Prague- you must Czech it out!
January 1, 1970
I’ve been wantig to visit Prague ever since I had to make a project about the atmosphere of a city, for my English class at university. I described it as a medieval city that has the best contrast between the pastel colored facades and the imposing dark cathedrals, it seemed to be an open air museum that is totally worth a visit. I knew that this place is even better while I was reading “The unbearable lightness of being” by Milan Kundera, a czech writer. The novel’s main action takes place in Prague, Czech Republic during a sad part of it’s history – the Soviet invasion, depicting a love story challenged by the temptation of a man for other women. To me, the most important character of the book it’s their dog, Karenin, which brings color to their lives despide the dark times. Other themes like, traveling, love, imigration and political issues can be found in Kundera`s books.
Before the trip:
After all of this, I didnt expect to get the chance of visiting it this soon, and when I finally bought the tickets I was thrilled and I started to plan everything. Firstly, I found this map of the city and I printed it for better orientation- http://cdn.prague-guide.co.uk/free-map.pdf. It is very helpful because the main atractions are pointed out and it also has the metro map attached to it. Every touristic point was accesible by metro, so we didnt need to worry about other transport options. Actually, we only used the metro to get from our place to the city center. I am sure that the best way to explore Prague is by foot, by walking through the narrow streets and observing all the details that reflect how perfect this city is, even at a small scale. I also looked for some lists with places to see, their traditional food and I read articles and reviews written by other travelers.
On the road:
I went to Prague from Budapest by bus, with a Czech company and I must say that everything went perfectly fine with the timing and everything. When the lady on the bus started to speak Czech I realised that I’m completely in love with this language and the sweet sound of it.
We arrived at 7 pm in the cold Prague and we wanted to take the metro to get to our place.The unconvenience was that we had to pay for our tickets with coins and nobody had change, so we had to walk into few shops until we finally got our tickets.
During the night time the main attraction would be also the Old Town Square, where you can find alot of open pubs and clubs full of tourists. We went to a place called James Dean, which had very nice music but was too crowded for us.
Taking a walk through the Letna Park and then watching the city from above it’s a great way to spend the night after a busy day. In the park you can find the “shoe monument of Prague” where dozens of shoes are hanging on a wire near the giant Metronome.
During the second day we visited the Castle of Prague, St.Vitus Cathedral, the famous Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square with the astronomical clock. The castle offers a good chance for seeing the Prague panorama from above and if you’re there just on time, you can catch the guard change. The cathedrals reflect the dark history of Prage through the monumental placement, black shades, and gothical style. The Charles Bridge is full of tourists during the day, so I prefered to admire it at night, when the only silhouettes on the bridge were the statues. There is also a magic place near the bridge where lots of swans and seagulls rest and expect food from you. In the Old Town Square you can find the Franz Kafka library with alot of well designed agendas and books by Czezh writers. I couldn’t help myself from buying another book by Milan Kundera so I left the shop with a copy of “Laughable Loves”. In the square took place the easter market- full of souvenirs, sweets and delocious food (so you must try the trdelnik with nutella while youre there)
Another attraction would be the John Lennon Wall, but for me it wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be because I couldn’t distinguish the messages on it. The good or maybe the bad thing about it is the constant change of images as the time passes by, so if you are lucky, maybe you’ll find a nice work of art on it. A guitar player was singing there some John Lennon songs, mantaining the boheme atmosphere of Prague.
On the last day we walked from our place to the Observation Tower, and on our way we stopped for the Strahov Library which has an impressive interior. The flawless roofs of the lecture rooms were deisgned in an early classical style by an italian architect, Giovanni Domennico Orsi. The main rooms are different in space and atmosphere, the first has a very high roof and a darker depth in comparison to the other which is the opposite. The ceilings are also different: one of them depicts historical scenes and does not have many 3D details, while the other one has a very sculptural ceiling.
When we were hungry we stopped along the way at a traditional restaurant. I totally recommend you to try a delicious goulash soup served in a bread cup with potato dumplings. Their food tastes as good as it looks, so any traditional choice will be satisfying. We also tried the potato chips sticks and the trdelnik from the easter market.
After trip thoughts:
Prague is a breathtaking city that totally meet my expectations. From the large square to the narrow streets, I couldn’t find a flaw.
Finally, I will simplify my story into one short list with places and things you must do while visiting Prague:
- see Prague from the Letna park during the nigt time
- walk on the Charles Bridge
- visit the Strahov Library
- buy a book from the Franz Kafka library
- admire the St.Vitus Cathedral
- take a picture with the “Dancing House” by Frank Gehry
- try Trdelnik
- try a traditional dish
Things that will make your trip easier:
- be sure that you always save the coins for the transportation
- have a map with you