After spending the first week of having my friends and family here with me in the Czech Republic traveling around, we had the intention of spending the second week relaxing at home.
Things didn't go to plan as we somehow crammed in so many more fabulous places including the spa town of Karlovy Vary, a day cafe hopping in Prague, and a trip to Chomutov where there's one of the only Alum lakes in the world.
We had such a wonderful time and the predicted bad weather didn't really happen and instead we got goldern sunshine and lovely warm autumn temperatures almost every day.
Karlovy Vary is a spa town in the west of the Czech Republic and famous for its healing waters. I love these type of spa towns as they have a relaxed, old fashioned feel to them.
Walking around Karlovy Vary you're just wowed by the amazing architecture, the steep hillsides dotted with houses, hotels, and statues, the sounds of tricking water, cafes serving cake and coffee... its like time has stood still.
I went there for a day earlier in the year with my mother and we just walked around. This time we decided to visit the Thermal Hotel which has an amazing swimming pool perched on the edge of the cliff side overlooking the town.
You can buy tickets online or at the hotel and its around 500kc for a day which is around 20USD. Towels and sheets are provided and there are endless spa activities you can fill your day with... or you can just sit on a lounger by the pool and take in the autumn sunshine which what I did for the first hour.
There is an amazing swimming pool and a large hot spa water pool ideal for relaxing. And I felt completely and utterly relaxed.
I managed to spend an hour in the "sauna world" which I completed with a refreshing emersion in the ice cold plunge pool. But the most wonderful part of the day was being in such a lovely place with the people I love most.
We stayed in town well into the night and had cakes at the Cafe Elefant, dinner by the water and a stroll by moonlight through the town. It couldn't have been more magical.
The Alum lake close to the town of Chomutov is apparently one of only two in the world. I've also heard that its the only one!! The mineral stops the growth of plants and water life and the lake is perfect for a healthy swim.
Alum is also meant to have amazing health properties being good for the skin and also respiratory system.
We arrived with our From No 19 bags filled with towels, swimsuits, books and everything else we needed. There was some kind of fair on that day and it was free to enter but the normal entrance fee is very little.
The water is surrounded by a huge park with beautiful decking stretching right out into the lake where you can sunbathe, dive, swim and relax. There are boats to hire and actually a lot of things you can do there as a family with children.
I chose to enjoy the lake! The water was pretty cold, but once in and swimming, you soon warmed up, and when the time came, we bought takeaway lunch and ice cream from some of the lakeside restaurants which were surprisingly excellent.
We also got talking to a delightful German couple who regularly travel to the lake to benefit from the water's properties. They raved about it and said that after traveling the world, they were happy now to spend their time locally in Central Europe.
As we've now been spending our summers together at No 19 for years, we often feel we've seen almost everything. This is so not true as I believe we can always be surprised by places that are right under our noses.
However, this time, Seth's friend Louis who had joined us from a trip to Austria with his parents, told us that he'd never been to Prague. So this wonderful city was definitely on our list.
We started the day by booking lunch at The Grand Imperial Hotel as they are often booked up. Then we drove to the city of Roudnice nad Labem where we parked our huge hire car and caught the train to Prague.
It was a lovely day and the early morning sunshine was just beautiful. We stopped off for cake and coffee at The Cafe Municipal House (Kavárna Obecní dům) in the centre of town.
This place is spectacular. There's no other way to describe it. The interior is flooded with light and amazing chandeliers hang like spaceships over the tables. It claims to be one of the best examples of an Art Nouveau cafe in Prague which is totally believable.
From here we had a look in a bargain antique shop I particularly like and then headed to the Grand Imperial for lunch.
I'd initially chosen this restaurant as it has a tiled Art Deco interior like nothing you've ever seen. The service is great and its just a lovely place to be.
We had an amazing meal, the food was just fantastic. I actually wasn't that hungry after the morning's cake, but I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch as did everyone else.
There are endless things to do in Prague and it was a wonderful day. I spent an hour or so chatting with my mother in the Grand Cafe Orient over coffee and ice cream while the others explored the castle.
When we all met up to go back to the station, I'd somehow managed to buy two lovely rugs from my favorite store which I had slung over my shoulder and taken to a number of cafés.
The rest of the week we managed fit in trips to the local lake in Úštěk, walks in the forest, a flea market, pub dinners and loads of quality time together.
I woke up this morning to thick mist and the feeling that the best of summer is now over. After packing their bags, we all made one last trip to the forest with Lu.
As I waved farewell to my loved ones I was left feeling a little sad... but what an amazing holiday! Sometimes its good to remind yourself just how lucky you are ♥️
I've included the names of the places we visited, and I've also added links to these places below. All pictures are my own. If you have any questions or anything to add, please feel free to write in the comments.
♥️ Cafe Elefant: https://www.facebook.com/cafe.elefant.cz
♥️ Hotel Thermal: https://www.thermal.cz/en/thermal-pool-saunia
♥️ Karlovy Vary: https://www.karlovyvary.cz/en
♥️ Alum Lake Chomutov: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamencov%C3%A9_jezero
♥️ The Cafe Municipal House: https://www.kavarnaod.cz/en/introduction/
♥️ Hotel Imperial: https://www.hotel-imperial.cz/en/
♥️ Grand Cafe Orient: https://grandcafeorient.cz/en/
♥️ Úštěk Lake: https://www.stredohori.cz/en/detail/lake-chmelar-ustek