A Travellerspoint blog

June 2011

Prague with Love

Backpacking in an ancient city

-2 °C

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Prague was a dream destination to get to. I remember the dying wish of a friend who so dearly loved to visit Prague if he had a chance before he dies but he didn’t. With me going there, somehow triggered memories about his wish to have been able to go there and me wanting to see it for myself and possibly send him e-images in heaven but I guess heaven would be the most beautiful place for him right now.

The anticipation of travelling in a cross country coach from Mannheim, Germany to Prague was great. I tried to find a flight between Frankfurt & Prague but couldn’t, so I had resorted to take a coach. Most would travel on Euroline coaches but I took the Student Agency coach(A Hungarian company & yes non students are allowed). It was travelling so fast that it took one hour less than the expected arrival time to get to Prague. I had to endure sub zero degrees temperature waiting at the Prague main bus station at 4:30am till 6:00am to get my currency changed and to purchase a train ticket. One thing about traveling across Eastern Europe, don’t expect it to be as classy and modern as the western part of Europe. The heating element in the bus station was close to zero and I saw a couple carried a bench and move it to horde the only one heating element there at the station. But soon after, 3 policemen came and instructed them to carry the bench back to it’s original position and ordered them to stand and face the wall. I was looking everywhere to check for CCTV because the policemen came right to the spot from nowhere.

As soon as the money exchange opened, I got my money changed into their local currency in (Czech Krons, CZ). I bought a 24 hour ticket for CZ100=€4.40 which included all transport on metro, tram and bus. I made my way to Line B of the metro line and went on my way to Namesti Republiky station to get to my accommodation. It was fairly easy to find and my room overlooks a church out my window. I took a quick nap and then make my way out to the streets again when light is up.

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Just a few steps away was the Powder Tower and the Municipal House of Prague. It was a nice landmark to see. Then walking further around that place took me to Parizska Street and then connects to Wenceslas Square. The stretch of road down Wenceslas Square is quite long and filled with many high end shops. Must visit is the largest BATA shop (4 storey of it) and the many design of handbags and shoes available. I was later advised by the river cruise guide not to shop in Prague because it’s the most expensive across Europe. At the end of Wenceslas Square is the famous landmark, National Museum of Prague. The metro Line A runs through there as well. After which I took the metro to nearby the Prague castle area. A kindhearted gentleman assisted me on my directions to hop on the tram and hop off right outside the Castle ground area.

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Prague castle ground consists of the largest collection of castles in the world. I mean this place is huge! The castle ground contains churches, basilica, castles, palaces, galleries, streets, restaurants, etc… some Cathedrals were built even as early as in the 1300s. This place has been in existence since the 9th century. Every attraction will cost you an entrance fee of around €8. The famous landmarks there are St. Vitus Cathedral, Defense Tower, etc… I managed to catch the changing of guards at the presidential palace which is within the castle grounds as well. Do expect to spend the whole day here walking most of the time. When I could finally find my way out of the overwhelming place, I rushed towards Charles Bridge which was built with eggs as a gluing agent for the bridge 650 years ago. The bridge is a famous landmark here where you will easily find postcards with a composition of the bridge in the onset of the castle grounds at the background. The bridge is filled with statues of saints and the centre piece is of course Jesus Christ on a crucifix. I was quite tired by having to wade through a sea of people on the bridge, some explained them as crazy tourists trying to rub off the statues of the saints. It is said that rubbing at the both ends of the bridge will bring you back to Prague again.

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I took a cruise down the river Vlatava which cost CZ290 which takes me on a 50 minute ride from Kampa Island dock around Charles bridge. I managed to try the tasty Czech Beer as a free drink and light snacks that went with it. The cruise guide explained more about each building as the cruise went pass them. One fascinating things was in front of the current presidential palace, once stood Kralin’s statue which was taller than the Jesus statue in Brazil. After the communist regime ended in Czech, the statue was blown apart during 1960s. Most houses along the Vlatava river was the poorest of the community many years ago, but now is the most expensive area given the best view over the bridge and castle ground. A nice traditional Czech meal would include roast/grilled duck meat with potatoes and veggie. Lesser town would serve it at a more reasonable price.

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Czech Republic was the famous author Frankz Kafka’s birthplace and the museum stood as a memorial of his life there and the collection of his original writings. It is worth a visit if you are a fan of his works.

Lesser town contains more of Jewish synagogues and other attractions however I couldn’t make my way there because it was a Sabbath and everything was closed for their rest day. I walked towards the Old Town Square from Charles Bridge, catching a glimpse of the astronomical clock to snap a few pictures before standing in front of it at the hour to watch the dance of the apostles. The clock displays 13 different time such as the Babylonian time, zodiac time, sun and moon, and so forth. The square itself have several other churches and cathedrals. Right down the road next to the square is lesser town. Do return to Charles bridge when it is all lit up at night.

Lastly, with just CZ 26, you can take the Metro A line to the last stop and catch a bus no. 119 that will take you to Ruzyne airport. I did wish it was less crowded nevertheless was just alright.

Posted by jokermiss 07:01 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague culture church river bridge cathedral romantic europe Comments (0)

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