After a well spent afternoon at Lednice, we finally headed towards Praha (aka Prague). Our excitement was beyond limits as Praha, a was a long dreamt destination. Commonly known as east European capital, the city is home to around 1.3 million people and caters to the continuously flooding tourists. As soon as our coach entered into the city, we could realize what makes it the most sought destination. We checked into hotel and quickly moved out to venture the city in the night.
The following day, we geared up at 8 am for the majestic city tour. After a drive of 30 minutes, we reached Prague castle. The castle of Prague is supposedly the largest ancient castle in the world, dating back to 9th century. It was a seat of power for Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman empires and presidents of Czechoslovakia.There was over-flooding of tourists within the castle and it seemed as a busy destination. The St Vitus Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture is the heart of Prague castle.
We had to queue up long in the spacious courtyard to get a view of this architectural beauty. During our wait, we could spot many photographers shooting the pictures of beautiful brides and bridegrooms, all dressed up in alluring attires. It was a pleasant wait (except for the roaring sun!!!). Finally we entered the Cathedral only to remain spellbound by its beauty. We walked through the main cathedral, king’s coronation area and the Chapel of St Wenceslas. After spending an half an hour we finally moved out of cathedral. We then headed towards the city lanes only to stop clicking remains of a skeleton displayed in what seemed a haunted corridor.
We rambled through the picturesque gardens and reached the other side of the castle gate. The sight of colorful fruit vending stalls made us take a break. Walking through the city by lanes, we spotted a drinking water dispensing fountain and soon quenched our thirst. The cold water fountain came as an unexpected and pleasant surprise. We continued walking through the city, capturing the beautiful architecture and reached Charles Bridge. The iconic bridge bisecting the Vltava River forms an important connection from Prague castle to the Old town. There were around 30 baroque statues of saints and patrons along the bridge. We wandered around the bridge and moved towards the old town area. There were boating services available to explore Prague through Vltava River, but the roaring sun made us move forward. In the town area, we had inquired few places and finally got some Euros converted to Czech Korunas.
We soon reached the old town square and halted at Astronomical clock tower. Much to our disappointment, the clock tower was under renovation and a display resembling the original tower was made right in front. The clock comprises of astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky, statues of various Catholic saints on either side and “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures. We waited for a quarter of hour to catch a glimpse. On exploring the town area further, we could not resist and ended up buying some beautiful souvenirs. As it was time for lunch, we entered a traditional Czech house “Staromacek” for a sumptuous meal. Bread dumplings, a perfectly roasted duck with glasses of Chardonnay wine made the perfect lunch. Post lunch we ventured the city further and came across some interesting museums.
We slowly headed towards the Charles Bridge, to enjoy a pleasant evening. After clicking a couple of snaps, we planned to return back to our hotel. On our way back, we had the delicious traditional desert of Czech, Trdlnik. It made the perfect ending for the day.
Places to visit:
Prague castle, Charles bridge, old town with astronomical clock are the most popular touristy destinations. There are museums at almost every corner of the streets of old town. Entry fee to museums range from 10-15 Euros. Vltava river cruise can be a good way to explore the riverside at dusk. Since we had done a cruise in Budapest so we did not go for it. Cruise starts from 15 Euros. We visited the Vitkov memorial the previous day at sunset. It was a good vantage point over the city.
1 Euro= 25 Czech Koruna/ crowns at the time of my visit. Most places accepted only Korunas. The currency exchanges usually take a significant amount as service charge over the usual conversion rate. I converted around 80 Euros at rate of 24 Czech Korunas per 1 Euros. Some currency exchanges were giving exchange at 16- 17 Korunas per Euro. Before exchanging it is better to ask “how much will I get in hand”.
Local transportation like bus and tram run 24 hours. You need to check the timings on the bus station, get a ticket from the vending machine, board the bus and validate the ticket. There are no conductors in the bus. Metro rail runs till 12 am at night.
Things to try:
Food is one of the main attractions. Lunch at a standard restaurant cost around 20-25 Euros. We went to a traditional Czech restaurant and had duck, local breads, bread dumplings with wine for 38.5 Euros (36.5 Euro bill + I gave him a tip of 2 Euros). It is a general trend to give around 10% of the bill as a tip. But it depends on the customer i.e: “apki ki shraddhya hain” like they say in Uttar Pradesh. You can also try Trdlnik- a traditional bread with fillings of chocolate/ fruits/ ice cream. It is traditionally made over coal.
Bratislava story- click here
Budapest story- click here