Published: December 4th 2007December 3rd 2007
me in our hotel room after arriving in prague
After checking the weather forecasts for the past few days, I knew we might have been in for a cold time in Prague. The ever reliable BBC weather updates had snow forecasted for the trip one day and then sunshine and clear skies the next... We arrived in Prague in the late afternoon on Thursday and were greeted at the arrival hall by a man with a sign. I did feel a little posh even if he was looking for Mr Dowley instead of me. We strolled out of the airport and greeted to our first glimpse of Prague’s weather, and it was a wee bit chilly. Our driver informed us that it was a fresh 0 degrees and we were on our way. We arrived at our hotel and let me tell you, that after hostels/cabins and camping, it was a real treat to be staying in a flash hotel. We checked in and headed up the room and the mini bar. Our fellow 4 travellers arrived on the London fun bus a little later in the arvo and after a quick catch up; we headed out to explore Prague.
We headed towards the old town square and passed
under the Powder Gate. I think this used to be where they stored gun powder back in the day. When you cross under the gate, the street opens up into a lovely cobblestone street of shop after shop. It seems they are big on glassware in Prague and some of the vases, plates etc were amazing. We made our way along the road and this opened up to the Old Town Square. There is a church just at the back of the square that is called the Tyn Church and the towers are amazing. It looks a lot like the Disneyland Castle. It was my favourite. One of the towers of the Tyn is thinner than the other and the thinner tower represents women and the wider one is man. They say that when the towers cast a shadow, the male tower is bigger and therefore protecting the women. A little further on in the square is the Astronomical Clock. They say that they the Czechs wanted to be the only city with such a clock that they blinded the creator. Turns out the creator got his own back by removing a metal rod and the clock wouldn’t work for
Tyn Cathedral......i think it looks a little like the disneyland castle
2 centuries. Karma hey!! Whether this is true or not is another story!!!! The clock has an astronomical dial (shows position of moon & sun), the walk of apostles and a calendar dial. It goes off every hour and is one of the more well known ‘is that it?’ attractions. I think the whole thing lasted 30 seconds. Next we strolled around the wee cobblestone streets and found a lovely restaurant serving traditional Czech food. Lots of red wine and good food later we made our way out on the street. Mel, Eleanor and Richard headed off to see a marionette show and Jods, Aimee and I headed to a wee bar called Bloody Freddie’s for some drinks. Really, really cheap Mojitos... The rest of the gang showed up about an hour later, apparently the marionette show was that bad, they all fell asleep during the show and had to leave. We stayed for a few more drinks and it was all going along nicely until Jodie tried to pay the man with Eleanor’s danish koruna note and we got yelled at…how were we to know!!!!
After much debate, we decided to meet for breakie at 9am on Friday
Jodie and Aimee in the Old Town Square
before starting our big day of exploring. I was quite excited to find they had my cinnamon cereal at the hotel…I can’t find it anywhere in Scotland. I am going to have to stock up in London and bring some home with me. We made our way towards Karlov Most (Charles Bridge) on our way to Prague Castle. Charles Bridge is amazing, I love it. We were there on a weekday and it was much quieter than on the weekends. There are little stores along the bridge and little old men singing. Its great and the views up to Prague Castle are amazing. We strolled along the bridge for a bit and headed up the hill to the castle. Along the way, we found a toilet that is in quite a strange place. Eleanor was a trooper and climbed into the garden to pose for a picture on the toileta (well we think that’s what it was...) we did get a few funny looks from the locals though. We made it up the hill and the views from the top were great. The castle is beautiful and made up of all different components. As we walked in past the guards,
Elle, Aimee, Mel and me in the Old Town Square...it was a bit chilly
there was this one wee guard who just looked so nervous. His eyes kept looking from side to side and he couldn’t stop fidgeting. It was so cute. I think he was just waiting for his shift to be over so he didn’t have to have his picture taken by all the tourists (like us!!) We hung around out the front for a bit as the changing of the guards was taking place at 12pm. It was absolutely freezing outside and it felt like our feet were frozen to the spot. There was music and the guards marched through the gates and swapped over. It was nice to see. Next up we went to the St Vitus Cathedral. This church houses a few of the Bohemian Kings and is the largest church in the country. Once inside, you can choose to climb up the 300+ spiral staircase to the top of the cathedral for a great view of Prague. Yes, I took part in this medieval form of torture and climbed the bloody stairs. Oh I hate stairs…..turns out that the only up and down the tower is the one staircase so it got quite squishy in parts when you
streets of prague
were trying to go up and everyone else was coming down. The stairs felt never ending but we finally made it up to the top. The views were pretty amazing. It was pretty grey for the first few days we were in Prague so I am pretty sure the views would have been more sensational on a clear day but I loved it all the same. Next up we headed inside the Old Royal Palace where I proceeded to fall up a flight of stairs….nice work by me!!!! Lucky there were not too many people to witness my fall. We headed to St Georges Basilica next and had a wee stroll through the concert hall and the balcony overlooking the chapel. It was nice. Our tour ended up on Golden Lane, which is a row of shops selling overpriced touristy things. There was an armour museum upstairs which was pretty cool and a man dressed in traditional gear at the end where you could have a crack at shooting a bow & arrow. We made our way down from the castle and back towards the Charles Bridge. On the way back from the castle we came across the Frank Kafka
Jods and me
Museum where the ‘piss sculptures’ are. Basically its two men peeing into a pond but if you send a sms to this number, they will apparently write your message out. We didn’t fall for this tourist trap although it would have been pretty funny. We met up with some more of our travellers who were delayed from London and headed for some lunch. We had seen a Torture Museum just near the Charles Bridge and a friend of Elle’s had been there before so upon this recommendation, we decided to give it a go. Warning kiddies, do not go to this place with an empty stomach, it’s a little disturbing. It’s on three levels so we headed to the top floor (yes, more stairs…agh). All you could hear was ‘oh gross’ ‘that is so wrong’ as we strolled though. Some of those devices are enough to bring a tear to your eyes. It was slightly disturbing. We finished up at the museum and headed back to the Astronomical Clock. We had decided to go on a Haunted walking tour of Prague. We met up with our tour guide and went for a wander. We passed though the Old Town Square
streets of prague and the christmas tree
and part of the New Town. We passed though the narrow windy streets and our tour guide kept us entertained with various ghost stories. His claim was that ‘his mates’ were all very drunk when they have seen these ghosts but he has never seen one. It wasn’t really a haunted walk, just a bit of fun. After much debate, it was decided that we would be eating Thai for dinner. It was quite nice and after a few drinks & dinner, we headed back to the hotel for the night.
