A vision captured forever in a lens,
lost in an endless cortex of life’s memories.
Our own personal quicksand,
But the sense was worth the future lose.
In my last post, I wrote about my time in Germany’s main city of Berlin! Berlin you were a lively city that’s heat wave made mushy brainless zombies out of us but we persevered and had an amazing time. Two days just wasn’t enough time so I will definitely be going back. Next stop Prague!
I will start with some advice. If your train time says “booking optional” BOOK IT and save yourself our mistake. At 4.20 am we expected the train to be filled with a few sleepy backpackers but not an entire train full. We captured ourselves some seats but our relief was in vain. Our seats were poached away from us from more savi travellers than us. This was to happen another four times until the inevitable happened and we had to split up and brave the aisles separately in search of somewhere to sit or stand. Rosie and I ended up in the bicycle storage section of the train with other travellers who covered the floors in sleeping bags. Half a dozen “sausage rolls” looked up at us as we stepped onto their tray. One wormed around in his pastry prison to allow us to join them. We sat upright with our backs to the wall.
A man opened the cooker door and stumbled in on unsteady feet with an open packet of rice cakes in one hand. He stepped over us all and settled in the corner using someone’s shopping as pillows. Rosie and I looked at each other and broke out into hysterical laughter. After all what else are you going to do in that situation? Eventually, after a few stops, they added on another carriage. I hurried off the train and raced passed backpackers towards our goal, a chair with no occupants and dreamland. Rosie went to find Ash while I secured us three seats. We got about 2 blissful hours where those chairs where ours and ours alone until they were taken away from us again. I have learned a lesson about train travel, book or suffer.
The Man and his věž
After a brief nap in our small and old-fashioned Airbnb flat, we found ourselves in front of a Tower. New Town Hall (Novomistska radnice) is a beautiful old building with a very quirky and very proud Czech in charge of it’s doors. He wore a purple polo neck t-shirt and high waist striped trousers. We chatted to him briefly before making our way up the 200 + steps stopping on each floor as we did.
Each floor had historical images hung on painted concrete. On the last floor before we reached the reason for climbing so many steps was an Art exhibition of an artist’s Sketches depicting historical political scenes in different ways. The Old Townhall apparently holds exhibitions like this one all the time and even transforms into a wedding venue at times. Outside on the topmost point of the tower was a wonderful overview of the surrounding area of Prague city. A beautiful glimpse at what we were about to explore. When we returned to earth the man wearing the striped trousers talked about his country and it’s history to us. He explained some of the histories of the buildings throughout WWII. One story that stuck in my mind was that the Town Hall was once used to imprison people, a limbo before they were forced to travel to concentration camps. It’s a strange feeling being in places drenched in history of the saddest kind. The Hall dates all the way back to the 1500’s and even still has sketch drawings from its birth moving along the walls like a flick book of time. Beautiful views and fascinating history worth seeing. Student discounts are available as well for those who hold a valid student card.
As it seems the river side really is the place to be in Europe. Again we found that it was the best place to rest and enjoy the sun while having a beverage. There were bars inside its walls, the heart that keeps the walkway pumping and us the blood that swims in its veins. Music, company and a water hose that sprayed passersby and those who stopped to cool off including their furry companions.
Meeting in the sky
The image below shows the Prague congress centre. Inside was an interesting and slightly risque erotic art exhibition. Hanging along the stairway towards the roof bar we were welcomed by a visually accurate painting of Lady Gaga wearing her famous meat dress and another similar style of a woman with sperm coming from her mouth with the caption “How to give good head” I can only assume they were showing how magazines today objectify women. Stepping up and away from the interpretive art onto the roof deck was the most beautiful view of Prague. We stayed to bask in the sunset watching the sky change colour as the sun went to rest, to let the moon rise. It was perfect minus the attacking wasps which were a feature as much as the Gothic churches were. While enjoying the view we met the most lovely young woman who was partaking in a two-day layover. We got chatting and she ended up coming with us for dinner that night.
