This year the destination for our annual Christmas Market trip was Prague and because of the flight times from Glasgow I had to spend a day longer there than my fellow Marketeers, it's a tough life :)
We arrived in Prague the evening before the main market opened, what can I say we were keen??
So our first port of call the next morning was to check out the main market in the Old Town Square, which as you can see was appropriately festive for the weekend ahead.
Prague's Christmas markets are spread out throughout the city with stalls set out naturally in Wenceslas Square as well as in other areas of the city
including in front of St George's Basilica next to Prague Castle.
We ventured off the beaten track a bit to visit Namesti Miru Christmas market, which is held in front of the Church of St Ludmilla. This market had a much less touristy feel with stalls selling mistletoe branches and Christmas trees as well as Czech sausages and hot drinks.
There has been an open-air market at Havelska street in Prague since 1232 when Wenceslas 1 was the ruler, so it was definitely on our list of must-visits!
Of course as well as sampling the delights of warming svarak (mulled wine) we had to try the local speciality of trdelnik, or chimney cake, which as you can see above is a pastry wrapped around a roller and baked over coals. It is then rolled in sugar or cinnamon and can be eaten as is or filled with fruit, cream or chocolate. You will not be surprised I am sure to know that we went for the filled version, with a delicious Apple Strudel filling!
For the first time on one of our market trips we stayed in an apartment rather than a hotel and it worked out really well. We were a 5 minute walk from this view from the Charles Bridge to the Castle and Cathedral,
We spied this very patient donkey in the live tableau at one of the markets in the city.
We were, however, rather underwhelmed by the Christmas markets in Prague to be honest. The majority of the stalls were selling food or drink which was fine but there is a limit to how much mulled wine and cake a girl can eat and drink! The market in front of the cathedral, for example, had 29 stalls and all but 5 of them were for food or drink.
One of our pleasures from visiting markets in Germany is collecting the ceramic mugs that the mulled wine is sold in, the particular stall we buy from is often determined by the novelty of their mug :) In Prague, however, the drinks are all sold in paper cups which had the benefit of making the cost of the wine cheaper but wasn't quite so appealing.
We had hoped too, that as our visit was at the beginning of December that we would be able to find different to the usual Advent Calendars, we have very fond memories of the Gingerbread Advent Calendars that we found in Aachen. Again we were disappointed as there were no Advent related gifts or calendars at any of the markets we visited.
One of my youngest son's favourite foods is Stollen, the fruited yeast bread with a marzipan centre, and he is often the happy recipient of several Stollen items from these market trips but we couldn't find anything like it in Prague either. The chimney cakes weren't for travelling unfortunately.
We enjoyed our trip and saw lots of lovely parts of Prague, but I could not in all honesty recommend it as a Christmas Market destination. It will be back to Germany, hopefully, for us next year!