My fascination with the Czech Republic and Prague started with my dad's stories of his stay in CzechSlovakia way back in the 60s and 70s. Hence Prague just had to be on my list!
I took a early morning bus from Berlin (pre-booked on FlixBus) and landed in Prague around 12 noon at the main railway station. My German number decided not work as soon as I crossed the border and hence I had no internet. I enter the railway station to realize that everything is in Czech! With the help of some broken English and sign language managed to get a new sim (Vodafone was a recognizable name :P) and activate it. Phew! Now I was ready to take on Prahaaaaa...
I had booked an Air B&B close to Wenceslas square only to realize it is a bit of a distance from the happening places around Old Town Square. Tip of the day: live closer to where all the attractions are and that's in and around Old Town Square. Trust me, you will realize this when you have to walk back after a long day of sight seeing.
I started the Prague adventure with Sandeman's free walking tour (yes, learnt this from Berlin). Our guide Brandon took us through most of the sights and covered a bit of history and was also very entertaining! We were a group of 15 folks, of which many were from India, living in different parts of the world. We were 3 solo female travellers as well! I was amazed on how this is catching up! #WomenPower
On the 2nd day, I decided to visit some of the places I had zeroed in on during the walking tour. First stop was the Jewish Quarter - the Old New Synagogue, Jewish Cemetery, Pinkas Synagogue etc. You can purchase a Jewish museum ticket which gives you access to all the sights in Jewish Quarter. After my well spent half day wandering the streets of Jewish Quarter, I decided to take the Sandeman's Prague Castle walking tour (paid, but not so expensive). Starting off at the Jan Palace square, our tour guide, Jirke, a local Czech national, was able to give us a good perspective of the history and also a bit into the architectural aspects of the structures. First of all the Prague Castle isn't really a Castle; its a complex housing various structures- St. Vitus Cathedral, Presidential Complex, beautiful and scenic gardens, Golden Lane etc. St. Vitus Cathedral is the main highlight and boy is it beautiful! The size of it does not fit into one photo frame! The inside of the Cathedral has amazing stained glass work which leaves one spell bound (I am a sucker for stained glass work). Towards the end of the tour you get to go to this view point from where you see the entire city of Prague.. breath-taking and yes DP picture taken :) Incidentally met another solo woman traveller from India on this walking tour... #WomenPowerAgain
I then descended from the Castle through an area called Mala Strana.. I just cant help falling in love the with neo-classical architecture of this city... when you see Mala Strana, you will know what I'm talking about. With the day drawing to a closure, took a walk across Charles Bridge and ended my day with a nice big Chimney Cake (Trdelnik).. YUM!! You must try it!
Day 3 in Prague was a bit more relaxed. On a recommendation from the friend who was with me on the Walking tour I decided to visit the National Library called Klementium. I'm sure when I mention library one would say.. ha! Boring!! Well think again.. the Klementium is a complex of buildings spanning 2 Hectares housing the Baroque Library Hall, Astronomical Tower and Meridian Hall. This place is totally undermined. Once you purchase your ticket, there is a guided tour which takes about an hour covering the library and astronimical tower. The Baroque Library has books from the 1700s; a massive one with Biblical interpretations from around the world, well preserved in a temperature and light controlled room with eye catching frescoes on the ceiling. This will definitely leave you awe-struck. The Astronomical tower is another wonder; the guide details out how people used to tell time and also take you through the devices used. Its lovely to see some of the measuring devices we use today in their antique version from the 1800s like the Barometer, microscope Etc. The tour ends with the last spot being at the veiw point at the top of the tower which over looks the city #DPspot. Tip of the day: wear appropriate clothing - the stairway to the tower top is a spiral and it's quite steep; it also gets quite windy on top.
I then decided to finish seeing the rest of the synagogues (since I had the pass for all).. out of all the one which caught my eye was the Spanish Synagogue. Its interior architecture is quite different from the rest.. has a bit of an arabic influence..
For the afternoon, I walked across Charles Bridge to check out the Lennon Wall- a very colourful wall dedicated to Lennon done up by street artists. #DPspot. Then went on to visit the Church of Lady Victorious and Infant Jesus of Prague. Another beautiful church with grand gold inlay work. After a quick stop for chai, went for a walk through Mala Strana, hunting for a miniature version of the Jawa bike as a souvenir for my BIL... Yes, Jawa used to be manufactured in Czech Republic but not anymore, so you can imagine how hard it must have been to get one. After a LOT of searching managed to find one near Charles Bridge. My last stop for the day was the Dancing House (the name caught my fancy). A 15 mins walk from the bridge its a building which is quite unlike any other. You have to see it to understand it :P
That wrapped up my Prague adventure.. a city just out of a fairy tale.. and oh yes! Souvenirs! Loaded up on Manufaktura products ( Czech personal care brand), some enamel goodies, magnets, a small wooden puppet and of course a shot glass! I still wish I could take back the Bohemian glass crystal ????
Anyhow.. moving from one fairy tale city to another.. Vienna you are next!
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