If you are a vegetarian you might find Prague a bit hard to swallow. Most of the dishes are meat heavy. The food is heavy on the stomach but will keep you going on your walk around the city. Goulash is something you will see in almost every restaurant and it will leave you laying in a food coma.
Let’s take a walk over Charles
Charles Bridge at night is full of life. There are so many people stopping to enjoy the view while buskers serenade passerby, strolling in and out of lamplight. The music ranged from classical, operatic and gentle indie rock. Many statues loom over Charles Bridge with many different names and stories. One of the most famous is of John Nepomuk. The story goes that he was thrown from Charles Bridge because he would not divulge the queen’s confessionals to the king. For this, he was drowned by the king’s behest. He became a martyr and a symbol in Prague. An interesting story to be told by our walking tour guide. The free walking tour isn’t exactly free as the title suggests. Instead, you pay as much as you think the tour was worth or what you afford. A brilliant scheme that will make the travellers on a budget feel a little less guilty about not having a lot of cash to hand over. The tour took us around most of the landmarks of Prague and divulged all the most interesting historical facts about the city. Our guide had no problem speaking to a large group and was a nice American who fell in love in Prague.
You made the list
Even though it is on many travel lists which depict it as an underwhelming/snooze fest I found all of these to be so very wrong. When the sunlight touches its face lighting each colourful character of the tower’s clock it becomes a true wonder to behold. The famous Astronomy Tower chimes are described in many reviews as short but for me, they were short and mesmerizing. I studied each character that reanimated with its cue. Each sculpted completely different from the other. Short but never boring. An astrological architectural clock for all to see and all should see.
Inside is life, buzzing and zipping using up every space available in Prague’s Old Town Square. Performers, food, Architecture everything in four corners. An amazing sight for a Gothic design enthusiast to gaze upon and for everyone to admire. In this square, I witnessed many firsts, one of which was seeing a man dressed in a tutu and gold trainers dancing for money. It was a sight I will not forget (because I have the picture).
A pose for every country
Standing in front of the Marvel that is St Vitus Church, every inch photogenic, towering over its audience. Each section beautifully sculpted atop another beautiful viewpoint in the city. So many images to capture but taking photos of yourself in front of so many different sights day after day can become repetitious. You want an image of yourself in front of dazzling sights but the same smile and pose just won’t do. So why not steal others? My friends and I decided to adopted posed we seen people do on our travels. And I can tell you that people really do, do the strangest things.
This one we called the Russian (we saw a Russian couple do this so we thought we would try it out)
Where ever you go you will interact with people from all over the world from tourists, backpackers to locals. This is one of the greatest experiences and one of the top things that go hand in hand with travelling. On our walking tour, we met two girls from England who were interrailing too but on a different route to ours. Interacting with others who are also travelling is a great way of sharing stories and travelling tips. It can even add to your party for a short while. We trekked up to the viewpoint together and drank in the sun (a few pints). Just watch out for the wasps. It seems to be where they like to cruise. Lots of tasty treats to snack on while they tour the wooded islands.
This look was recreated from a Mannequin we seen in a shop window
To end the night we visited James Dean retro bar where we chatted to the Brazilian Jim Carey and his friend. Moving downstairs to the club as the night drew on where we danced beside the Ladies inside their dance box. The prices, music, retro aesthetics and an occasional fire show from the bar made this club one I would highly recommend.
Prague is an amazing city. It really has it all, food, architecture, Landscape views, Bars and history. It is definitely one of my top cities to visit. The nightlife was a tad rowdy with the army of Stag and hens that roamed the bar district but the city had so much more good than bad. I would most definitely be revisiting it not only to see the city again but also to venture outside the city to see sights such as the bone church that I sadly missed.
I hope you liked my Prague post!
Have you visited Prague? what was your favourite point of your visit?