Praha Weekend

14:46 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

I may have said it before, but I will say it again - Prague was amazing. One of my favorite things about Europe (and Turkey) is all the history, and Prague did not leave you disappointed.  Also, while the city did get some damage in WWII, for the most part, it remain unscathed with lots of historic places remaining in great condition (especially the bridge).

Besides all the beauty of the city, everything was so cheap! We spent in a weekend what we probably spend on one nice dinner in London. Beer was cheaper than water (much to Paul's delight and my dismay).

But don't worry, we didn't spend the whole weekend drinking Pilsner and Budweiser.

This trip, I actually took some time to do research before on places to see and eat. As it turns out, most of the things are close together, so at the end of the first day, we had knocked most of them off the list!

We started off Saturday by first walking from our hotel to the old town, admiring the streets, then the churches with their unusual little turrets poking out the middle of the steeped roofs, and the astronomical clock in the square. While we missed the chimes the first time around, we caught them later in the day. If you're walking by then, stop for the minute it takes to go through the motions, but if you catch it off the hour, you're not missing much.

Next stop was the famous Charles Bridge, commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357.  It was both beautiful and crowded. As you walk down, the bridge is flanked on either side with old statues, 30 in total, depicting all sorts of religious scenes. Next to those, you'll find the street vendors offering jewelry, caricatures, magnets, and lively street bands making the atmosphere almost like a carnival. 

Once we reached the end of the bridge, we began our climb up to Prague Castle.  This is actually a complex made up of several different buildings - St Vitus Cathedral,  the Royal Palace,  St. George's Basilica and Golden Lane. I was most excited St. Vitus as I had read about the beautiful stained glass, which did not disappoint.  The glass was the most vibrant colors I had seen in stained glass before, full of reds, bright blues and greens. In addition, some were almost a mosaic, with tiny little pieces of glass adding to their intricacy. The other attractions were nice (with the exception of the Golden Lane), although not much to write home about minus a couple of nice views of the city.

In our stroll back, we wandered by Frank Gehry's 'Dancing' House - while I can see some of the controversy around it during its construction in the 90's (it's totally incongruous to the rest of the city), but it is beautiful. Unlike some other architectural masterpieces I've visited (Gaudi in Spain), these are offices so you can't visit.

After our dinner, we headed over to the river and found a spot on a dock to watch the sunset and the bridge light up. Much to our chagrin, after an hour, the bridge still hadn't lit up! Perhaps it was a fluke or energy conservation, but I was a bit disappointed to miss out on the iconic night view of the bridge.

After a long day of sun and walking, we decided to forgo anything too exciting and get some rest.

The next day, since we had done most of our sightseeing, was a much more laid back day, and much more food focused!

First, we went to see the Lennon Wall - the iconic images you will remember of the peace sign have long since been spray painted over, but you still see Lennon images and themes popping up around the wall.

Afterwards, we headed over to Cafe Savoy for a bite to eat. The restaurant has been around since the 1890's, although in various forms, and refurbished in the early 2000's.  Our lunch was good, but service was slow, brunch may be a better option for people wanting to get a start on their day. We left after our lunch was devoured, but we weren't done eating yet. We stopped by Mysak Gallery for an ice cream dessert I had read about - a sundae of sort, with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, caramel, chocolate and chopped walnuts.

The rest of our afternoon was lazy - a cruise on the river, although there aren't as many good sites from this view, then sitting on the river to enjoy the local brew.

Our visit to Prague was short, but hopefully not the last. With so much charm, the city is already calling me back!

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