Spending time in Prague is like stepping into the pages of a Fairytale; at the top of a modest hill Prague Castle stands watch over the burnt orange rooftops, the brisk Vltata river winds through both old and new towns like a ribbon and the magnificent City of A Hundred Spires comes to life.
I remember walking along the cobbled streets, past the gelato vendors and grand buildings with high graceful ceilings and ornate detail; I remember looking up at the spires of Churches and the tops of great apartment blocks; shuttered windows flanked by flowers spilling out of baskets, the baskets strapped on to wrought iron balconies. I remember thinking, “I bet people walk by these buildings every day and never look up and notice how pretty they are” and I remember imaging my life there as if one of those balconies belonged to me, as well as the coffee shop on the corner, the flower vendor on the street.
Prague is a city for fairytale’s, it’s a beautiful European Capital with unique architecture, great food and a fighting spirit. Don’t miss these places when you’re there,
Prague Castle: is the largest ancient castle in the world and the official residence of the countries President, (which kind of makes the White House look modest.) But aside from the history and grandeur of the Castle, trekking up the many stairs to Prague Castle is also worth the view, as it offers a panorama of the entire city, an endless expense of burnt orange rooftops and winding cobbled streets.
Prague Astronomical Clock: was created in 1410 and is the oldest operating Astronomical clock in the world. It is situated in the Old Town Square and is a part of a beautiful and busy corner, just spending time here with a latte or a gelato is worth a Sunny afternoon.
Summer Cinema: Spending the evening in an open air theatre on the banks of the Vltava River with a cold beer thats entirely legal is a great way to experience Prague, so make like the locals and catch a screening of “Pulp Fiction” on a cool Summer night. The movies are shown in their original language with Czech subtitles. Výletní kino / Summer Cinema When: Through the end of September, at 10 p.m.
Where: Hořejší nábřeží Tickets:100 Kč www.Vyletnikino.cz
need to know Prague
Even the streets in Prague speak of a worn-torn history, an occupation by the Germans and a Russian stronghold during the Cold War. It is a wonderful city to wander around, to leave the map at home and to follow your curiosity through the Bohemian architecture.
the Weather – Czech weather is much like the weather in Western Canada, in fact it sits at the same latitude as Vancouver; but without the Rocky mountain range, Prague has a snowier winter and sunny summers. If you can manage, try to visit Prague in the Summer when you can take advantage of long meandering walks throughout history and the sun filled streets of Old Town.
the Food – Czech food is hearty, not healthy and they’re perhaps most famous for making the perfect Pilsner beer. A Pilsner Urquell goes well with Koleno, Czech for Pork Knuckle; a local favourite often paired with dumplings, gravy and horseradish. Any kind of pork, dumplings, sauerkraut and potato pancakes are all favourite foods to try when in Prague.
the Stay – when I arrived at the airport in Prague I had no plans, no Koruna (Czech currency) and no expectations for my adventure. So I decided to take the local bus into the city centre for a few euros, find a Starbucks with my iPad and figure it out from there. Too easy, I consulted my last minute travel assistant www.hostelworld.com and located St. Christopher’s Inn, a trendy, affordable hostel nearby. St. Christopher’s Inn proved to be a modern, clean hostel with a great atmosphere and good people. It has a great location close to the city centre and offers plenty of suggestions of how to enjoy Prague. The lobby bar is young and fun, with drink specials every day and a full kitchen delivering delicious food. (choose the peroges!)http://www.st-christophers.co.uk/prague-hostels @stchostels
In some parts of the world hostels are as nice as hotels and as a traveller it’s best if you can leave your Western preconceptions about hostels at home. Many times I stayed in hostels in Europe or Asia that I could imagine my parents staying in, likely in a private room but for a fraction of a hotel cost none-the-less. Have a look at the Czech Inn, www.czech-inn.com a perfect example of a “luxury hostel” with private rooms, clean ensuites and for less than 40 Euros a night.
the Tours – Prague was the first city where I discovered the Sandemans New Europe Walking Tours, www.newpraguetours.com and they had no shortage of history, monuments and beautiful architecture to highlight along the way. Learning about the Czech Republics resilient history, particularly during and after World War 2 was absolutely fascinating. For years they endured occupation under Hitler’s Germany and then under harsh Russians rule during the Cold War. ( @neweurope_tours )
Recently, I recovered these musings, scribbled across my DXB – PRG boarding pass. They seem to sum up my thoughts on the Czech Republic:
“spent a few hours on a walking tour, absorbing prague/czech history. this monument (of a flag) is particularly cool because this is how czechs chose to represent their own flag. tattered and torn by wars, occupations, a little man with a little moustache, imposed regimes by russian allies then foes, and still standing.”
Sandeman offers 5 different walking tours in and around Prague and I took “The Free One” and the “Castle Tour” as well. If you’re a history buff and can handle a dark day, take the tour of Terezin Concentration Camp for a sad and stark insight into life there during World War 2.
** photo of Prague was borrowed from the internet. I have a lot of great ones from my time there but nothing as professional as this.