It was a weekend of celebration. Many people spent Saturday night out in the open, drinking champagne in the streets of Prague or savouring the feeling of walking through border check points, with nothing but an identity card. The media reported on the birth of the first Euro babies in the Czech Republic and endlessly quizzed Czechs about how they felt as European citizens. Euro balloons, flags and Euro-car stickers sold like hot cakes. Now, the party's over and it's "business as usual" as the reality of our EU membership slowly sinks in. So in
In its assessment last November of the Czech Republic's preparedness for EU membership, the European Commission (EC) stressed that Prague was still lagging behind with regards to food safety and hygiene norms. Since then, Czech food processing companies and restaurants have worked hard at meeting EU requirements.
Prague is pretty progressive on most things but until recently lacked a venue providing a service long adored in other parts of the world - karaoke - that sublime form of entertainment from Japan that brings out the Elvis or Tiny Tim in all of us. Whether you have a voice that makes listeners swoon, or raises the fur on the cat's back instead - in Prague you have a place to go at last. It's called Utopie - Utopia in English - and it is a bar located on the city's massive Charles Square, open from dusk till dawn, 6 nights a week.
Prague is a city with no shortage of bars, discos, and even cocktail lounges but until now it may have been something of a problem to "step out" if you had children. No more. A new venue has opened in the city centre where you can meet with friends and take your little ones all at the same time - a place called Teta Tramtarie - found almost unexpectedly in busy Jungmannova Street. Tramtarie - which means something like wonderland in English, is at once a café, a playground, a children's bookstore - and even a children's theatre, frequented by parents
There aren't many places in Prague where one could go to completely lose oneself in a different culture - but there are a few. A sure bet is Dahab - Prague's self-styled 'odpocivarna' or chill-out space - where you can enter a world mixing countless Arabian influences in a thousand-and-one different styles. The perfect place to spend an afternoon over a cup of tea, a place to lounge with a favourite book, or to have lunch or dinner with friends, eating authentic dishes from the Middle East, long studied by Dahab's head chef. As you slip back onto
Recently new EU regulations came into effect requiring average or less than average Czech pubs to clean up their act - in terms of hygiene that is. No longer allowed are simple bathrooms in pubs with only cold-running tap water, and what until now was a sad excuse for a towel to wipe one's hands in, hanging from a rusty nail. And of course the new regulations don't stop there: they also stipulate stricter handling of food and rules for food preparation, which most, I believe, will greet as a welcomed and necessary improvement. I don't know, perhaps
Czechs are a nation of beer-lovers, and rare is the street which doesn't boast at least one pub. These vary enormously - on one end of the scale the swanky, upmarket bars that cater for tourists and the more discerning locals, and on the other, the traditional, old-fashioned Czech boozer. But that second variety - the simple Czech pub - could be under threat, as new, strict hygiene rules come into force. Rob Cameron has this report.