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By Patricia Margaret Honeyfield

A city rapidly growing in prosperity, Prague presents an innovative face to the world, with its old architecture interspersed with funky ‘street style.’ Beautiful buildings, the monuments to its past, sit side by side with seriously good modern art and architecture and cafés that would hold their own anywhere in the 2012 world.

This is a city (often described as the Paris of the east) best enjoyed on foot.

For a morning constitutional take a walk (or run — the locals are very fitness conscious) over the Vltava River to the Mala Strana side. This side represents the residential face of Prague’s elegant past. Enjoy the lovely old apartment buildings, stately homes, Baroque Palaces, and, in contrast, the cosy neighborhood cafés that, during the long, cold winter months, with temperatures well below freezing, take on the role of social hubs. These are the same cafés that served as meeting places for the dissidents in the lead up to the turning point of the Velvet Revolution on November 17, 1989.

For a truly wonderful experience that will take you back a couple of centuries, head to the Café Savoy on Vitenza, just across the Most Leggi bridge. The Savoy oozes old world charm, sophistication, and atmosphere, with impeccable waiter service to match. Take special note of the beautifully embossed and painted ceilings with their statuesque chandeliers. A strong black morning coffee and a delicate pastry made in house are served on a silver tray, accompanied by a glass of sparkling mineral water (a nice touch). Lunch at Café Savoy can be as simple as three frankfurters floating sedately in an elegantly lidded silver bowl. They come served with three different types of mustard, a choice of yummy textured local breads, and a small bowl of finely grated hard cheese. The excellent local wines, a feature of the café, complement this simple yet sophisticated food. After lunch a demi tasse cup of strong black coffee is a must — and they do it well.

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