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The Writer's Guide to Prague - Great Spots for Coffee & Creativity

Denise Turner
 


Visitors: 135

Are you a writer heading off to Prague? If so, you're headed in the right direction.

Having lived in Prague, I found that the capital of the Czech Republic is a great city for writers! It was home to renowned writer Franz Kafka and many other respected artists. The Czech people maintain a reverence for creative types and welcome them into their establishments. Since we writers love to hang out in coffee shops, this is good news. However, there are literally hundreds of cafés to choose from. How do you find the right one? Someplace that's not too touristy? Not too crowded? Most importantly, how do you find a café that has the right writing ambience?

I visited countless cafés during my extended stay in Prague. Below is quick list of my favorite writing hideaways. While each is distinct in style and flavor, they all have three things in common. First, they're off the beaten path but still close to the city's center. Second, they have friendly staff (something that shouldn't be underrated). Finally, each of these cafés has the type of atmosphere that is sure to summon your Writing Muse!

1. ) SLAVIA CAFÉ [Smetanovo nábreží 2 Praha 1] {Right across from the National Theater. }

This café is rich in history! It's been a gathering place for artists & intellectuals ever since it was built in the 1800's. Even under communist rule when the free exchange of ideas was forbidden, writers, poets and artists continued to frequent this café. Slavia is big compared to other cafés, so you're sure to find a spot. Be sure to get a seat near the windows. It's terrific for watching the old trams pass back and forth outside. Another nice perk: their lattes come with little flowers made of chocolate syrup resting atop the foam.

2. ) JÁMA V [Jáma 7 Praha 1] {Close to Wenceslas Square. }

If you need to listen to some classic tunes from the 70's while writing, this is your place! It's a true favorite among expatriates. The wait staff is welcoming and happy to serve. They have traditional American cuisine like burgers and fries. They also do an admirable rendition of Mexican food. The walls are filled with posters, so that scores of 70's rock-stars smile (or, in some cases, scowl) down upon you. Whether this inspires you to write a nostalgic piece, or try your hand at lyrics, the inspiration is there.

3. ) KAVA KAVA KAVA [Národni 37 Praha 1]{Inside a quaint little courtyard off the busy street of Národni. }

This place has the best coffee! Hence the name, “Coffee Coffee Coffee. " It often fills up quickly, so you have to hit it just right. Once you've secured a table, you may notice you're in the company of other writers scribbling away in notebooks or typing furiously on their laptops. Perhaps for this reason, I seemed to get hit with terrific writing surges every time I went to Kava Kava Kava. Or was it from the caffeine? Either way, it's a nice spot for writers.

4. ) THE GLOBE BOOKSTORE & CAFÉ [Pštrossova 6, Praha 1] {Close to the National Theater. }

This is a great place to meet up with friends, check e-mails and write! The atmosphere is trendy and the wait staff is friendly. It's a favorite stop for British and Americans alike. Everyone is welcome. As you walk in the door, you'll notice a little bookstore to your left. Yes, they carry books printed in English! The selections are quite good, and I was tempted into many purchases. I especially loved the heart-warming message on their receipts: “The Globe Loves You. "

5. ) THE ANAGRAM BOOKSTORE [Týn 4 Praha 1] {Located in a courtyard behind the Týn Church. }

I include this little store because it's a gem of a place, and no writer should be without one or two great bookstores! Although it doesn't have a café inside, there is one right next door. The Anagram is not your mega-bookstore with thousands of choices. It's a tiny, two-room place that, in my opinion, outranks them all. The selections are outstanding and the people are wonderful. Tacked the walls are postcards from past visitors who fell in love with the little bookstore. When I lived in Prague I visited Anagram on a near-daily basis. Since English books are bit more expensive in the Czech Republic, I spent a small fortune. And it was worth every penny. I truly miss this place!

Living in Prague fed my writing life in rich and unexpected ways. If you, too, are traveling to this fascinating city, I encourage you to make the most of your visit. When you need a break from the must-see tourist destinations (Old Town Square, Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, etc. ), step off the beaten path. Visit the Anagram or stop by one of my favorite old haunts. Order a delicious cup of coffee (kava) and write to your heart's content. Perhaps the spirits of Prague's legendary writers will be there with you, granting inspiration and insight as you pen your own famous words. . . WRITE ON!

Copyright © 2006 & 2007 Denise Turner

DENISE TURNER is an essayist and personal writing coach. She's had the good fortune of extensive travel throughout the Unites States, France, Germany, England, Denmark, Turkey and many other places. Ever hungry for adventure, she packed her bags in 2006 and moved to Prague. While there, she taught English to Czech nationals, did a lot of writing, sight-seeing and soul-searching. It was one of many amazing journeys. For more information about Denise, please visit her website at: http://www.writeoncoaching.com

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