Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Prague Travel Diary

Prague. The Czech Republic's beautiful capital. It's always been on my radar, however, it was never really near the top of my list. But when Becky and I were looking for somewhere to visit, the flights were cheap and conveniently timed. And so I found myself jetting off for two-day mini break. I went to Prague knowing two things: beautiful architecture and cheap booze. We picked a hotel and booked the trip. Becky arrived about 2 hours before me so she was waiting at the hotel by the time I arrived. 


My plane landed at around 5pm and then I got the airport express bus to the city centre. This was really easy, I bought a ticket from the information desk inside the arrivals department. It's 44 CZK if you busy inside the airport or 60 CZK if you buy it from the bus driver. They give change. From there, it took about half an hour to drive to Prague's large train station. This location was perfect for me, as it was only a 10 minute walk from our hotel, the EA Hotel Julis.



I went to meet Becky at our hotel and we checked out the room/relaxed for a little bit before we went out for dinner. Our room was much larger than we thought it would be and it even had its own little kitchen area. We also had a little balcony that looked over the city which was a nice touch. However, the hotel was advertised on Hotels.com as having a pool, the pool was actually not free for hotel guests and cost 200 CZK which is about £7. We didn't actually end up going but we were a bit disappointed by that.


For dinner, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. This isn't my usual scene, I've never actually eaten at one before but Becky likes to go whenever she is in a new city and try their local burger. And I figured I better try one at some point. I had the bbq pulled pork sandwich which was nice and I really enjoyed their strawberry basil lemonade. And the England vs Columbia game was on. I was obviously supporting Columbia and Becky, England.



After dinner, we walked out to the Charles Bridge which is probably the most crowded place we visited during our time in Prague. It was a good time to visit as the sun was just setting and it looked very beautiful. After that, we just went back to our hotel to rest for our first full day in Prague.



The statue of Franz Kafka was really near our hotel so it was the first thing we checked out in the morning. It's the shape of a face but parts of it spin around. The mirrored surface makes it really beautiful to just fit and watch.





Our next port of call was the sex machines museum. I know this will obviously not be to everyone's taste but we thought it was a good laugh and a good way to keep out of the heat. And with student tickets only being 150 CZK could we really pass it up? I think not.




After we had finished at the museum, we went to the main square to have a drink and cool down. Unfortunately, the astronomical clock was under construction so not open to the public. I was a little gutted about this but that's the thing about travelling, it doesn't always go to plan. Thankfully, there were lots of lovely things to view instead. 


We'd also planned on going to the Klementinum which has a beautiful library and viewing tower. Unfortunately, the tickets were actually pretty expensive when we got there and with the lift not working and there being no photography allowed, we decided we'd rather do another viewing platform instead. We walked around to find somewhere for lunch and ended up in Kolonial. I had pumpkin soup and their homemade 'chips' (crisps) which was really filling and the perfect lunch portion. Becky had carbonara which she really enjoyed. The restaurant was really dark and cool which was perfect for getting out the afternoon sun. And the meal wasn't too expensive either so we made a very good decision.


After lunch, we walked around the area known as the Jewish Quarter to check out the architecture and then went to the Mucha museum. Mucha is one of my favourite artists so it was great to see his work and to learn a little more about his life. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed inside the museum but we took some pictures outside! We went back to the hotel to relax a little before heading out again.




Because we decided not to do the library tower we decided we would go up the old town hall/astronomical clock tower instead which was still open despite the construction around the clock. We booked our tickets online which allowed us to skip the queue. And there were elevators so we didn't have to do any climbing! The view over the city was absolutely stunning! I was so glad that we did this! We went around 5:30 which was perfect in terms of it still being light but not glaringly so.




Then we decided to do a boat trip after having done one in Riga and really enjoyed it. Honestly, the boat that we picked looked a little run down but at 250 CZK we couldn't really pass it up. The tour was given in English, Russian and Czech but unfortunately as we were sitting towards the back of the boat we couldn't really here it over the engine of the boat. That being said, we were quite happy to enjoy the views.




After we got off the boat we had dinner at Marina Ristorante which is a restaurant inside an old converted riverboat. The meal was delicious and the view from the boat was fantastic. We thought it looked really expensive so we almost wrote it off but it was actually really reasonably well priced. The sun was setting as we ate which made for some gorgeous golden hour light.


In the morning we got a metro and a pram to the Prague castle. The public transport in Prague is really cheap and easy to use. There are a few options for tickets but we went for the one that allowed us entry to the cathedral and 3 other sights. It also said a photography license was required so we bought one but to be honest, nobody checked and everyone was taking photos anyway so this was a waste of money.




The St Vitus Cathedral was absolutely stunning, home to many wonderful stained glass windows. Including one by Mucha! You can get into a small section of the cathedral without a ticket, however, to access the whole thing you will need a ticket.


Another part of the castle grounds I really enjoyed, Golden Lane. This is a little area of the castle ground where they have some old style houses to view. And lots of medieval armour which I always find fascinating. I would not like to be wearing all that heavy stuff! 


We also popped by the John Lennon wall. I honestly wasn't too fussed about seeing this but it was near the castle so it was fun to go and have a look at.



We had our last meal in a restaurant around the corner from the John Lennon wall. I had some gnocchi with a beautifuk, creamy sauce and Becky had a Czech trout dish. We loved the decor in this place, it was really quirky. Unfortunately, I don't know the same and can't find it on google maps.


After that, it was time for me to go back to the hotel and pick up my bag before going to the airport. But I couldn't leave without trying a chimney cake. These things are all over the city! Honestly, it was a little too rich for me and I could have done with it being smaller or sharing it. I have no idea how people eat ones full of ice cream!

I really enjoyed my time in Prague, it is a truly amazing and gorgeous city. I'm so glad we went!

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