30th March-April 6th
30.03.2013 - 06.04.2013
Day 5: Wednesday 3rd April 2013:
So yesterday I left the hostel around 9:30am and headed for Namesti Republiky, via Celetna which seems a quite tacky tourist street which is a shame as it is the main street that connects the two squares together. Anyway I found the yellow kiosk ready for the 2 and a half hour Jewish Walking tour, our guide was very knowledgeable on the whole history of the Jewish religion in general and gave us interesting information about the Jewish population specifically in Prague, we seen three synagogues which were very interesting as I had never been into a synagogue before and was nice to see how it contrasts with a christian church. We also seen the Old Jewish Cemetery where nobody has been buried for over 200 years, you could see all the old graves and tombs and the higher the grave was it meant generations of families were buried on top of one another, also we viewed the oldest synagogue in Prague from the outside which was still very medieval and on the medieval street level. Overall a interesting tour, however I would of liked some more recent information about the Jewish population of Prague in World War II ect, but still a recommended tour to do.
After the tour around 12:30pm I headed to Prague Zoo, which was quite easy to get too. The zoo itself isn't the largest but is still interesting and had some animals/reptiles I had never seen before. It has a few quite steep walkways and so you get hot and tired quite easily, so unfortunately I didn't make it all the way round the zoo but stopped in the restaurant which was nice and good value for money. I then took a ride on the chairlift which takes you up the steepest part of the zoo and you can view the layout of the zoo from the ride, the ride itself was pretty scary but nice at the same time, after this I realised in fact I had seen the most interesting parts and so decided to head back into Prague. This would be a fun day out for a family in Prague and I loved it!
I also crossed the road over to Troja Chateau which was much more beautiful in real life, I took some pictures and then got the bus.
Once back in Prague I walked around the streets surrounding Karlova and Husova just off Charles Bridge and bought some gifts. I then visited the City Of Prague Museum, it was quite interesting with some good pieces of information and some good exhibits, it also houses the Langweil's model of Prague and cardboard model of the city of Prague back in the Medieval times, which was really interesting to see, you also then view a 3D film where you appear to be walking through the streets of the model which was really good, I would only recommend visiting here if you have more than a few days in Prague, as most of the information you can pick up from places around the city. By this time it was around 6pm so I went to drop things back at the hostel before walking up Pariszka to Cechuv Most where I boarded the Bohemia boat for a 3 hour river cruise on the Vltava. It was extremely beautiful passing under Charles Bridge and there was a old style jazz band playing which added to the atmosphere. Also included was a unlimited buffet of hot and cold food such as Chicken and port schnitzels, chips, meatballs, goulash, rice, salad, cheese, and desserts. The food was hot and very nice. I also went up on the top deck to take some photos but by this time it was very cold. I would strongly recommend doing a river cruise, they are beautiful, relaxing and very atmospheric.
After this around 10:00pm I went back to the hostel stopping for Trdelnik on the way.
Day 6: Thursday 4th April 2013:
So yesterday I left the hostel around 9:30am and headed for Kralovstvi Zeleznic, a model railway, I love things like this as it is something different, anyway after realising the tram number 12 didn't run from where it was stated I had to walk to Metro B and get off at Andel, the place is only around a 5 minute walk from the Andel metro, but when I arrived at Kralovstvi Zeleznic, it happened to be closed to the public for the morning which was really disappointing but I didn't mind too much as I had already seen the one in Berlin which is much bigger, so after this bad start to the day I headed back to Old Town and to the Choco-Story Museum situated on Celetna. There was a man outside who gave me a voucher for a bag of free sweets. The museum was surprisingly really interesting, with easy to read information in the right quantities without being boring and really good exhibits, also included in the price is a free chocolate demonstration which shows you how they make truffle type chocolate and then you get to taste one which were really nice, I personally loved this small museum and it was a fun side trip to all the sadder, historic things I have been doing, so I would really recommend this museum, it only takes around half an hour-45 minutes to get around so doesn't take too much time out of the day.
