Prague, Czech Republic
After several holidays we spent for hiking in the considerably suburban area ora village, this time I want to visit more cities in Europe. I have been longing to go to Prague since last year. In the previous year I just haven’t found the right time and available travelling buddy with matching schedule. I’ve heard a lot about the beauty of Prague (plus its affordability for cheapo traveler like me). Many say Prague is a pretty city worth to visit. So we combined the trip to Prague with a visit to Sächsische Schweiz (Germany). It’s not so far from Prague and we plan to have small ‘hiking’ trip to complement our trip to the city.
We arranged 2,5 days in Prague and 2,5 days in Sächsische Schweiz after Christmas until right before new year. We departed to Prague from Munich with IC Bus in the morning. It took us around 5 hours to get to Prague Main Station. It was quite cold at that time and we kinda lost the orientation a bit as we arrived, because we were sleeping almost in the bus and everything’s were quite novel with the unusual text and language. First thing to do was looking for money exchange to buy day ticket to our accommodation.
Tips: My suggestion is going to money changer a bit further way from Prague central station. It takes about 10 minutes walking from the main station, but they offered a very good rate without commission. Do not withdraw directly in the ATM because the charge is quite ‘something’. If my calculation was right, I think we had almost 10 euro more when we changed in the money changer than in the ATM. We exchanged 120 Euro (for 2 persons for 2,5 days in Prague) and got 3.068 CZK. There is money changer in the main station as well, but the exchange rate is not that good.
We bought 24hours ticket for 110 CZK (around 4 Euro) and straight went to the accommodation to store our luggage. Our accommodation is around 10-12 minutes away from main station with metro. Public transports in Prague consists of metro (subway), tram, bus and they are very convenient. I particularly love Prague metro stations with different color tones in different stations made from bumpy aluminum panels attached to the walls and ceilings. The most remarkable thing I recognized from Prague is the escalators in the metro stations run very fast and very long (at least compare to Germany) but yet looks cool when I look up or look down. I took photos again and again in different stations because I think they are cool! The transit pathway is considerably further as well compare to Germany, so the passengers are required to walk around 6 minutes to change the train. One more thing about the train in Prague that I won’t forget is the ear warm announcement every time the door is about to close warning the people to stay back from the door. I don’t know why but it sounds funny.
“Ukončete prosím výstup a nástup, dveře se zavírají! ”
In the first day we went to the city center to find something to eat. We got off in Mustek station and were just walking around the town. It was almost 3pm and we were starving. We straight headed to a canteen restaurant called Havelska Koruna. The mechanism to order is like in the normal Mensa. You line up and choose your own food. The price and taste were average, but the portion was very big.
It was Wednesday and close to the area there was small market selling crafts and foods. Since we only spent 2,5 days in Prague, we only visited the famous tourists landmark there. We went to the old town hall and Charles bridge on the first evening. There was Christmas market going on the town hall, so it was pretty crowded as well as at the Charles bridge. Yeah it was still in holiday season, hence many tourists came (including us). If you go to Prague, I bet you will buy Trdelnik, the horn pastry bread coated with cinnamon sugar and filled with different fillings like chocolate, vanilla crème, whip cream, or ice cream. So did we! The smell was very tempting, and they were everywhere in Prague. So I guess the chance to buy it is 90%. Hahaha…
Second day we had bad weather, combination of raining and snowing. It was cold and windy but still bearable. The plan was to go to Prague castle as first destination but again too many tourists and the que was very long and suddenly I lost my motivation to go inside. So, we left the line and went to Mala Strana area as I heard the architectural buildings are nice there with colorful houses. Accidently on our way, we saw many people walking to a small hidden path so we followed them. Apparently we were heading to a small train station (Ujezd station, if I’m not mistaken), which apparently a funicular to Petrin hill. The ticket is included in the 24 hours pass, so we just jumped in and went up. Up there you can climb the tower by paying hundreds something CZK but we didn’t go. We end up entered a mirror labyrinth installation close to the tower by paying 70 CZK each person. It was simple and funny entertainment though and right decision to warm our body from the rain.
We were looking for the astronomical clock until second day and we were wondering why we didn’t find it. Apparently at noon we just realized that it is located at the old town hall! We didn’t recognize it in the first day because it was already dark and too crowded. But unfortunately, it was under maintenance and didn’t look very nice. Same thing happened with the Prague national museum when we went there on the last day. Night life in Prague is very different compare to Germany, where stores close at 20:00 the latest. Stores and even museums in Prague open until very late. Even museums open until 23:00! That surprised me! So even we felt tired, seeing so many people were still hang out outside made us feel ‘guilty’ when we left so early. Hahaha…
Prague has a lot of unique museums, such as Apple museum, Sex machine museum, Torture museum, Lego museum, etc. On the second day, we went to Lego museum and Narodni museum (on last day). Unique museums like Lego museum cost 150 CZK and Narodni museum costs 70 CZK (for one section only). Both museums are not big and can be finished in 1 hour. We actually didn’t plan to enter the Lego museum, but the store lady seduced us by saying that the museum has world largest Lego collection. The museum is around 400 m2 size (2 floors). It just like Lego store basically but has bigger separated display section for the museum. It’s a bit too pricey for that size of museum actually. But I like Lego anyway, so it’s okay and I was still happy ? Like other tourists, we also took a chance to take pictures at Dancing House (Czech: Tančící dům) but only from outside because we went there at night and it was closed already.
Third day! We spent our last day to go to Narodni Museum (only to the section Light and Life), Wenceslas square, going to supermarket to buy snacks and Czech beer, and taking more pictures! When going to different country, one thing that we like is to visit the supermarket and try interesting local snacks. The decision to enter the museum was also very spontaneous as we thought it was cheap and must be not so big. And you know what? The weather was super nice when we left. Bad timing huh!?
Overall, Prague has a very charming architecture in my opinion. The urban planning is neat, and the buildings are well maintained. Probably mostly in the city center, because on the way to Prague, our bus was passing outskirt of the town and I saw under-maintained buildings which made me ask myself if Prague really that pretty or not. But it didn’t disappoint me in the end ?We walked a lot in Prague. We always eft our hostel after breakfast and went back home late night at around 9 pm. I don’t know why but we were very tired from walking at this trip and had back ache as well after entire day walking. I don’t know, whether it’s because it’s more tiring to walk on asphalt combined with cold weather or simply by the fact we were walking whole day every day. Hahaha..never mind, maybe we are just too old. On the third day we only had half day because we had to catch train to Sächsische Schweiz, Pirna to be exact, where our accommodation is located.
Stay tune for story about our trip to Sächsische Schweiz. I promise to write about it soon.