Archives for posts with tag: europe
A hot air balloon near Bournemouth beach

A hot air balloon near Bournemouth beach

The past 12 months have been fairly busy for me; I switched flats, got engaged, passed my driving test and started a new job. As well as these milestones, the highlights of the year for me were watching the Winter Olympics in February, visiting Norway in May, and continuing to be inspired by so many things, from window worshipping in Kent, to viewing incredible war art for the centenary, getting creative with my face, and nomadic felines on film.

I’m not sure what 2015 will bring, and I haven’t made any plans so far, but I hope to up my blog posts and go on a few more adventures.

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog. I appreciate the comments and follows so much. Have a great 2015 x

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The Art Deco Imperial Hotel in Prague was built between 1913 and 1914 by architect Jaroslav Benedikt. The hotel became very popular until German soldiers also took a liking to it during WW2. After the War, however, it regained its popularity amongst nationals and tourists.

As well as Art Deco, The Imperial has Art Nouveau elements inside, which is synonymous with Prague, for example, mosaic work in the entry. Whilst the entrance is rather beautiful, the same cannot be said for the exterior of the building, which is very grey and dare I say it, a bit ugly. It is, however, a listed building, thanks to its age and history. The hotel was recently restored six years ago and remains true to its heritage.

The lobby and hallways are quite decadent, and have decorative touches, such as gold edging on wall corners, and harlequin mirrors. The hotel boasts high ceilings and heavy wooden doors, which look fantastic, but in reality were irritating when other guests let them go, causing a noisy bang.

I slept in the Deluxe Room (cheapest option) which was very relaxing and quite elegant. The bed was grand and comfortable, with giant pillows. I particularly liked the Deco furniture and the art work. There was perhaps a little too much gilt, but overall it worked well with the style.

The bathroom was lovely but had an issue: the bath, whilst huge and comfortable (it had a built-in bath pillow), was very high and climbing in and out of it to use the adjoined shower was quite perilous at times, especially as I slipped once on the way out.

Staff were friendly and polite, although I didn’t require a lot of help, other than to inquire about the bus back to the airport. I didn’t eat in the restaurant, although I wish I had; the food I ate in other establishments was less than satisfactory.

Overall I enjoyed my stay and would return were I to visit Prague in future. For a five-star hotel, however, I would have liked some more complementary items, such as free mineral water, in-room wi-fi (the hotel lists free wi-fi, but there is no free wi-fi access in your room), a larger selection of tea and coffee options, and a re-labelling of their television channels (some of the few English-speaking channels were missing).

Despite this, the hotel is good value for money and in a decent location. It was generally quiet (I stayed during the week) and I slept very well. The room was relaxing and comfortable, as well as stylish, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a base to explore Prague.

NB Be aware that hotels in Prague require you to pay a tax to the city (about £4) when checking out, on top of your bill.

http://www.hotel-imperial.cz/

Prague, city of crystal and marionettes, city of grandiose, intricate architecture and questionable food. How you tore me with your heavenly spires and your plentiful con merchants. How you wore me down with your perpetual cigarette fog and built me back up with your awe-inspiring statues.

The Czech capital is an architectural feast of Gothic, Renaissance, Cubist, Art Nouveau and Baroque delicacies. Despite the graffiti scars, you cannot fail to be impressed with the array of styles, colours and materials. The centre of Prague is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with good reason.

One of my favourite buildings was St Vitus Cathedral, which is situated in the Prague Castle complex. It is a stunning, gothic creation, complete with gargoyles and colourful stained glass windows. St Vitus was finished in 1929, nearly 600 years after building commenced. The front and back of the cathedral are therefore quite different in appearance; the back is equally impressive, resplendent with gold details and painted stone. It is a working cathedral, holding regular Catholic mass.

Possibly the most famous landmark in Prague is Charles Bridge, which straddles the Vltava River and was named for King Charles IV in the 15th century. It is flanked by three gothic bridge towers and is lined with saints. Disappointingly, the Baroque statues are replicas of the originals from the early 18th century, however, these are currently housed in museums.

Another of Prague’s most popular attractions is the Astronomical Clock, located in the Old Town Square, dating back to the late 13th century. It features two large faces, one of which is a calendar, incorporating signs of the zodiac. Every hour on the hour the clock strikes in to action, with several figures, including a representation of Death, moving mechanically. The clock itself is beautiful and complex but if you’re expecting a performance you’ll be clock-watching for a long time.

The Christmas markets, situated in the Old Town and Wenceslas Square, were nice enough but there was a lot of repetition. Although, the markets were missing one interesting sight due to the earliness of the month: live carp, which is traditional Czech Christmas Day fare, rather than the typical turkey.

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Winter is definitely the season to view Prague – the city was filled with festive cheer and plenty of Christmas trees and lights. It wasn’t too cold, despite advice to the contrary, and Prague doesn’t see a lot of rain. Visiting in winter means you also avoid the inevitable stag and hen parties.

Prague is a beautiful city with an interesting history. It is this beauty and history that draws tourists from all over the world – to marvel at its architecture, to trace ancestry, and to immerse themselves in the past. It is a city that knows only too well that this is more than enough to keep tourism alive. The drawbacks – an abundance of beggars, poor signage, graffiti and foul-smelling drains – do somewhat mar the experience.

Despite the prevalence of Art Nouveau in Prague, I chose to stay in an Art Deco hotel, more of which tomorrow.