I am finally taking the time to write about my trip to Prague, way back at the end of September. You will soon see why it has been called The Jewel of Europe and why I took so long to post this! So much beauty in one place–it took my breath away.
For those of you not familiar with Prague, it is separated into four quarters (well, more than that, but these are the touristic spots): The Old Town (Staré Město), The New Town (Nové město), The Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana) and the Jewish Quarter (Josefov). I stayed in a lovely four star hotel in the Malá Strana that was very close to the castle. I was immediately charmed by the way the haze softened the lovely warm colours of the buildings that surrounded me. As I crossed the first bridge and caught my first glimpse of Prague, I knew that in the days to follow, I would be filled with wonder. Prague did not disappoint. I was happy that I had four full days to explore each one of the lovely quarters.
As I set out to wander along the beautiful streets of Prague, I was amazed at how ornate the architecture was. Simple things that in North America we tend to see as purely functional (yes, there are exceptions!), and therefore not deserving of much attention, such as door knobs and knockers, were things of beauty here.
Interestingly enough, houses have two numbers in Prague: the red signs are land registry signs, and the blue ones, are the actual address.
I purchased the Prague card and was really happy that I did, as I took full advantage of the savings it offered! In particular, I went to the top of many towers, in many buildings, to enjoy the stunning view and take loads of photos. I would highly recommend it to anyone. My favourite place to visit was the Old Town Hall, built in 1338. I started by joining a tour given in French, but the lady’s accent was so thick that I ended up joining the English group instead! We were given the opportunity to see the famous procession of the twelve apostles in the Astronomical Clock (dating from the 15th century) from the inside! I had wondered why there was a huge crowd of people waiting in front of the clock outside; I had no clue about the procession, which takes place every hour on the hour. The inside of the hall was amazingly beautiful and I loved the tour guide. We finished in the underground passages; it was really cool down there!
I visited the castle (which isn’t really a castle, but rather, the Old Royal Palace), St. Vitus Cathedral, St George’s Basilica and convent and the Powder Tower.
I arrived right on time to see the changing of the guards! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many handsome men in one spot before! Oh la la…
The Golden Lane, dating from the 16th century was really lovely. I’ll let you read about it here: http://www.prague.net/the-golden-lane. Kafka lived in this wee house!
When I visited the Jewish Quarter, I ended up following a tour group for a while so that I could learn more about it. A little sneaky, but hey! I heard some very moving stories. I was disappointed that it was so expensive to visit the inside of the synagogues, as I feel that it’s such an important story to tell. I decided to just learn what I could and look at the buildings from the exterior.
This is a clock with Hebrew numbers that runs backwards:
And some other pictures of the quarter:
And here are some random pics; just to show you how gorgeous it is there!
I thought this guy looked really cool in his skirt. 🙂
And this girl was the perfect example of a bohemian. She was full of passion.
I met some very nice people while I was there! In the morning, I was always stunned that people in the hotel were eating inside when there was a beautiful patio, where you could sit and enjoy the sun gently warming you as you planned out your day. The first morning, I sat there alone and a really nice Swedish man asked if he could join me, and of course, I said yes! We ended up having breakfast together every day and telling one another about our adventures. As it turns out, I was to meet two other Swedish men, on my last night there, sitting on the patio of a quaint little French bistro right by my hotel. To be honest, I picked the restaurant because the servers were very handsome and looked friendly. Hehe. The men talked to me the whole time and we laughed a lot! They seemed very concerned about me travelling by myself (in a fatherly way) and worried that I may feel lonely, but I assured them that I really enjoyed it! You meet so many more people that way and you can selfishly enjoy every moment at your own pace without having to compromise. At the end of the evening, they both got up and gave me a nice, warm hug and a kiss on the cheek. It felt so good to have some physical contact; it had been such a long time! I felt really happy about the two weeks I had spent discovering Bratislava, Vienna, Ceský Krumlov and Prague, but sad that it was coming to an end and that I would have to return to Dublin. It was the perfect end to my perfect trip. May many more follow…