A flight, bus and metro would take us into Prague, our next destination. Early impressions of the city were filled with gorgeous architecture, heaps of tourists following someone with a rubber duck (or something equally as obnoxious) on a stick and a very crowded Charles Bridge. We settled into Hostel Mango, happy to find a nice outdoor common space for us to relax as well as a basement cave that included our kitchen area.
There are plenty of touristy attractions to keep you busy in Prague – the Prague Castle naturally is top of the list, as it is one of the largest ancient castles in the world. Its’ gardens and grounds are absolutely beautiful; Bry would advise you take the north entrance or actually any entrance where you avoid the massive staircase! St Vitus Cathedral is inside the Castle and the royal gardens housed some beautiful owls on display that we stumbled upon happily on our way to Letenské Park. We stopped in the park for a picnic lunch and people watching before making our way to the Letná beer garden, where although no one spoke English, we managed to grab a few rounds of local beers.
Other big tourist attractions were the Lennon Wall, the Kafka museum and the renowned Astronomical Clock nestled in Old Town. The Clock is currently under renovations but it doesn’t stop the crowds. In fact, nothing stops the crowds in Prague; so my greatest advice about this city is get up early, I mean REALLY early, if you want to see anything without a massive amount of people around you. 5am suited me just fine and I loved my early morning walk through the city, enjoying a quiet cup of coffee in the Senate gardens at Wallenstein Palace before it was overwhelmed by groups of walking tours. Fun to note, the peacocks in the gardens are not scared by crowds. Yes, peacocks.
We were really happy to spend more than a few days in Prague as it gave us an opportunity to meet tons of travelers but most importantly find some hidden gems in the city that are absolutely worth checking out. Without a doubt it is worth locating as many of David Cerny’s installations as you can in Prague! His controversial and provocative works include pissing men (that actually write out your own text message), embryos, hanging men, a headless Kafka and many more.
Also, we happened to find our favorite beer thus far of our trip in Prague at this little brewery in the monastery below Petrín Hill (another recommended early morning adventure). Besides a ridiculously large and cheap omelet, Klášterní Pivovar had an incredible IPA, After offering us a warm tasting of the wort they were currently brewing, Jan Martinka, their brewmaster, introduced us to the three man crew that brews, bottles and individually labels their own beer. Although its a bit of a hike either to the tower or up through wineries to get there, it is 100% worth the trip. Other honorable mentions for fun experiences in Prague are hitting the Absintherie for a full education, hiking up to Zizkov television tower (I went because it was near Beer Geek, a store that helped solve my quest for my beer passport), or hitting the tons and tons of museums, memorials and monuments throughout the city.
Prague was always high on my list to visit and although there were many highlights, both Bry and I were really excited to escape the city and head to our next and more remote destination in Czech Republic. We did ultimately leave Prague with an exciting takeaway – our new Aussie mate Gemma, who we happened to meet on our last night at the hostel after she just arrived from a few weeks in India. Turns out, Prague was only the beginning of a great friendship of travelers that continues to unfold!
One last look at Prague, because this city is truly beautiful.
Na zdraví – Ciara