Friday, 21 August 2015

Neal's Yard

A  hidden gem- Neal's Yard is just near Covent Garden. It is in a quaint district known as Seven Dials. Neal's Yard is quiet, secluded, bursting with color and charm. The colours and vibe of the place leave you speechless .
In the 70s Neal’s Yard consisted of a few derelict warehouses on the edge of the less than fashionable Covent Garden area. Within a few years it became a crazy hidden-away place which it still is.
The place is not that big(a small courtyard) and there aren’t  many shops. Only a few shops selling local cheeses, organic and homeopathic products, massages (the real ones), couple of restaurants and cafes.
Homeslice pizza serves 20 inches pizzas for 20 pounds which is quite a treat.You can order hand and half .They serve by slice as well-4 pounds per slice.
Wild food cafe is a raw centric,vegan cafe. Their food is fresh and the desserts and smoothies are to die for.A great place for veggies and non-veggies like wise. They love what they do,and it is clear from the way they present. White Chocolate tart sprinkled with dried rose petals and nuts,never seen a dessert put so beautifully on a plate.Sit by the window with a dessert,you will have to experience the feeling,it can’t be described in words.A touch on an expensive side but it's all organic and raw,you get what you pay for.
The place is magical.You can just sit on one of the colorful octagonal benches  in the quiet courtyard and enjoy.It has become a regular place for us and we are asking friends who have not heard about this place,just so we get an excuse to be here again and again.The place is just out of a fairy tale and we love fairy tales :).
Neal's Yard
Covent Garden

Saturday, 1 August 2015


So our first Europe trip finally happened. First of the many I promise. 
Europe spoils you for choices for short trips, especially in summers. Different places offer different flavor of vacation. Prague finally trumped over other options because it checked so many check-boxes - beautiful, vibrant and lets admit it fantastic currency-exchange value. More in the blog on that. 
We went with the list of to-dos based on the research before our visit. But as always some of the best memories of the visits are unplanned :). Before we talk about the small subset of fun things to do in Prague lets cover an important topic. 
Transport in Prague 
If you plan to use public transport find a tobacco shop, marked and get yourself a pass. A 3 day pass worth 310 CZK per pass per individual was perfect for the duration of our stay.  More info can be found here. This pass can be used for any public transport and proved to be very convenient. Get it punched -in to activate your  72 hours period of validity and then feel free to hop in and out of any tram, bus or metro. These together connect every place of interest in Prague very well. 

All too famous touristy must-dos in Prague 
Charles Bridge
 This density of people on this bridges rivals that of infamous Bombay local stations but unlike any other the crowd makes it so much charming.There are hawkers,musicians to entertain and the place is so full of life. The parapets are lined by baroque statues and adds to the beauty of the place itself.  Quite rightly has been rated as one of the best sunset spots in Prague, especially if you are watching it from a few stories up from the tower.  
Here is the view from top of the charles bridge tower.
The tower is open from 8am to 10pm in summers and the ticket is for 90CZK per person.A mesmerizing view, beautiful people and a happy vibe - holy trinity.
If wading through the crowd is not your thing, visit the place at dawn to avoid the crowd and enjoy the place like you own it :). Prague is also getting popular for destination-wedding photography,so there were a few others who had taken the pain to get there by 5:30am.
A good thing about summers in Europe is you can do a lot,as the day starts at 4am and sunsets around 10pm. Leaves you lot of time for partying, sight seeing and relaxing.
Old Town Square
In our 4 days stay,there was not a single day when we did not visit this place.This is where everything happens. Lined by numerous restaurants, shops and performance artists, this place is buzzing with energy. Just hang around and soak it all in.

Astronomical Clock Every hour, it gets into action and hundred of tourists crowd the place.You can watch the video here.The Astronomical Tower offers some amazing views of Praha.The ticket is for 250CZK per person. The charm of the clock is the mechanical intricacy married with aesthetics.
Prague Castle
Another popular tourist destination that offers an good view of the city, The castle houses museums, cathedrals and historic monuments. There are 2 types of tickets-short tour and long tour for 250 and 350 CZK respectively.
The royal guard changing ceremony is a key attraction here. The guard changing happens  everyday at 12 noon in courtyard 3.

 If I have to be honest, I would skip this if I had known what was coming. But interest vary so check out whether it would excite you or you are better off spending time and money doing something else. I guess taking a guided tour may make this more interesting. Just a thought no promises here :)
Prague has some grand and posh cafes. We tried breakfast in different cafes on all morning of our stay. We were impressed by the food and desserts these cafes offered.
So much so that we think it needs a whole blog post.Read about where to eat in Praha here.
Breathtaking views
The city of hundred spires can be admired from the Old Tower, Charles Bridge tower,Prague Castle, Lenta park, Petrin Hill, Glass bar etc.
Lenon wall
Once a normal wall, since the 1980s it has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles' song-another fun place to be.
Dancing house
It was designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry on a vacant riverfront plot.Gehry originally named the house Fred and Ginger (after the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – the house resembles a pair of dancers.The glass bar and Fred and Ginger restaurant offer a great view of the city.We enjoyed a couple of drinks as we watched the sun set down from the Glass bar.
This is all we could do in our short visit and it was a lot of fun.There is still a lot more you can do.Take a cruise or paddle boat.Take a drink and just walk around,enjoy the view and music,the tram rides,Chill in a park with a view,watch the sun as it sets,there is happiness all around in Praha.
Lenta park