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Published: July 17th 2017
Good evening from Munich!
My sincerest apologies that my entries are a tad delayed, but finding down time has been difficult on this trip - I'm normally on the go from early til late, and just feel like collapsing in a heap in the hotel room at the end of each day. However, I have started this blog with the intention of actually keeping up with it, so enjoy the musings of a knackered Kiwi haha.
I've always wanted to visit Prague after seeing a photo of the Charles Bridge. That bridge seemed to a younger me to be the equivalent of the magical bridge as seen in the Thor movies (if you haven't seen that film, it is basically a fancy space bridge that sparkles and is really colourful and pretty). I was also keen on trying Czech beer, it is cheaper than water in some places! Coming into Prague on the train and heading to the hotel room, I was quite happy to see that we were situated right in the heart of the Old Town, just like in Dresden.
After checking in, which was late afternoon, we went out to get a coffee. I was pleasantly surprised
by the size and quality of the coffee I ordered. Being the coffee fiend I am, I am always concerned about how caffeinated and perfect I expect my coffee to be when I leave New Zealand. Upon leaving the cafe we went for a wander around the Altstad. I had previously created a list of all the things I wanted to see in Prague, but after trying to formulate a feasible route for seeing all these things, I thought, stuff it. I am going to walk around and hope for serendipitous encounters with the list of cool things, and maybe encounter things I hadn't expected to see. This was what we've been doing a lot of the time, and it leads to lots of unexpected experiences, which is how travel should be in my opinion. Being too regimented doesn't always go according to plan as I am fast learning.
We ended up deviating from Wenceslas Square and finding other cool niches of the city, and eventually found our way back to the renowned square. It was certainly a stunning square, and was close to being a "Brussels Moment".
The last stop of the day was to see my long lusted
after Charles Bridge. As we were walking up to where the bridge was, I most definitely had what felt like multiple moments of exquisite joy at seeing a square of beautiful old buildings and the entranceway of the bridge I've waited so long to see. Since it was late in the day and we were knackered from the train trip, we decided to cross the bridge and look at the Altstad from the other other side in adoration, swooning and experiencing all those other touristy feels. Heading back to the hotel room, I was spark out ready for the next day's adventure.
Our first day in Prague proper, we went and wandered around the Altstad once again, seeing other areas previously unexplored. After coffee and a croissant, carbs are my saviour on these big days I've found, we went over a different bridge into the New Town, with the intention of exploring the outskirts of the city more and eventually come back over the "Pretty Bridge" back to the Old Town. We were trying to find good vantage points and a cool tunnel in the hill which was on my list, and ended up climbing hundreds of stairs in this
pursuit of this hole in a hill. I was unsure what hill this needed to be, so felt that we would have to climb multiple hills to find the correct one. We found a nice view up the tops of many hills, but not the damn hill I was looking for. There was a nice park area to walk around in nonetheless, and we ended up fortuitously walking inadvertently towards the Prague Castle domain. Interestingly, we had to get the exterior body search with the detecting apparatus and bag search by the resident guard to be let into the Royal Gardens. The castle was nice on thine eyes, and the gardens weren't too shabby either. In the near distance I could see what looked like Cologne Cathedral's cousin - St Vitus' Cathedral.
With renewed vigour, we frolicked towards the cathedral. We eventually found ourselves outside the cathedral, and I found myself wide eyed in wonder (which was fast becoming a typical occurrence in this trip). The cathedral took six centuries to build with the final phase of building being around 1929. The building was of similar stature to Cologne's Cathedral, but a lot lighter looking and with some different looking
decorative features to it. It featured all the classic Gothic architecture that makes one appreciate the grandeur of a such a building. The interior of the cathedral was akin to Cologne's Cathedral, strikingly so. I did enjoy the ornate altars, of which the high altar had the royal mausoleum. The nave, transept, presbytery and ambulatory were also different to Cologne's but possessed enough differences to make the church a new and exciting entity to behold. The clerestory and vaulted arches up the top were magnificent, and the stained glass windows and lancets were luminous; some even possessed various shades of my favourite colour - purple, which was excellent colour wheel choosing on the architect's behalf hehe.
Upon leaving St Vitus, we proceeded to wander down a hill into a nearby park. There was a busker of sorts using this big bubble blowing rope device which released numerous large bubbles into the air each time it was flown through the air. It was quite remarkable, the small kiddies loved it, and it was really heartwarming to see such joviality in the air, and at such a simple thing. I have a special affinity towards bubbles - I found them utterly fascinating
as a child, and to this day marvel at these perfect fragile coloured orbs that only exist for a few precious moments before popping. Suppose life is a bit like that - fragile, beautiful and fleeting, and to be loved for that very reason. Anyway, enough about those bubbles!
After basking in the sun in the park we wandered down a hill, and found ourselves at a monastery - the monastery had a brewery also. Trust the Czech Republic to have a brewery on the site of a monastery. There is always a place of booze to be found irrespective of where you are near in the city. Heck, even going through the diplomatic quarter later, I could smell a whiff of mary jane wafting on down to the nearby cop shop. I found it quite amusing. We walked through a lovely path back down the hill through some apple orchards and back towards Charles Bridge. Before reaching the bridge, we decided to wander up Petrin Hill, a rather high hill of which is supposed to have breathtaking views of the city, especially from the watchtower up there. After a somewhat exhausting walk up the hill, we found the tower
was exorbitantly expensive to climb up, so decided against it. We ended up buying similarly priced donuts and icecream later – however, food is always an exception to expenditure.
We headed back to the bridge in the evening. It stays so bright even at late hours which was very cool. The Bridge was absolutely packed as one would expect being high season for tourists. We paused to admire the panoramic views of each side of the city, and take a few photos and then headed back towards the Old Town. We tried really delicious deep-fried dough spirals (long donuts basically), with icecream in it. Glorious - Donna, I know you'd appreciate this gastro-delight! I was determined to get some traditional Czech food, as I know how good it is as I used to have a Czech boyfriend who made the best Czech food. I had a chicken goulash with the most sumptuous bread. I washed it down with a nice cider. The barman was very friendly and very tolerant of our crappy attempts at Czech. I know thank you in Czech - but that's about where it ends sadly. My German is a little better now though I must say.
After a little more wandering around, I unexpectedly found two things that were on my list. One was Sigmund Freud hanging from a noose from a building, a statue that is. Don't know why it is there - I have to say, it must have been a Freudian slip – sorry, excuse my morbid pun. We also finished off the day seeing the giant Kafka head that I really wanted to see. The layers of metal sculpture move so his head changes direction quite often. Super cool.
Anyway, it is getting late and I am probably missing parts of the awesomeness that was Prague, however I am basically falling asleep. To sum up - Prague is a compelling, friendly, and visually stimulating city, rife with history and intrigue, and well worth a visit if afforded the chance 😊
Goodnight from Munich,
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