As I wrote it on 28 June 2014
Our home away from home is called Prague Old Town Apartment. It was very charming, had tons of character and definitely offered lots of comfort.
That was not the first impression though. Honestly, we were tired, hungry and apparently dehydrated. Few sips of water from Dubai (never again) led to small mishaps creating a snowball of confusion.
We were dropped off at a cobbled street which is typical of Europe. One thing we were glad was we didn't have wheeled suitcases to haul around with us. Still does not discount the fact that at that point, we were very disoriented. The maps just didn't make sense to me or Joseph. We got lost at the start and walked and walked in streets we are not familiar of.
The check-in process was meant to be smooth. Most guest found the place easy. Our host, Teresa and her family were ideal, we were the problem. She even sent her brother to find us but even when the poor man asked us if we were the guests from Saudi, it didn't click in our heads? Thick, eh? After 20 minutes of us walking and him driving about looking for the loopy family, we finally realised that he was looking for us!
We got to the building before the host's brother and I was a little disappointed when we finally found the house’s street. A little embarrassed is the best description because I couldn't stop talking about how charming the apartment was to my husband and then there we were in a street that's not so impressive.
It was hidden. There were graffitis on walls, the main door of the building looked outdated. And there's no one to receive us... because he was driving around looking for us! In all seriousness though, we didn't fully appreciate how lucky we were to have it for a few days! We also didn't know that most of Europe is like that, progressive and expressive.
Those writings on walls are not considered eyesores the way it is in other countries. Back home, if we see those, we smell danger. For us, it is automatically considered as works of gangs. In Europe, it's different. Theirs evolved from years of oppression, to freedom, to art form. It has become part of a place's character, something we now understand, having traveled a bit of this world.
In the end, we finally got reunited with the host's brother for the third time (3rd!) We said our apologies, hi's and hello's. He gave us our key and off he went to some appointment he was then quite late, thanks to us. Oooops!
We went up to the house which was on the first floor of the building and we were pleasantly surprised. It was how the photos portrayed it and then some.
We were greeted by soft beds. The house was clean and had all the modern equipment we needed and even the ones we didn't know we do. Coffee machine, wash and dry machine (and I meant, dry and fold kind of dry), full size fridge and freezer, hot plate cookers, dishwasher, electric blinds, security camera, bathtub that's also a jacuzzi, got my point? The view offered from the big windows is so relaxing and welcoming especially in the morning. Trees from a compound which was a monastery if I'm not mistaken.
Our very first AirBnB experience and we were certainly not disappointed!
We were fatigued, fell into a a deep slumber until 2PM. The only reason why we went out was because we needed to stock up our kitchen, have lunch, get familiar with the area and celebrate that WE ARE FINALLY IN EUROPE! Our very first, as a family. We finally traveled to see and discover a place, not to see relatives, not to pass by on our way home. We purposely went to get cultured. That was a big step then and I think, one of the best decision we have ever made.
As we got ourselves oriented in our temporary neighbourhood venturing out to the streets of Prague, we realised that our house is a short walk to everywhere. The house, the street, the area is a real gem. It was in a quiet area a few minutes walk from the buzzing and crowded must-see places but also far enough to feel relaxed and to enjoy the serenity of vacation. We couldn't be any happier.
Searching for the nearest shop to buy our grocery, we ended up in the same area we were dropped off from the airport. Namesti Republiky. Palladium Praha is a 5-minute walk from our house. It is tax-free if you want to go shopping in Prague.
We have a tradition of having the first few meals in a good old fashion junkfood chain. It was a toss between MickeyD's or KFC... we went for KFC and enjoyed a different way of fried chicken. It. Was. Tasty!
Some might think, it's a sad thing to do in such a beautiful country, but it was finger-lickin' good. Lemme let you in into my fascination with it. KFC is KFC wherever you go. Wrong! Each KFC or whatever chain you try has their own way of making it appeal to locals without losing its identity. KFC in Philippines is definitely different from the UAE's and so is Czech Republic's, South Korea's, Indonesia, France! More often than not, they are unique in their own way.
We discovered that chicken wings is a big thing in Czech Republic. They even sell wings in buckets! We see buckets per person happening. They were eating the wing buckets as a normal meal. More people bought wings than normal chicken parts (made me actually wonder, how many chicken goes into each serving?... and that's for another story, I guess). Everyone was nibbling on them, utensils were snubbed. Fingers, messy but yummy and very enjoyable to watch (creep).
I've seen people create pizza crust pyramid. In Czech, we saw them create pyramids made of wing bones. Fascinating. When we go back, we must have our own!
After the delicious meal, we managed to finally buy grocery, not from Palladium but from Alberts which is connected to another mall opposite Palladium. It looked like it used to be a train station, something to find out next time.
We were fed, fully supplied, we went home to wait for our first activity in Prague. The RIKSHA!!! Will talk about it in the next few throwbacks.
The morning after, we started the tradition of cooking a meal in every AirBnB home we stayed at. It's hard to describe the feeling. We felt as if we were socially integrating just by the mere act of filling up the kitchen with essentials for a few days. What a pleasure!
FB post 29th June 2014 "why is it when you are on vacation in an unfamiliar place, everything you do seems all poetic... Enjoyed making coffee for me and hubby, enjoyed watching him make toasts, enjoyed waking my sleepy buggers up... enjoyed waking up to chirping birds and trees bathing the gorgeous sunlight. #lovinglife"
Check-out process was seamless. We switched off everything, locked the door then dropped off the key 🔑 into the mailbox.
Check out Prague Old Town Apartment if you are going for a visit as a family or a small group of friends. It's a wonderful apartment walking distance to everywhere important!
This apartment became our bench mark for all other AirBnBs and for a good reason.
We used to flip through the pages of glossy magazines or colourful webpages, drool and gawk at gorgeous places we only dreamed of seeing. We used to daydream over the idea of food we might never get to taste. Wondered how each destination feels.