After here I walked up to Namesti Republiky and had a quick look around before it was time to depart with the tour to Kutna Hora, about an hours drive away from Prague a small mining village on a mountain. It was beautiful, first we visited the Sedlec Ossuary which is a church completely decorated by human bones, some of which still had war wounds on them, very interesting and very cold inside, after here we went to St. Barbora's cathedral, personally I am not too interested in cathedrals and churches ect, but this was beautiful, both inside and out! We then walked across the replica of Charles Bridge into the historical quarter where we viewed the Plague Column, right next to this was a cordoned off area, which turned out too be where a mine shaft had completely collapsed taken half the square with it!, After the square we took a tour around the beautiful Italian Court, the chapel and the mint, which was very interesting. After this it was time to go back to Prague, a very quick visit of around 4 hours but definitely worth it! I would off loved to go down into the silver mines but they are not open this time of year.
We got back to Prague around 6pm and so I had a walk around the shops surrounding Melantrichova and having a hot dog, trdelnik and hot chocolate in the Square before returning to my hostel for an early night ready to depart for Cesky Krumlov the next morning.
Day 7: Friday 5th April 2013:
I got up a little after 5am and left the hostel at 6am, it was still dark and hardly no one around, there was a few people though which was good or I would have probably have been scared entering the metro alone with just a few beggars outside, but once inside the metro it was reasonably busy. I got to Na Knizeci around 6:15am, so was really early for my coach to Cesky Krumlov which was due to leave at 7am, but better early than late! . The coach was comfortable, magazines, newspapers and a film was available as entertainment but in Czech only, they also served free hot drinks which was great. The journey is a little under 3 hours, and it went really fast. Once in Cesky Krumlov the weather was completely different from Prague , with quite a lot of snow still on the ground, it was really cold, gloomy and spitting with rain. The main town square is around a 5-10minute walk from the bus station. On the way to the square there are amazing views over the small, medieval town which were beautiful. I walked to the square and seen the Plague Column, then walked up Radnici and stopped at the Marionette Museum, which was just fascinating, a large collection of marionettes from all different types and years. It was great although didn't take long to get round. After this I walked up to the castle which still has some extremely medieval features and you can feel the oldness of it in the atmosphere which was great. I bought a ticket for the tower only as I had just missed the tours that go around the castle, the tower has lots of uneven wooden steps with wobbly rails which was scary but yet again added to the atmosphere of the place. The views from the top were amazing and I took some pictures before heading back down as it was really windy and cold. Unfortunately the bears weren't in the moat and the dungeons weren't open for some reason so after around an hour walking round the castle and surrounding grounds I headed back to the main centre of the town. As I was only here for around 5 hours I didn't want to wander to far down the backstreets in case I got lost as there weren't many people around and if I got lost I was scared to of asked someone for directions and them not speak English. If I had been there in summer overnight it would of been perfect, such a beautiful little town and well worth the trip. I then had lunch at a small restaurant, I can't think off it's name without looking at my notes I think it may of been U Hroznu or something along them lines, anyway it was great value for money and the food was delicious! After this I went and sat by the river watching some people thatch a roof with wooden tiles. I then had a walk around the streets surrounding the square and bought a few presents. By this time it was time to head back to the bus station. A quick visit and I would of loved more time to explore if the weather had been warmer but in all honesty I couldn't wait to get back on the bus because it was really cold. But a amazing beautiful, medieval town, definitely worth a visit!
On the way back the journey wasn't quite as comfortable due to a really large man sitting next to me and resting half his belly on my leg, every time we turned a corner he would fall on me and his belly would wobble against me, also every time he moved his arms I got gassed by this sickening smell of sweaty body odour, it seriously was not nice. It was that I have anything against large people it's just that he didn't have any respect as he spread his legs out so one of his legs were on my side and I was forced to have to sit half way up the window ledge, whilst he was sat quite comfortably taking up a seat and a half!
Anyway once back in Prague I had a walk around getting some last presents before going back to the hostel to freshen up from the bus experience and headed to U Pavouka Medieval Restaurant on Celetna. It was a historical fantasy show and it was amazing! Really, really good! Worth every penny! I even tried some food I had never tried before, yes it's touristy but it is great quality and you will love it! There are various actors including pirates, belly dancers with snakes and fire and the best part was the medieval band itself, just their energy alone, the music was great and the way they moved was fantastic! It is called Historical Fantasy Show, so don't come here expecting a history lesson, it is purely for fun, and all the waiters ect are in medieval attire, such a great evening to end a great week! You also get opportunities to have your photo taken with the pirates and the snake. It was just great! I would highly recommend this to anybody going to Prague as a night of fun! On the way back to the hostel I walked by a man playing music from wine glasses, he had them all on a table with a liquid that appeared to be gas inside them, anyway it was really good, top quality music!