Saturday morning, we headed out to check out the Jewish Quarter. We soon remembered (after arriving at the Synagogues) that Saturday is Sabbath for the Jewish community and nothing was open. We posed for a few pictures with the Frank Kafka statue and then made our way back to a church that the walking tour guy had mentioned. Apparently there was this guy was liked to pilfer from the church. One day he tried to grab this pendant/jewel (don’t quote me on that!!) and the statue came to life and grabbed hold of the thief’s hand. The statue had a death grip on the thief’s hand and as
a result it had to be cut off. If you look up just near the entrance of the church, you can still see the decomposed hand hanging from the wall of the church. Check out the pictures and decide for yourself. Outside the church, we stumbled on Prague’s only Australian pub but it was a wee bit early, although they are looking for footy players to join the Prague league. It was quite amusing. Next up, we made our way back into the new town and headed for Wenceslas Square for a look. Wenceslas Square is one of the main squares in Prague and also one of the main shopping districts. Jodie, Rich & Mike headed to the Natural Museum which is at the top of the street for a look and the rest of us went for a stroll around the square. Aimee and I headed off to check out what we thought was a church, but it turned out to be a restaurant. We did manage to find the world’s only Cubist lamppost hidden away in a back street of the square. It was quite cool. The Czechs are well known for their Cubist designs. We headed through
the streets and along the river to the Charles Bridge to meet up with the rest of the guys for some lunch. We headed to a little underground café called Bar Bar which was quite nice. Service in Prague is not on the quick side in some places, so be prepared to wait quite a while for your food (or even to place your order). Jods, Aimee and I were buggered so we stopped in at a little bakery and then made our way back to the hotel for a nanny nap before heading out for our night on the town. We were feeling quite refreshed after a nap and got ready for our night out. After more debates over dinner, we settled on the Belgian Beer Café which was ok. It was mainly seafood so a couple of us couldn’t eat much from the menu but they did make a killer Mojito so that was a bonus. We made our way to the Karlovy Lazne Nightclub which is 5 floors of all different kinds of music. It was quite cool, we made a deal between the 8 of us that we would stay for at least 2 songs on
each floor and then go from there. Needless to say, we spent most of the night on the retro floor. It was great fun and we danced all night. It had been ages since we had a good boogie so it was fun times all round. Jods, Aimee, Mel and I stumbled out of the place around 4am and made our way back to the hotel. Let me tell you people, Prague is freezing at 4am and we were rugged up with beanies, scarves, gloves and thick coats. Even with our sore feet, we managed to make it back to the hotel in record time and crashed for the night.
The call came through on Sunday morning and 9am was way to early for a Sunday so changed the plans to a more reasonable 10.30am start for the day. Still felt slightly hung-over and we were all very very tired. We had some breakfast and headed back to the rooms to pack up for check out. It was lovely staying in a posh hotel for a few days and after checking out and booking our car back to the airport we were on our way. We made our way
Tyn Church at night
back to the Jewish quarter where we visited the Spanish Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Maisel Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery. There are over 12,000 gravestones and people were buried 12 deep in the old Jewish cemetery. The gravestones are packed in so tight, that they are leaning on top of one another in parts. It was quite eerie walking through there. We finished up back at the Spanish Synagogue and then made our way back into town for some lunch. The fun times had come to an end and it was time for Jodie & me to leave Prague so we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel to meet our car to the airport. The flight home was good; we were quite tired so I slept most of the way. We arrived back in Edinburgh around 9.30pm and it felt like summer compared to the weather we had in Prague. All in all, Prague was awesome; it was everything I had imagined it to be and more. I certainly recommend this place to anyone……..until next time….Ahoj!!!
There are more photos below