preparing food for the celebrations.
Visiting new places is always so exciting! Especially when that new place is as beautiful as Prague. The weather today was perfect for a day out, too: bright and sunny, if a little on the freezing side!
However, the Christmas Markets were still going, which meant that at every square we were surrounded with amazing smells of cinnamon, chocolate, hot wine, roasting meats… But ruling over all was the scent of trdelnik – a Czech sweet bread, coated in sugar and cinnamon, twisted round a pole to form a tube and cooked over an open fire. Unfortunately, they were all eaten too quickly for me to get a photo!
Indeed, the spirit of Christmas seemed still present there, especially in the dedicated glass Christmas tree ornament shops: the Czech Republic is historically an area renowned for its glasswork and was the main rival of Venice for a long, long time.
Of course, our route also led us past the medieval clock, the Charles bridge and the breathtaking Gothic cathedral, the last being the most memorable for me: Gothic is hands-down my favourite architectural style. Just look at that ornate stonework!
A very busy Charles Bridge
Showing off the pretty architecture
An imposing facade
As beautiful as it is old
Another photo of the cathedral captured a steampunk-esque discrepancy in technology:
Finally, hungry and tired, we headed to a restaurant… where the waiters were trains!
And as I say goodbye and head off to bed for a well-deserved rest after this excursion, I leave you with another view of Prague as the sun was beginning to set.