Charles Bridge at night - the castle is in the background.
So, after spending the night sleeping on the floor in Stansted airport,
was a bit of a relief! The places we were to
visit on this trip were completely new to both of us, so trying to
understand Czech and getting our head round the Koruna were a little
intimidating as we tried to wrangle a bus to town from the
airport. Luckily, we encountered our first 'Travel buddy' - a man
we named Simon (we never did find out his name) who gave us some bus
tickets and tips for our travels. At this stage, both of us were
a little wary of strangers, but one thing I can honestly say about this
trip was that it proved how much you can trust people! In six
weeks, we only had one or two occasions to worry (more about which
Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)
..) Anyway, good old Simon pointed us in the right
direction, and after lugging our massive backpacks around for an hour
or so, we made it to the New Town and our hostel. We stayed in
Miss Sophie's, a hostel I would thoroughly recommend - for first time
hostel-goers like ourselves, it was a wonderful way to start the
experience! We ended up in a 3 bed room, sharing with an American
named Justin, who was really cool and easy to get along with - like I
said, the perfect hostel-initiation! We were soon to discover
that not all hostels were like this, hehehe.
After getting all excited about the New Town and nearly getting run
over by a tram, we saved the Old Town for the next day. I must
admit, I was a little worried that all of Prague would be like the New
Town, and not what I expected at all! What a relief it was to see
the amazing statues lining the Charles Bridge, the beauty of the water,
and the imposing sight of Prague castle perched above the red roofs
THIS was what we were after! After navigating our
way through loads of tourists, we made it to Castle Hill and some
fantastic views of the city. We never actually made it into
Prague castle, as it was a little expensive and the queues were
enormous, but just seeing it from the outside was enough for me!
Back across the river, we eventually found the Old Town Square (a
repeating pattern, you will probably notice, is us getting lost
:p) Unfortunately, the World Cup was on, so some of Prague's most
beautiful architecture was hidden beneath garish banners, balloons and
a giant screen. Grr! When we made it back to watch a game,
however, the atmosphere was fantastic!
I would highly
recommend seeing the Jewish quarter: though we had issues finding it
the first time, we stumbled across one of the old synagogues late one
night and it was fantastic- if it weren't for a tour group taking
pictures, I wouldn't have even noticed it was there! One thing I
loved about Prague was the architecture - the old and the new, the
Gothic style of the Charles Bridge and the castle compared to the New
Town just three metro stops away.
Damn the World Cup! The Old Town Square.
Another way to get
a good view of the city is to climb Petrin Hill. Though we could
find no paths, there is definitely a way to get up there! Aim for
the Petrin tower. On our way up, we met a friendly Mexican guy,
Juan Carlos, who was travelling by himself, and we ended up going out
to dinner with him and Justin to a fantastic place called Pivovarsky
Dum (The House of Beer) - it's in the New Town, near Miss Sophie's, and
the menu is in Czech. Perfect for the more adventurous among
you! Czech quisine seems to be mainly meat, gravy, and some
bread-dumpling things, very simple but quite rich! Good to
balance out the whopping 4 litres of beer shared between those at our
There are lots of ways to get to know a city: at the
beginning of this trip, we took the metro to lots of places and
considered getting a boat tour, but for backpackers, I think the best
way to get around is on foot.
This was taken before we'd even started it! The House of Beer.
Actually, even if you're not
backpacking, I still think the best way to get to know a place is to
walk around it! Anyway, Prague is a fantastic city of charm and
character and I will definitely be making it back there at some
point! Next time, I will be making it to the Charles Bridge for
sunrise and hopefully going sometime in the winter, I think it'd be a
great time to go!