Prague. The historic capital of Bohemia has lost none of its charm – seeing the iconic terracotta roofs and walking down the narrow cobblestone streets filled with the smells of chimney cake is like heading back in time. The city is full of incredible architecture and learning the rich history – from the rule of King Charles IV to throwing city councillors out windows and onto stakes – is not to be missed.
We took the 6 hour bus ride from Berlin to Prague, again with Meinfernbus. Arriving into Central station we struggled down the stairs of the metro – we had decided to stay a little bit out of town to save some money and to get a better idea of the local life. Arriving to our hostel, the receptionist literally could not speak a word of English. After some frantic gesturing, we got the wifi and communicated purely through google translate.
For the evening we wanted to stay local, so we headed down to the riverside for a walk and found a boat restaurant with a large outdoor sitting area to enjoy the sunset. We could feel the weather was finally getting warmer as we enjoyed some local cuisine and watched the rowing teams practicing out on the water.
The next morning we wanted to do the walking tour to learn more of the history of Prague. We took the tram into town to the meeting point at St. Nicholas church and waited …. and no one showed. A little confused we asked around – only to find that there is another church with the same name across the Vltava river. Already late, we ran over the Charles Bridge past the statues of the saints, through the twisting cobblestone streets and into the Old Town square to see if we could still catch it. Calling it packed would be an understatement. The area was filled with tour groups standing around taking photos, but luckily we were able to spot the bright red Umbrella for Sandemans and caught up with the right group. Our guide, Fillip had an incredible wealth of knowledge of the city as he showed us around the Old Town Square, the Jewish quarter, the Astronomical clock (considering when this was made it is nothing short of incredible) and much more. We were so impressed we stuck around for the afternoon tour around the Prague castle.
The world’s largest ‘castle’ is actually now a palace on the hillside overlooking the river and the Old Town. Of the original castle, very little remains after multiple fires, revolts and wars. The castle draws many tourists in for the spectacular views (especially at night) and to see the gothic cathedral on the grounds. We wrapped up the tour with a famous statue of a boy, whose genitals have been rubbed gold because people believe it to be good luck. After two walking tours we were wrecked – we found a café by the river, grabbed a drink and enjoyed the view.
The ice hockey championships were in Prague while we were there – unfortunately the games were sold out – but one of the main squares had been set up with a giant screen, beer tents and was packed to the brim. That night the Czechs beat the Swiss in a penalty shootout and the square erupted in celebration.
The next day we wanted to get a workout in while we were in town, so we went for a run along the river and did a circuit before heading back into town. Still tired from our workout and the walking tour, we wanted a relaxing afternoon – luckily one of our friends had recommended paddle boating along the Vltava river. We went and picked up a bottle of wine and some cheese and picked the most photogenic boat possible – shaped like an old car – and launched out into the river. Laying back and enjoying the sunshine, with no worries except trying not to go over the waterfall, we had great views of the Charles Bridge and the palace, we even ran into some friends we met on our tour. Definitely a must-do for anyone visiting Prague.
For our last day, we headed into the old town square to try some traditional food – beef goulash served in a bread bowl. Absolutely loved it – going to have to start incorporating some of the recipes I have learned overseas into my cooking.
After lunch we headed to the Jewish quarter, formerly a ghetto which has now been restored to match the rest of the city. The quarter is home to the Jewish museum, which has relics dating from before WWII, and the ‘Old New’ Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in Europe still in use. We wrapped up our time in Prague walking the streets and picking up a sweet treat, chimney bread. A delicious, deep fried, coated in sugar, spiralling bread that makes you feel like a kid again. We definitely enjoyed this city, and will be back to visit again soon.
Next Stop: Munich
Edited by RC.