Monday, October 5, 2009

Like a Day at the Park

Hello all! I just got back from taking my pups to one of the local parks a few blocks from my flat. The park is called Riegrovy sady and is located in the Vinohrady district of Prague (Praha 2). Find it on the map HERE!

I stumbled upon this place just a few days ago and am currently wondering why I did not know about it sooner! Like many parks across Prague, you will often see them teeming with activity. Since Prague has one of the largest dog per-person ratios, residents are always out and about with man's best friend. This park is no different. In many places around the area you will find "dogs run free" signs where park goers will stand around talking with each other while their pups have a play day.

One incredible feature that sets this park above many you will often find, is the incredible view of the surrounding city. At first glance, one will normally walk around enjoying the activity and the greenery, and unless you go along the right path or know about this park to begin with, it will come as quite a shock when you witness the incredible views this park boasts. I know it was a surprise when I first stumbled upon this park. The city of Prague was built on a number of hills, but you will often forget this fact as you walk around the city. VIews like this remind you of the cities geography.

Another thing about this park that reminds you that you are in Prague (as if one would forget :D ), is the park bars! This is one feature that I have never seen in a park in the United States. Now, I am not talking about a bar that shares a street on the outskirts of a park. I am talking about not one, but several bars that are located within the center of park which is only accessible by park goers. There are no roads to these bars, so walking is the only way you are going to find them. Many are focused towards enjoying the outdoors, so you will often see people sitting on the outside benches with their dogs enjoying the day. Here is the first one I came across.
It has a great atmosphere and seems to always be busy with park goers. Just today I overheard a wife say to her child that he should go call over the dog so daddy and her can go have some vodka at the pub :). If you do not wish to stay outside, you will find the interior nice and warm. The bar has a beautiful wood interior, as is the the bar structure which is also inlaid with large stones. They feature a few brews on tap with prices ranging around the $1.50 range for a half liter of pivo. When the weather is nicer, there is also available roof seating where you can sit and enjoy the weather, along with a hot meal and a mug of Czech beer. Overall, the place has a very nice feel to it and it is a nice place to take a break.

Another interesting bar you can find in this park is a strictly outdoor space. There are small stands where you can order a meal and a beer, and then sit down at one of the park benches with umbrella and either enjoy some sports on the big screen or a local play or concert on the stage if you happen to be there during a structured event. Today there were perhaps 7 tables full of families enjoying a beer and watching the game.

Like all the places around the park, everything is very inviting and generally the people around are just having a great time enjoying what the park has to offer. Right across from this outdoor event space you will find a more indoor restaurant and pub. I didn't really stop by to check it out, but I did snap a quick picture.

Besides these features, the park also has a full playground which is usually teeming with children, many small gathering areas with picnic tables or benches, and on the South side of the park there is and old school, which now has been converted into a neighborhood rec. center which includes game courts, a track, swimming pool, restaurants, and other enticing amenities. Outside the door they have postings for various classes one could sign up for, from sports related activities to hobby groups. It is truly nice to have access to these resources. There are also fields where dogs are not allowed so you have a nice place to go lay in the sun, work on some homework, or maybe read a book while enjoying the outdoor space. No fear of finding some doggie surprises hiding in the grass :)

I will conclude this entry with a few random snapshots from my day. I hope you enjoy, and if you live in this area or plan on making a visit, maybe this is a nice place you can go and check out :)

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