Prague

Trip Start Jan 01, 2012
1
13
15
Trip End Aug 15, 2014


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Where I stayed
Miss Sophie's Prague
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, December 6, 2013

Prague wasn't originally on my 'list’ of places to see in Europe, whether it was the fact I didn’t know much about the place or that I was so set on seeing the main attractions somehow it missed my radar. With that said, the more I heard people rave about it after having been there the more I wanted to go and see it for myself, and so Prague became the latest new addition to the ‘list’.



My friend Conchita and I headed off early one morning to the lovely Stansted airport to start our mini break. Where she was excited and chatty, I was moody and untalkative-my normal pre 9am state. After an airport breakfast and a nap that lasted the entire plane ride I was ready to face the world. We had chosen a private room in a hostel. I had my jandal’s packed and was prepared to use them so was pleasantly surprised to find that Miss Sophie’s Hostel was far posher than some hotels I have stayed in. For only GBP30.00 I had not been expecting to have our own private rainforest shower. The room was chic, it was clean and most important of all it was relatively central.

 

We started our exploration by taking a tram ride to the area surrounding the castle, our first stop was for lunch where I was introduced to potato pancakes which has since fuelled a slight obsession for the little pieces of starchy heaven. It was a shame that such a lovely meal was ruined by one incredibly rude waitress who treated us as if we didn’t deserve to be there and tried to mark our bill up.

 

With full bellies we headed back into the cold and roamed the streets visiting the small boutiques, I fell in love with a Gingerbread shop that sold nothing but decorated gingerbread. Aside from the usual cookies there were wall hangings, houses and even a beautiful gingerbread castle. I have never seen so many puppet shops as I did in Prague that day and although the hand crafted puppets must have taken hours of labour and bucket loads of skill to make they did nothing but scare the crap out of me.

 

We witnessed a military procession near the castle that was being filmed for the local news. I have no clue what it was for, what was being said or what the significance of the event was due to my Czech skills lacking but whatever it was it was incredible to see and it brought a small gathering of local elders to tears. Later that evening we would try to Google the event or see it on the news but to no avail.

 

After filming the procession we headed to a small cafe to defrost and try a local delicacy called trdelnik, a sweet pastry cylinder lined with topping of choice. With pastry in my tummy, snow falling outside and the smell of chocolate in the air I was content and it certainly beat being in the office.

 

We didn’t actually make it to the castle, despite seeing the giant castle perched on the hill do you think we could actually find it? No and I am well aware of how stupid that sounds. After hours of walking the castle entrance eluded us.

 

As the sun grew sleepy we meandered our way into the old town stopping after sunset to soak up the atmosphere of the local Christmas market. There is something just so magical about Christmas markets, the bright lights, the smell of gluhwein and people peddling their wares and calling out to the buyers that wins me over every time.

 

For dinner we made our way to a small restaurant close to our hotel, it was a family owned microbrewery that appeared to be very popular with the locals. We had wanted to try a few dishes and so ordered a few of what we assumed would be small dishes judging by the price. When the waitress came to deliver our meal the food just kept coming and we ended up feasting like queens from what I swear could have fed a small army. We certainly got to try a selection of the local cuisine and beer for what would have cost the same as a Big Mac Combo in the UK. I couldn’t get over the price of how reasonable it was. It was so nice just to spend an evening completely relaxed in such good company.

 

We began the following day by having lunch in the hostel breakfast room. I was expecting budget cornflakes and UHT milk but what we got instead was a beautiful oak breakfast bar complete with a vegan station, fresh baked pastries and chefs on site to make all you can eat, omelettes, full breakfasts, pancakes, crepes and French toast. Best hostel breakfast ever!

 

When we stepped outside we were greeted with snow, I had completely misjudged the weather assuming it would be the same as it was in the UK, oh how wrong was I. We had prebooked a tour at my insistence to go to Kutna Hora. Cheets was not so keen to go given the nature of what Kutna Hora is but good friend that she is she agreed to come and give it a go all the same. We visited a few stops along the way including the incredible St Barbara’s Cathedral.

 

Kutna Hora is a small town, but the reason so many flock there is to view the bone ossuary. The ossuary itself was smaller than I imagined, I don’t really know how to describe it in any other way than to tell you it was haunting. There were chandeliers made of skulls, wall trimmings of femurs and bones stacked upon bones. It was certainly creative and certainly a way to free up space in the cemetery but staring at all those skulls I couldn’t help but think of the lives they once were.

 

I know I should say that the highlight of the day was the ossuary however the truth is that it was actually the minivan. I don’t think I have ever felt cold like I did that day, I have no idea what the actual temperature was but when you lose feeling in your toes and your wearing two pairs of thermal socks and Timberlands you know it’s cold.

 

After dinner we headed back to the hotel. I thought I knew best and took us on a shortcut in what quickly became an increasingly seedier area. Thank goodness there was two of us or I might have panicked when the half dressed older woman with a pitbull hissed at us through her broken greying teeth. After escaping the mini red light district and successfully defrosting at our hotel we decided to check out the famous Czech Jazz scene. We headed to a small jazz club. We descended into the basement of a dodgy looking building to be greeted by a small cosy venue with red velvet drapes and theatre style seating and the smooth dulcet tones of J.J.Jazzmen.  After two sets, a glass or two of red and with the Jazzmen’s tunes still in my head we made our way back to our hotel to retire for the night.

 

On our last day after a mega hostel breakfast we decided to go back to where we started but this time go in the castle. This time it wasn’t so difficult and it turned out we were actually right by the entrance when we watched the military parade. Bugger. The castle grounds were so much bigger than I had anticipated and how the heck we missed it the first time round is beyond me. From the castle we headed to the Lenon Wall, a wall so covered with Beatles graffiti over the years that you could barely make out the words.

 

The rest of the day was spent milling through the shops and just relaxing, picking up a souvenir or two along the way. The only stressful thing was a cafe who tried to charge us EUR26.00 for two hot chocolates....pricey. After a day of exploring Prague and all its eccentricities we slowly made our way to the airport for our late night flight back to London town.

 

I loved Prague and for a city that wasn’t originally on the list I was pleasantly surprised. It was such a cheap place to visit providing you stayed away from the tourist designated zones. I fell in love with the food and the beautiful boutique hostel that was Miss Sophies’s. To anyone who is sitting on the fence about whether to visit, do it, you won’t regret it.

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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