When I visited the Czech Republic a few years ago, I was enchanted with Prague's old-world charm, most notably the landmark Charles Bridge. Commissioned by Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1357, this romantic bridge is the heart of the city, connecting the Old Town with Malá Strana, a historic district on the west bank of the Vltava River. Legend has it that egg yolks were mixed in the mortar used to bind the stone blocks to strengthen the bridge. Maybe all that good cholesterol is why the Charles has survived so many floods, including one in 2002—the worst in 500 years. Coincidentally, their crepes, also made with eggs, are still going strong too.
I had always associated crepes with France or the large Dutch pancakes I had in Holland, but it turns out that crepes are eaten all over Europe, Turkey, Russia, even in Argentina. While the word Creperie in this sign may have been geared toward a more international audience, a Czech crepe is traditionally called a palačinka.
Savory galettes like this are made with buckwheat flour, while sweet crepes use wheat flour. This huge chicken and mushroom-filled square was finally some geometry I could wrap my head and lips around. My mouth loved the new math!
I remember my first time. It was 1989. I met him in a little Paris bistro and it was true love. What a fella, that Nutella. Meeting my chocolate and hazelnut guy again in Prague brought it all back. He was still rich, dark and handsome (albeit a little more coiffed).
And then there was someone else after my heart—the organ grinder on the Charles Bridge. Granted, he was no Nutella, but he and his monkey were a couple of good eggs who had no doubt weathered a few storms.
When you stand on the bridge, you can see spectacular views of a city that celebrates its past while tastefully catering to tourism. It's a hard balance to strike, but Prague has maintained a steady footing. It must be the eggs.