On the road – All around Prague

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We arrived in Prague on a sunday around midday. Getting there was not very difficult even though at the beginning we were trying to avoid highways to avoid toll charges. But when we crossed the border we realised that you didn’t need to pay toll charges for certain routes but rather needed a vignette for certain streets (that are not clearly marked by the way). And as the vignette for 10 days cost about 11€ we thought: well let’s just buy it and we can drive were ever we want. It took us about 2.5 hours to get to Prague and after checking into our hotel and parking our car at a 24h security parking, we started sightseeing straight away. We walked from our hotel, which was located a little east of the old city center and the Jewish quarter through the old city, up to the National theatre, over to the Lesser Quarter, up the hill to Prague Castle, back over the Vltava river through the Jewish Quarter and back to our hotel. Google tells me, that this, without detours, is a walk of about 10km.

We started by walking to the Republic Square (náměstí Republiky) checking out the gorgous Art Noveau Municipal House (Obecní dům) located there. Unfortunately you don’t get to see much of the inside without a ticket to one of the events there. Around the corner stands the Powder Tower (Prašná brána) which we used to get into the old city center and then walked to the famous Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) with the Astronomical Clock and the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem). The whole area is absolutely stunning, yet also absolutely packed with tourists and really annoying city tours on Segways.

 

We then tried to escape the crowds a little and unknowingly walked into the New Town (Nové Město) to see the National Theatre (Národní divadlo), a neo-Renaissance building with golden roof, alongside the banks of the Vltava River that we had already seen when driving into the city. We crossed the Vtlava river here (most legíi) and found ourselves, after passing over Kampa island, in the Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana) were we had a sneak peak into the Church of Our Lady Victorious (Kostel Panny Marie Vítězné) and checked out all those beautiful embassies (the German one that played such an important role in the German reunion 25 years ago by the way is further up the hill and we didn’t pass it). We did not pop into the Church of Saint Nicholas (Kostel svatého Mikuláše) because it cost quite a high entry price but rather stopped for our first Czech beer on the short side of the square in sight of Saint Nicholas. I tried to identify the place on google street view but I guess it is one of those places with closed window shield, so I can’t really tell you its name. I can just say that is was rather shabby but in a nice down to earth way, considering all those tourist places, and so were the prices. The beer was nice and the service was so too.

We then made our way up the hill to Prague Castle (Pražský hrad). On our way through the Lesser Quarter I had already seen people eating some weird rolled pastry thing that smelled super delicous. And on our way up the hill (Nerudova) we passed one of those Trdelník bakeries and I got a still warm pastry with cinnamon and sugar. It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and cinnamon, nuts or filled with Nutella. It was great and only about 2€! When we came into the castle we had the chance to see the St. Vitus Cathedral (metropolitní katedrála svatého Víta, Václava a Vojtěcha) at its best, at twilight. And even though we didn’t pay for a ticket because it was expensive, valid for different things and it was already 4 p.m. so not really worth it any more, we had a good look around the cathedral in the areas were we could go without a ticket. We then strolled around the castle and had a look into the Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička). Usually you need a ticket for this tiny lane too but as it was around 5 p.m. and with that after dark and you could enter the tiny lane for free.

At the end we left the castle through the back gate and slowly made our way down the castle hill. The views over night time Prague from here were spectacular. All those beautiful old buildings are nicely lit and looked great against the back drop of the Vltava River.

After crossing the bridge (Mánesův most) near the Rudolfinum we ended up in the Jewish Quarter (Josefov). The fact that it was dark so early paired with the distance we had already walked had made us hungry. We walked around the quarter for about ten minutes and then decided to have dinner early. We found a really nice and cheap place that was not touristy at all yet offered traditional food.  The place was not stuffy but stylish with a bike theme: the Kolonial in Široká 25/6 across the street from the entrance to the Jewish Cemetery. We both had two beers, Michael had Goulash in a bread loaf and I had Grandmother’s hopple popple (mainly because it sounded so funny. It was potatoe dumplings with Sauerkraut, Bacon and smoked duck and very tasty) and all that for under 20€ all together. If your are looking for a place near the Jewish Cemetery I can really highly recommend this place.  Finally we walked the last kilometer home and were pretty happy to have gotten a great overview over the city in just half a day and to settled in for an early night after that much walking.

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