Day 8: Saturday 6th April 2013:
So yesterday I got up around 8:30am to get ready and packed my suitcase up, I left the hostel, leaving my cases in the luggage room around 10am and walked up to the Staromestska tram stop, except they wasn't running due to the Czech marathon, so instead I walked up to the Castle District via Nerudova Street which is pretty steep but it is a lovely street. The weather was a little humid, the type were you get really hot if you walk but cold if you sit down, so that was irritating. On the way up I stopped at the Wallenstein Gardens to see the 'drippy wall', apparently the longer you stare at it the more creatures you see like gargoyles, snakes, dragons ect but I couldn't see any! There was also a very pretty bird of which species I had never seen before randomly dead in the middle of the path which was sad to see.
After reaching the top I headed to the Museum Of Miniatures Museum, which was small but very interesting and different. It is a museum of microscopic art i.e a picture of Jesus on a poppy seed, a flea holding various items and trains on a hair, you have to look through the microscope to see them and they are quite amazing, it was only 70 or 80czk to get in, so reasonably priced compared to some other museums and such in Prague, but yes it is worth a visit if you are in the Castle area.
After this I walked down to the Castle and bought a hot chocolate whilst waiting for the Changing Of The Guards Ceremony. I had been stood waiting for over half an hour and all people could do the whole time was push and shove which is expected at things like that. The ceremony was very nice and royal and lasted around 10-15 minutes. Afterwards I entered the castle courtyards and St.Vitus cathedral is just breath taking considering I'm not interested in Cathedrals much. I was planning on doing the long visit ticket at Prague Castle but I was tired and hot after all the pushing and shoving and generally getting quite annoyed at people, so I chose the short visit ticket, which included entrance to St.Vitus Cathedral, St George Basilica, Golden Lane and a palace I think. I went to the first three. Golden Lane is such a quaint little historic street, and the houses are set up to replicate their original set up which was nice to see. There are also a few shops in some of them.
In between the Basilica and Golden Lane I took a quick detour down a road between the two to the Toy Museum or Museum Hracek, 2 floors of old, antique and slightly more modern toys and collections, really brings childhood memories back, includes things like dolls, bears, trains, mechanical toys, Barbies, army, Star Wars ect. Also in the courtyard in front of the museum was a strange statue of a man with a golden penis.
After this I decided to head back down into Old Town as it was around 2pm. I got a hot dog on the way down and then went to sit in Old Town Square, I then took the walk to the cheapest Absinthe shop I could find and purchased a bottle for around 290czk. After I had exactly 50czk left and just enough to buy one last Trdelnik, yum! I was going to use the rest of the afternoon for any last shopping, but seeing as I had no money left I didn't feel like walking round, so I just people watched in Old Town Square till around 4pm when I went back to the hostel to get my cases and quickly ensure everything was packed ok. Afterwards I went and waited around half an hour for my airport transfer via Prague Airport Shuttle, on time, reliable, great value for money, highly recommended! So around 5:15pm I headed for the airport leaving Prague behind me. Such and amazing week, I feel I have succeeded in making my trip a mix between both culture, fun, history and experience, I have loved every minute of it and hope I will come back to Prague one day after exploring a few other countries first.
Please see my YouTube Channel for all my videos from this trip- http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTlPcT9mu3v1OVkAmRoBs4A
My main highlights of my trip include:
The IMAGE Theatre,
The Choco-Story Museum,
U Pavouka Medieval Dinner Show
and of course Trdelnik!
National Express Coach-Nottingham to Heathrow-Left: 23:25, Arrived: 2:30
Sat inside Heathrow for five hours with two nice women and hot chocolate!
British Airways-Heathrow to Vaclav-Havel-Left: 7:15, Arrived 10:15
British Airways-Vaclav-Havel-Heathrow-Left: 19:40, Arrived: 20:40
National Express Coach-Heathrow to Nottingham-Left: 22:30, Arrived: 1:15
Prague was a beautiful city rich in culture, history and fun! I really enjoyed my week spent here in the Czech lands and hope I can carry my experiences learned onto future trips!
I will be going to Paris in August, preparations now underway!