After a night of train travel that scared the living daylight out of me I was relieved to have arrived at the train station in Prague. I didn’t care that it was 7 in the morning and that nothing was open to get breakfast or that when I arrived at my hostel I was going to have to wait 3 hours to check in. I was here dammit, and not lost at the border somewhere.
Prague was a place I really hadn’t researched much before getting here. Sure I’d had a quick look through my lonely planet guide book but that’s nothing compared to the planning I did for Paris. You see I only really intended to stop a day or two before either heading onto Austria or if money was low back towards Paris so I could get my ass to London and find work.
So with the though that I had a day or two at best in my mind I stowed away my gear at the hostel and headed off to catch the free walking tour they run in Prague.
Making my way to the old town square for the walking tour was easier said than done. Partly because I was distracted by the buildings I passed and also due to the streets seeming to go in every direction other than straight. I get that the town is old and all but damn could I have used some good old 20th century grid layout at that point.
Finding the square (from the other side of town no less) was worth all the trouble thought. It was a beautiful sunny day and the city buildings just blew me away. I had become complacent with old towns after having seen so many recently but not anymore, Prague was simply stunning.
Joining the tour, we started with the Tyn Cathedral directly opposite our meeting point and after a couple of terribly scripted jokes we wandered over past the Old Town Hall where the Astronomical Clock lives. From here it was off to see what else Prague had hidden away down its many beautiful streets.
Exploring the Jewish area I learnt about Kafka and his work (they really do love this guy) before eventually winding our way to the Vltava River where we marveled at the great Prague Castle and Charles Bridge.
About this time I realised I’d be staying in Prague a little longer than a day. The place is amazing and I can see why its become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. With the tour finally over I was free from the terribly scripted tour guide so set off to do my own exploring.
First stop was Charles Bridge, and what a bridge it is spanning some 500 meters across the river and 10 meters wide. Be warned though its a great tourist attraction with street vendors and tourist’s everywhere. You can’t blame them thought when it offers great views of Prague Castle and not to mention the perfect spot to sit and tourist watch.
Leaving the bridge I headed back through town to my hostel, only stopping for a quick beer and a couple more shots on the camera. I had hoped to find some folk at the hostel willing to join me at a local restaurant for a meal. Unfortunately as I was in a party hostel I gave up and headed out alone and enjoyed some form of meat dish, washed down with some good old Prague beer.
Tomorrow I was set to venture out of Prague to Kutna Hora for the day. Top of the things to see was the Bone Chapel, sounds exciting huh.
Oh wow – Prague just always looks so gorgeous every time I see pictures and read about it. Good to know that there is a free walking tour!
Prague is definitely a beautiful place, I was not expecting it to be honest. Yes there is a free walling tour (a couple actually) you just tip at the end to what you think it was worth. Unfortunately my tour guide wasn’t so good.
Prague has to be the IT place for 2010, I have read so much about it. I think I may have missed the boat on this as it’s no longer a hidden gem and now it’s just going to be crowded as everyone is going there.
Yeah I’d agree Ayngelina. Judging by the amount of people there and the stories I’ve heard, plenty of people knew of its secrets before I did.
I’d still go back again even if it was over run. It’s the sort of place you could easily live for awhile. Relatively cheap for Europe and has all you could ask for.
Prague has the best of both worlds, it’s beautiful AND cheap ;)!
You got that right Sofia. It was super cheap to stay even when I had booked it last minute. The bonus has to be the amazing buildings, prague castle is one such beauty.
Really looking forward to going back at some point.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Prague. Enjoy.
I can see why Lauren. You have to make time for a visit at some point.
Insightful article. It is easy to not read about a place before you visit and then be pleasantly surprised at how rich in culture and architecture a place can be. Prague sounds fascinating.