A Long Weekend In Prague

Apologies for the brief silence over the past few days. Busy days with lots of walking left one feeling rather drained, consequently lacking the motivation to blog.

After a 15 hour bus journey from Copenhagen to Prague (Admittedly more trying for my friend as I got a fair bit more sleep than him), we arrived in Prague around mid-morning on Friday. From the bus station we made our way to our hostel, Hostel Orange, a smaller but no less excellent establishment with friendly staff. We dumped our bags in the free luggage storage and set off exploring Prague.

We made our way across river, onto the side of Prague Castle, were we had a brief wander round. We then unknowingly crossed back over the famous Charles bridge, a crossing adorned with several large statues of the Stations of the Cross. The impact of the bridge was somewhat overshadowed by the vast number of tourist traps that littered the bridge. It is apparently best to visit fairly early in the morning or in the evening. We then headed back to the hostel to check-in and take some much needed R&R.

Charles Bridge

After dinner, we had a wonder around the streets near Wenceslas Square. We eventually came to a stop at what the establishment described itself as a “Typical Czech Restaurant”. As someone who doesn’t really drink alcohol, I wasn’t really interested in the beer side of the Czech Republic. My order of soft drinks did prompt a rather mild surprise from our waiter as a result. After a couple of drinks and some potato croquettes we headed back to the hostel.

We had a relatively late start on the Saturday, our walking tour, starting at 11:00, allowing for this. Though I’m a big fan of Sandeman’s New Europe Tours, we decided to go with a company who seemed more attuned to our age group, a company called Banana Free Walking Tours.

It’s safe to say it was an excellent decision. Dan, our tour guide, was fantastic, balancing an excellent wit with the ability to sober one’s thoughts with his recollections of the Czech Republic’s past, it’s most recent history in particular striking a cord personally. Not only did he provide and excellent historical account of nation I knew fairly little about but he also had great advice for staying in Prague, such as avoiding buying anything in tourist heavy zones as you need but walk a couple of streets away to find the same stuff at a cheaper price. I would recommend it to everyone but in particular to those on a budget.

After our tour we headed back to the hostel to relax for a little bit before heading off to a huge park near the top of the of city. Recommended by Dan, we settled down to watch England V Belgium in the third place play-off. Now admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of football. However the atmosphere at the park bar was immensely enjoyable. Well, it was until some of English supporters decided to throw beer at the Belgian supporters following the result. A disappointing to end to what had otherwise been a brilliant day.

Sunday marked our last full day in Prague. We made our way to Prague Castle which, if you weren’t aware, lies at the top of a fairly substantial hill, a fact that we most definitely felt upon reaching the castle.

We approached the castle from a slightly more alternative direction, cutting through the Royal Garden. This proved to be a solid move as we were able to skip the major queue around the front of the castle. We had a bit of a wander around the castle, effectively a self-contained village. It was fairly busy but no less enjoyable.

Prague Castle

After 40 minutes or so of wandering we steadily made our way back to the hostel to drop off valuables. Along the way we purchased some Trdelník, a sort of stretched out ring doughnut with cinnamon and walnut flavouring. It was rather good but I would recommend purchasing it with a filling of some kind. They aren’t too bad on their own but they were just a touch dry.

After dropping our valuables back at the hostel, we made our way to the river. Once there, we hired and pedlo and meandered along the river for an hour. I was admittedly a little bit nervous of something going wrong, not helped by the “accidental” passing of a plastic bottle through the turbine causing the boat to stop moving for a little bit, but it ended up being a fantastic experience. We got some great views of the city as well as some adorable ducklings, all for a relatively inexpensive price.

We ended our stay in Prague with a viewing of the World Cup Final. We attempted getting back into where we were the night before but it was crazy busy, the cheering audible a good 300-500 metres away (Before the match had even started!). We instead settled for our hostel which, though initially quiet, proved itself to be almost as fun.

Our departure from the city the following morning was a lot less enjoyable but that’s a story for my next post. If you have any thoughts or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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