Top 10 tips for a Getaway to Prague

Prague is an absolute favourite city for me and my boyfriend. For our first anniversary, he whisked me off and we fell in love with the place – beautiful architecture, first class restaurants and scenery to die for. So this year, I did the same for him and now it’s safe to say we know our way around.

Going to Prague, or considering whether it’s for you? Here’s ten things to know before you jet off.

1. There’s room for every kind of trip – Charlie and I have been to Prague twice for 2 romantic getaways, and both times we’ve seen hen and stag parties at one point or another. Prague is so cheap, which makes it a hotspot for younger generations no matter what stage of life you’re at – and if it helps, because everything is so spread out across the city, our romantic trip and the drunken adventures of those parties didn’t overlap too much.
2. Beer, beer beer – be warned, beer is EVERYWHERE. Czech’s make some excellent brews (Charlie really knows a lot more about this than I do, I’ll be honest. I just drink the stuff. Follow him on instagram at @palealedicannio for beer help!) and this is just a warning that it is cheaper than EVERYTHING ELSE. If you’re on the soft drinks, you’ll be paying more than your friends on the Pilsner. Also, a pint can be as little as 50p if you drink in the right places, so maybe make the most of one of the best cities for it and get a little sloshed on the cheap, if that’s your thing. (Please drink responsibly though. Don’t do a Lizzie circa Prague 2017 and have to be dragged back to your hotel by your boyfriend. That’s not cool).
3. Venture beyond the grapevine – Prague 1 is the hotspot of Prague and where you’ll find all the tourism spots, Charles Bridge, and all the designer shops. This is great but if you spend all your time there you’ll be broke in an hour. I had the best experiences in the authentic pubs we found in Prague 2, the hidden restaurants, and the underground tours that weren’t advertised through our hotel. You’ll find people that don’t just want to sell to you and you’ll see a whole lot more of the city, too (and it’s not too far from the centre, either. Spread out, see more, save money.)
4. Dress appropriately – now this is true for every destination of course, but with Prague I really mean it. The first year, we went in March and the whole city was flicking frozen. Well, I was. I was cold basically. So this year, going a few weeks later in April I packed jumpers, jeans and coats feeling all smug and prepared. Naturally it was boiling hot and I sweat for 4 days straight. Plan ahead, people.
5. Take your time – Prague isn’t exactly slow paced, but nowhere is ever as busy as London in my experience and Prague feels a lot more relaxed. Really breathe in the architecture entwined with nature, walk through the alleys that look a bit hidden, and see what you find. Prague is absolutely full of hidden gems and Charlie and I have had some of the best nights out/meals/conversations with people of our lives so far because we dared to explore. Please, please do the same.
6. Music is everywhere – Okay, I’m a tad biased because I’m always looking for music, but there is no reason not to see something live if you’re wanting to when you’re in the city. Whether it’s in the opera house, a cabaret bar, or something less common like the hidden underground jazz club we found ourselves sitting in under Old Town Square (you’re welcome) or the pianist in the same square that plays all night, with his keyboard wrapped in fairy lights. There is no limit to how much vibrancy and music you can find in Prague.
7. Eat traditional – I’ve turned vegetarian since getting back from Prague and I’m not sure how easy that will be to adhere to next time I find myself there. However, if you do eat meat, you’re in for an amazing experience in the food department. Think traditional eastern european and order something recommended by the waiter. Also, check out Portfolio for a fine dining experience so phenomenal we went 2 years on the trot and still reminisce about what we ate there. (What? The food is immense, okay?)
8. Walk far and wide – Even though uber is brilliant out there, you’ll miss out on so much if you don’t at least allocate one day to wander aimlessly and discover things. See point 5.
9. Talk to everyone – learning about a random bartenders way of life educated me a lot more than the tour we went on did. Don’t discount anybody – plus, it’s nice to be nice.
10. You don’t have to spend it up – 50p-£1.50 a pint most of the time, and if you venture out of Prague 1 you’ll find all the bargains.

I hope this helps any of you planning a trip! Prague is the best place for a proper escape, and really does have something for everyone. Get booking if you haven’t already…

Love,
Lizzie

Live Jazz with Pizza Express

This is a sponsored post.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I’m obsessed with my music, and if you know me personally, you probably know there’s a special place in my heart for jazz. It’s the basis of the best gigs i’ve been to, the most special nights I can remember with my boyfriend, and the music that makes me feel most like myself.

So when Pizza Express contacted me with an invitation to one of their coveted live jazz events, I jumped at the chance to cover it on my blog – jazz and pizza?! What more could a girl want?

It may come as a surprise if you’re not aware that Pizza Express are pretty big on their jazz, and have been for a while. One of my absolute faves, Jamie Callum, was heavily integrated with them on his rise in the jazz scene and the late great Amy Winehouse also played on their stages. Safe to say I knew the music was going to be good when I joined them in Maidstone last week, where I went with a friend.

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Trust me to head straight for the selfie mirror

Upon entering an intimate room with hues of pink and purple, we were greeted by the view of a grand piano, which is always certain to get my tummy tingling. Being a keyboard player is all well and good but I’m always itching to play a real piano! With prosecco and as much pizza as one can handle in an evening, we began exploring the venue.

I didn’t know how much you can actually get done in a pizza express. Dreamy pizza? Check. Live jazz? Check. Conference rooms with waitress service? Check, check. (And I’m not just talking a random room at the back either – top floor, high ceilings, art all over the walls and a mantelpiece, complete with ornate mirrors. Check.)

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Beyond the gorgeous rooms and intricately detailed staircases (yes, I notice the detail of staircases), we spent the night getting lost in the voices of Liane Carroll and Gwyneth Herbert – 2 absolute queens who floored me with their presence. Gwyneth Herbert’s off-beat rhythms and distinctive technique had the whole crowd either singing, clapping along, or a moment away from tears throughout the performance. Truly something special happens when she takes the stage.

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Gwyneth Herbert – atmospheric queen!

Liane Carroll was different – her voice was so soulful – a girl after my own heart! – and slightly more traditional. Her piano playing made you feel like you wanted to stay in that bar all night, watching her play, with a whiskey in hand. The incredible creativity in her songs was mindblowing, too – who ever thought you could mash up the sound of music with classic jazz tunes?

This was definitely a night to remember. Pizza Express have jazz nights all up and down the country, so whether you’re reading this in London or Birmingham, they’ve got you covered. I whole heartedly encourage you to go and discover what’s hiding upstairs in the evening of your local.

Thank you Pizza Express for having me at your beautiful event – and do get down to one of their nights near you, because in the words of Ray Brown, “Jazz is something you have to feel. Something you have to live”.

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