First part of my trip can be viewed here.
Second part can be viewed here.
Another early morning to get to Prague, leave at 6 am to get into Prague around 10 am. We were not as lucky as the previous train and only had our seats to sleep on. However, about 45 minutes prior to pulling into Prague, I got an email stating “looking forward to your trip to Prague? Countdown, 7 days!” I quickly looked at my booking for our hostel and found that I booked the hostel for October 17-19 instead of October 10-12. Welp.
Travel Tip #3: Confirm bookings are for the correct dates prior to leaving.
Because we had booked with HostelWorld, my friend found another hostel as I canceled my booking (full refund because it was 7 days out…).
Our first stop of the day after settling into our hostel was to the Old Square. A gorgeous paved square that was bustling with tourists. We signed up for one of the “free” walking tours where our guide was actually from California, had studied in Prague before graduating, and then decided to move out there after graduation. She introduced all of us to the second most overrated tourist trap in all of Europe, the Astronomical Clock (the first being the Mona Lisa). It is a intricately designed clock, but the highlights of it are an almost impossible to understand clock and a hour chime that is at maximum 10 seconds long.
The tour then took us to the Jewish Quarter and we were able to grasp some of the history of Jews in Prague. After the Jewish population had been forced to live in the quarter for many years, after WWII it was decidedly rebuilt. Gone were the ruined houses and in place high end stores took residency. It went from one of the poorest areas of Prague to one of the richest in just a few years.
We then had almost four hours to kill before the largest nightclub in Central Europe, the Karlovy Lazne. A club that houses five floors with each one for a different type of music. We decided to have dinner at a local restaurant where they served 1.2 kgs of pork back knee for a moderate price. I of course had to try it and when it came out it was monstrous, I finished about 4/5 of it before I was stuffed. Still probably one of the tenderest cooked pieces of meat I have had in a while.
The next day we chose to explore the other side of the river where the Castle of Prague is. Much like Budapest, we wanted to focus one day to each side of the river to cut down on travel times. The castle was great! We debated even going in as the line to get in was huge, however it moved so quickly. We were maybe in line for five minutes even though it looked like we could have been in it for at least 30 minutes.
Upon entrance, we saw the massive cathedral that overlooks the city up close. The gothic style reminded me much of Notre Dame, but because it was surrounded on all sides by other buildings of the castle it was hard to take in the whole building. We spent an hour just walking around the grounds seeing the sights before we got a bit hungry and wanted to explore more things.
One of the big attractions on the west side of the river is the Lennon Wall, a wall that graffiti artists have paid homage to John Lennon with quotes, lyrics, and other imagery. We happened to be so unlucky, the Prague authorities had just started a reconstruction of the wall about two weeks before we got there and would reopen the wall in time for the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. We also chose to find the narrowest street in all of Prague, so narrow it has its own stoplight! It was indeed narrow and I had to turn slightly diagonal to get through it at its narrowest part!
Late that night, my friend found an artistic laser show display that was happening in the surrounding communities. We decided the thirty minute walk would be okay to witness these works of art. The laser shows were projected onto different buildings with the first show being on the front of a church. They did such a nice job of matching the patterns to those of the church and using the church’s architecture to their advantage. We had to leave after only three shows as we had to catch a flight out early the next morning leaving at 3 am. Twas early!
Travel tip #4: Don’t book early morning departing flights or late evening arriving trains when traveling!
Pictures from Prague can be viewed here.