Prague

Prague Travel Blog

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Prague's Astronomical clock

We realised too late that the woman working in the tourist information office in Cesky Krumlov had stitched us up with the bus to Prague. We were standing at the coach station waiting for the promised luxury Student Agency coach when a somewhat bedraggled old bus pulls up and starts loading up. Along with several others who had been told they were buying tickets for the Student Agency bus, we entered into a confusing conversation with the driver. It's not as if the bus was awful it's just that the pictures of the other bus and the service offered were special and it felt as though we'd been robbed of a really nice trip.

Jan Hus Monument in Stare Mesto
Still nothing we could do so we hopped on and after a few stops which resulted in dozens of people standing for the four hour journey we decided it could have been much worse, at least we had seats.

Arriving in Prague we got dropped at a station on the outskirts and had to negotiate the metro system into town which was simple and quick. Our hotel was very near the metro stop and was nice and clean which is always a relief. Having dumped our bags down we set off for a walk and found ourselves wandering the most beautiful old streets and admiring some truly beautiful architecture. We found ourselves in the Stare Mesto (Old Square) surrounded by awesome gothic looking buidings and cobbled streets with cafes and bars set up on them. Crowds of tourists were jostling for photo oppportunities and a really nice buzz was in the air.

The streets of Prague
The streets leading off the square shared the cobbled paving, gothic buildings and were very narrow and it was not hard to instantly adore Prague.

Hungry we set off searching for some food and found an amazing restaurant called Country Life. Everything is vegan and it is a buffet style help yourself counter and your plate is then weighed and charged accordingly. The food was all delicious and it was very difficult not to pile the plate high as everything was so tempting. We knew they had a second branch and we ate there the next day and it was also delicious although the food options were more restricted as it was more for lunchtimes than the main branch.

Our second day we checked out the Charles Bridge which was fantastic and lined with dozens of artisans offering to sketch or caricature the hoards of passing tourists.

Charles Bridge
Many people were in the process of being drawn and it is one of those things that looks as if the sitter immediately regrets doing as soon as they sit down. The bridge draws large crowds and the walk across is really nice. In addition to the sketch artists there are musicians and stalls selling trinkets and art works which might not be to everyones taste but it gives the bridge a really nice ambiance.

Across the bridge and up a long series of steps through yet more stunning buildings is Prague Castle. Not so much a castle in the fortress sense as a collection of buildings and cathedrals inside a big wall really. There are several tickets types you can buy which give access to different buildings and we opted to go into the the cathedral and the building housing the crown jewels.

St Vitus Cathedral
Unfortunately for us it turned out to be a complete waste of a very expensive ticket as there was nobody asking for tickets at the cathedral and the crown jewels exhibition was shut for conservation purposes. Of course nobody told us that at the ticket desk which would have saved us the money. The cathedral has very impressive stained glass windows and there is a tower you can climb for some fantastic views out across the city. Be warned though the climb up is some 270 steps on a narrow spiral staircase which is two way so you can expect some tight squeezes as people come down down meet and pass those going down. There were a few people making the trip up and down who were quite stressed by it and it's not one for those who suffer from claustrophobia.

Another must see is Wenceslas Square and the memorial to two students who burnt themsleves to death in the uprisings against communism in the late 1960's.

A shrine to the victims of communism (including students Jan Palach and Jan Zajic), beneath Wenceslas statue
The communist era was the subject of the aptly named Museum of Communism which was also an excellent must see. It provides a really informative general over view of the rise of communism, it's ideals, the reality and it's ultimate demise.

One thing that we have been struggling with in Europe is that bars, cafes and restaurants still allow smoking inside. We've got so used to smoke free environments that it feels really weird sitting in a smokey room. There are some amazing underground bars and beautifull old restaurants here in Prague but all of the ones we visited were exrtremely smokey and we found it impossible to stay in some of them. Luckily the weather was quite kind to us so we were able to take advantage of the outdoor seating that is so much a part of life in most European cities and we had some great people watching opportunites at the pavement cafes and bars.

Tyn Church

Our visit to the Czech Republic has been great, although more expensive than the Eurozone by far and it must be said that the staff in the tourism offices and at service portals in the bus and train stations could definately benefit from some additional training in how to be friendly and a bit more helpful. The parts of the country we saw have a great deal to offer and Prague, in particular, is amazing.

 

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Pragues Astronomical clock
Prague's Astronomical clock
Jan Hus Monument in Stare Mesto
Jan Hus Monument in Stare Mesto
The streets of Prague
The streets of Prague
Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge
St Vitus Cathedral
St Vitus Cathedral
A shrine to the victims of communi…
A shrine to the victims of commun…
Tyn Church
Tyn Church
Pragues Astronomical clock
Prague's Astronomical clock
One of the ways to sight-see
One of the ways to sight-see
The view of Prague Castle from Cha…
The view of Prague Castle from Ch…
The view of the Vltava from Charle…
The view of the Vltava from Charl…
Musicians on Charles Bridge
Musicians on Charles Bridge
Archway from Charles Bridge to the…
Archway from Charles Bridge to th…
Adam with a beer at an outside bar…
Adam with a beer at an outside ba…
Fountain in Wenceslas Square
Fountain in Wenceslas Square
View of Charles Bridge from St Vit…
View of Charles Bridge from St Vi…
Entrance to Prague Castles courty…
Entrance to Prague Castle's court…
St Vitus Cathedral
St Vitus Cathedral
Stained glass in St Vitus Cathedral
Stained glass in St Vitus Cathedral
View over Prague and the Vltava fr…
View over Prague and the Vltava f…
Statue of St Wenceslas
Statue of St Wenceslas
Museum at the end of Wenceslas Squ…
Museum at the end of Wenceslas Sq…
Prague
photo by: vulindlela