This morning, after enjoying our hotel breakfast and last bit of time in our presidential suite, we packed up our bags to be moved into a normal room at the hotel.
Once our stuff was all packed and ready for transport, we headed out toward the "castle" in Prague, which is really more like a palace with a big church in the center rather than a castle.
On the way, we came across some pretty squares and statues as well as a couple taking wedding photos. We had seen quite a few couples taking wedding photos in Santorini, but we ended up seeing even more throughout our time in Prague.
We knew we were in the right place to see the castle when we came across a giant snaking line of people in a courtyard in front of a guarded building with an ornate gate.
This line was only for security to get into the castle area, so it went fast.
Once we were inside, we were bombarded by even more crowds and giant lines. We ultimately ended up deciding to just check out the outside of the buildings and church and gardens rather than waiting in a bunch of lines to buy tickets and to get into each place.
Everything was quite beautiful, and we caught the end of a changing of the guard ceremony as well!
While walking down from the castle, we came across a bar that was selling draft beer in take away cups for 30 crowns (just over 1 USD). We got a round and started off on a hunt to find a figurine of a boy riding a snail. (Backstory: when Elin and Dylan visited Prague nine years ago, she had seen a boy riding a snail figurine in a window display and always wishes that she had bought it.) We thought we might be able to find the exact thing or something similar, but alas we did not. The good news is that our hunt helped motivate us to do even more exploring of Prague's cute streets.
In addition to having beer to help fuel our search, we also picked up an interesting cake thing that a ton of shops sell. (The English translation for the name that I saw in a couple places was "Chimney Cake.") It's essentially made from rolled dough that is wrapped around and cooked on a stick and then covered in sugar. You can order them plain or with all kinds of filling - chocolate, whipped cream, fruits, ice cream, etc. We just opted for plain. It was really tasty!
Around this time, we remembered that we hadn't yet visited an absinthe bar, which is one of the things that I wanted to do while we were here. We found one that is really highly rated and went inside.
The place was empty when we got there, but it slowly filled in over the course of the time we were there. It had a pretty cool vibe and the bartender was really nice and helped us decide what we wanted to order. We ended up getting one Czech absinthe prepared in the traditional Czech way, which involves lighting a sugar cube sitting on a metal spoon on fire and having it melt into the absinthe. We also got a French absinthe prepared in the traditional French way, where the sugar cube is melted by water dripping from a cool looking vase thing into the glass. (They put dry ice in the water, which made for even more of a show.)
From the absinthe bar, we headed toward Wenceslas square, which is where the Velvet Revolution (a popular revolt against Communism) had started during the Cold War. The area had a bunch of shops and food stalls in it as well as a new statue exhibit. We did some exploring and eventually decided that we should try the "hot wine" that we had seen a lot of signs for. (After adding absinthe on top of a couple beers, we figured: why not add wine as well?) It tasted a lot like Swedish glug and was quite good!
From the square, we decided to head back near our hotel and find a good place to eat some Czech food. It was around 4:30 pm, but we found a highly rated place just outside of the main touristy area that was happily serving food despite the awkward hour. (We were very happy that we weren't in Spain.)
We sat at a cute little table that was originally a sewing table I think. I got goulash in a bread bowl and Dylan got a pork steak. And we got some potato dumplings with cheese (instead of the cabbage version that we had the night before.) It was all delicious!
Wanting to make the most of our very last bit of vacation time, we got a couple more of the chimney cakes and a couple beers to enjoy in our new hotel room, which wasn't anywhere near as nice as our presidential suite, but was still very respectable. (Interesting side note: the mattress, water pressure, and bathroom toiletries were all noticably less nice in the standard room than the presidential suite.)
We surely didn't need the extra beer or sugar, but we ended our three month vacation on a high note.