Praha

Trip Start Dec 16, 2010
1
12
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Trip End Jun 30, 2011


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Saturday, March 19, 2011

Arrival in to Prague's hlanvi nadrazi took me by surprise. I could cope with some German words before, but now I found myself in a city with limited English than I had thought. Usually I am good at getting my bearings and direction straight away, but for some reason I stood at the station confused and disoriented. After probably a good fifteen minutes I finally found the underground, bought a ticket and was on my way to the hostel.
A quick tip for Prague. When you get money out at the ATM, make sure you get notes of 200 denomination, eg 600 or 800. Don't get 1000 Krona out, because the ATM will give you a 1000 krona note. This can be a problem when you want to purchase things of a small amount. Shops will refuse to accept large bills and you may find yourself struggling to change it to appropriate notes. Lesson Learnt very quickly.

Another astonishing fact about Prague is that it is more expensive as first thought. I had heard stories of how cheap the Czech Republic was, maybe in the smaller towns, but Prague is actually quite pricey. Usually standard Euro prices and sometimes more.
But on the plus side, at least my accommodation was quite cheap.

I arrived at the little quarter hostel located on the old town side of the river and settled in, I took a brief walk around the area and made my way to the main town square. The square at night is buzzing full of tourists. They name Prague the golden city and at night this is pretty correct. Almost all main buildings are lit up, making night time photography enjoyable.
Within a matter of a few hundred meters walking through the streets I could already see the theme of Prague's tourist involvement with souvenir shops and currency converter shops making up half of a street, the rest are restaurants.

The main square is very nice at night. People wait for the stroke of the hour below the astronomical clock to wait for a few wooden carvings to pop out, followed by a man playing the trumpet at the four side of the old town hall tower. A round of cheers and clapping follows from the contingent of tourists.
I had two days to explore the city. I thought to stick to one side of the river one day and the other on the next day. So I stayed on the old town side of the river on my first full day.
So one of the main attractions is the Charles Bridge. A bridge with statues, views and locals selling their crafts or a hand drawn picture if you'd prefer. It's quite nice but can be annoying with the amount of people so going early in the morning might be an option.
I walked along the river heading South and up the park. Along the way encountering some strange artistic sculptures with babies and what seemed to be a statue re-creation of the T1000 character when he melts in Terminator 2 or a reforming zombie.

Head up the hill and you get some nice views over the city, although trees are mostly in the way until you get to the lookout, but still nice. Follow the great wall of Prague to the top and czech out Prague's Eiffel tower. That last sentence sounds strange but it's true.
I continued to walk to the top end of the park area and there were more good views of the city and of Prague castle.
Next stop was Prague castle. It is free to check the courtyards and garden out. There was the changing of the guards, somewhat anti climatic but still interesting. There are more good views over the city. An impressive church, although you need a ticket to see 3/4 of it.
Tour groups whisk in and out following the ribbon on the stick or umbrella sticking out from above.
I continued my loop and came out the other end of the castle and headed back south down the river. I saw the "piss" sculpture, two guys peeing in a puddle shaped as the Czech Republic.
After a busy day it was time to retire for the night.

I guess you can say I visited the East Prague, but this is not Berlin. The next day I visited the main Prague area. I had already seen most of the main sights in the square so I started off heading South to Vysehrad, a church and park area away from the hustle and bustle of the main area. I walked along the river, stopping and enjoying the sun via the Prague wall. Haha, I probably am confusing a lot of people with these comparisons. The "Prague" wall is actually a tribute wall to John Lennon, geez this guys famous. It's completely covered in graffiti and is very colourful. I had to add a little something. Also on the way is the architecturally interesting "Dancing Building", A building of odd design with the appearance of squeezing in between two other buildings. Other sights include a war memorial and odd roofed church.
Vysehrad includes a church and a cemetery attached with famous Czech people, although I didn't know any names. Also at Vysehrad there is also a nice lookout looking South down the river.
I came back through the city seeing the usual sights and the crazy old Jewish cemetery and made my way to the north end of the main area to another lookout looking South in the park Letenski Sady. I sat and enjoyed the view overlooking the city. Behind the lookout is a popular Skatepark. I sat and watched them Skate for about 45 minutes, taking photos of the really good skaters about. Thinking about the old days.

So I really like Prague, I got used to slowly but enjoyed it all. I think Prague is one of those romantic cities. And with Anna not being able to be there with me I really felt out of place seeing all of these couples. But Aside from that it is a cool city and there is something out there for everyone. I have had enough of the cities though and I am heading South, to Cesky Krumlov and some walking in the Sumava National Park.


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