March 29, 2016

Ahhhhhh … Prague

Visiting Prague is like falling onto a big fluffy pillow. This is my second trip in two years, and I feel so at home and relaxed in this beautiful place. It’s like one long, deep, contented sigh.

Virtually unblemished by WWII, Prague is fairytale beautiful with streets and buildings dating back hundreds of years. Just being here is a treat. Even if you never set foot in a cathedral, castle or monastery, simply walking the streets and taking in the glorious views is an attraction all by itself.  I mean, look at this!!!

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And, if you’re a beer lover, you can enjoy some of the best brew in the world for a little more than $1 a glass. Na zdraví!

I’m not going to spend a lot of time writing about Prague. Better to let the photos do the talking. 

But, first, just a few more details:

  • Part of Prague’s fairytale feel is due to the art nouveau architecture and flourishes you see throughout the city, including the work of Aplhonse Mucha. The Municiple House is an incredible art nouveau example, and you can wander the building’s basement and first floor for free. Their hour-long tour of the upstairs doesn’t cost much, and it’s well worth the time and money.
  • Sculptor David Cerny’s quirky work is also featured throughout the city. From St. Wenceslas riding an upside down (dead) horse in the Lucerna passage … to the faceless babies on Prague’s TV tower and outside the Kampa Museum … there’s plenty of Cerny to see.
  • Prague is a travel bargain! Cheap beer, cheap food, cheap public transport. I wouldn’t call the hotels cheap exactly, but they’re not terribly expensive. I’m paying roughly $110 a night for a four-star hotel that’s ideally located.
  • Prague is really compact and easy to navigate. I was constantly getting lost in even the tiniest Italian cities, even with a map. But, in Prague, I can navigate the most twisty streets, map-free. I always seem to have my sense of direction here … which means EVERYONE will have a sense of direction here!
  • Prague’s public transport is fantastic, with a modern, cheery network of trams and subway trains (buses too, but I’ve never needed them). While Prague is very walkable, it also has a lot of hills and streets/sidewalks made of stone. Like this…

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  • Only the ruins of Pompeii were harder on my (well-shod) feet. Being able to hop on a tram or train can be a huge relief as well as a time saver. For a 24-hour transit ticket that’s valid on trams/trains/buses, the price is about $4.50 USD. A bargain!
  • Speaking Czech is hard. Before going to any country, I always try to learn at least a few words of the local language: (hello/goodbye, please, excuse me, one/two/three, sorry!). In the Czech Republic, just figuring out how to pronounce many of their words is a challenge, and memorizing them is even harder.  Here’s how you would write the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog in Czech: rychlá hnědá liška přeskočila líného psa. Good luck saying that! Although, credit where it’s due, I did manage to memorize the word čokoláda (chocolate) pretty quickly. 🙂
  • This walking tour of Prague, posted on a local food blogger’s website, is a wonderful way to explore the best of the city on foot. I followed this tour during my first trip to Prague, and I did it again this time. It makes for a very full day, but it’s also easy to break the walk into smaller chunks. The tour also includes great restaurant and coffee shop suggestions.
  • And then there’s this … the most beautiful book I’ve ever read: The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I bought a Czech language copy during my first visit to Prague and, even though I’ll never be able to read it, it’s one of the few things I didn’t give away or sell before I left the United States. I just like looking at it … and holding it. So I stopped in a bookstore on Wenceslas square to hold one again!

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Here are some photos from my first few days in Prague. Details are in the captions…