I had always wanted to visit Prague, but it was one of those trips that for one reason or another I always ended up postponing. When this year I considered where to go on vacation, it seemed to me, after touring the capitals of Western Europe, to travel to Eastern Europe. However, years ago this destination was sold a lot as a package encompassing Prague, Budapest and Vienna.
The chosen date was the month of October to spend an autumn in Prague. The fundamental thing is that the tourist marabunta has already passed. Prague is full of tourists all year round, but at least in October we can walk, for example by the Charles Bridge and enjoy the fall colours.
For this reason, it seems normal to write about my vacation in that wonderful city, hoping that my blog can help you if Prague becomes the destination of your future vacations, something you will not regret. Being clear that I only wanted to visit Prague, I went to the travel agency to book the flight and the hotel.
When I arrived at the airport it was about noon. I arrived at the Airline counters and after waiting in line to check the bag I was able to eat something and rest until my flight left at 2:10 pm. We landed around 4:40 after a flight without problems. After picking up my suitcase I went to the exit where my driver was waiting for me with a placard with my surname.
The route was about 30 minutes. While I was alone with the driver I exchanged a few words in English, deriving the conversation in matters of climatology and football. A couple of times the phone interrupted the conversation. I ended up commenting that it was forbidden to talk on the cell phone while driving.
Finally, it was a little after 5:00 pm when he left me at the hotel where, after completing the check in, the receptionist gave me the key to the room. The single room that they gave me on the first floor was nice with everything that corresponds. My room retained the original wooden beams ceiling, decorated with paintings.
There is a wardrobe for clothes, table and chair, mini-bar, television with international channels and a bathroom with a shower instead of a bathtub. Inside the closet there was a very small security box where I could only leave documents, jewelry and money. It was opened with a key, not with a code, having to ask for the key at the reception.
From what I read the building was already used as an inn in the Middle Ages for travelers there who arrived in Prague when the gates of the city were closed. After unpacking the luggage and resting for a while, I left the hotel to change for Czech Crowns first, since I had not done it in the airport. The temperature was mild.
On the way I can admire the Powder Tower, the old gateway to the city and the municipal house that is located right next to the tower. I followed the Celetna street until it ended at the square of the old city full of traveling artists and above all tourists. I was impressed by the amount of people that there were, all wandering between the astronomical Clock Tower, the statue to Jan Hus and the Tyn Church and St Nicholas Church.
After recovering the blow I left the square to approach the exchange office located on Kaprova Street, right next to the square. I went with a coupon, which I had printed on their website and I showed it to one of the employees along with the money I wanted to change. With the feeling of being rich I followed the Kaprova street to the river where I came across the Rudolfinum which is a concert hall.
From here there is a nice view of the castle as well as the Charles Bridge. From the Rudolfinum, I continued north and then turned right into the neighborhood of Josefov. Here I wandered without really knowing where I was going until I reached Revolucni street. I continued south until I found the municipal house again and the Powder Tower.
I go back to hotel to leave part of the money changed in the safe and with the right amount I went to find a restaurant to dine. I order the typical goulash and a small beer. Finally I return to the hotel to sleep as the day had been long.
Today's program included a couple of visits to get to know the history of the city better because I sincerely admit that little I knew about the country was about the contemporary era. After breakfast at 7:30 I headed for the City of Prague Museum, which was located about 10 minutes from the hotel. Another advantage is that at this time the streets are practically deserted with neither tourists nor natives.
The museum is in a Renaissance style building and inside it was forbidden to take pictures. One of its rooms is dedicated to the prehistoric era where I can see why the first settlements were formed. Another couple of rooms are dedicated to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance with the presence of many objects.
I can notice the role that the city had at the economic and commercial level to be an important crossroad. Many pieces also reflect daily life as well as religion. Finally I ended up in the last room. The truth the samples of the objects present are interesting and helps to understand the development of the city. The explanations are in Czech and in English.
I see a 3D film in a room in the basement of the museum that lasts about 5 minutes and they provide the glasses. It is a different way of seeing the city since it starts by the square of the old city, crossing the Charles Bridge and ending in the castle. The camera alternates from the sky to walks through the streets. Perhaps only for that reason it is worth paying the 100 crowns for the show.
At around 11:00 hours the visit was over. I made the decision to go to visit the Museum of Communism that I had planned for another day. It was not very big. I walked the opposite way, returning to the hotel and from there take Na Prikope street until I reach the museum. The museum is located in a building that shares the first floor with a casino.
The place looked like a renovated apartment. However, I must admit that the visit seemed interesting to me. Each room is dedicated to a specific theme from education, agriculture, factories, border guard, secret police, Prague Spring and the fall of the communist regime. The information panels are in Czech, English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, which is appreciated and makes the visit more pleasant.
It is the only thing I see in Prague from the communist era and taking it easy I went through it in 45 minutes, reading almost all the information. After that I went to eat and I went to the hotel to take a break and rest knowing that in the afternoon I would be walking a lot.
At 2:00 I was at the corner between the Old Town Square and Parizka Street (there is a Cartier store and a Tourist Office), where the organizers and guides were already present. They are easily recognizable by their red T-shirts carrying even a huge red umbrella.
What I see is that next door there were a couple of people wearing yellow t-shirts that also promoted visits. I suppose that the competition at a tourist level is quite strong in Prague. After speaking to them we were separated by two groups. After briefly introducing us, the guide took us to the center of the square where he began his explanation of the city.
He starts with the parents of Charles IV to continue with his son and the golden age of the city since Charles IV became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He made Prague the capital of the empire. Taking advantage of the statue dedicated to Jan Hus and the church of Tyn we are told about the Hussite movement that was important in these lands with the first defenestration.
Then we went to the Clock Tower, where he explained the reason for the different figures located around the instrument. 15 minutes before the peak time, the place is full of people looking at the clock. After a little more than an hour standing in the square we go down Zelezna Street until we reach the Karolinum, a building created as a university by Charles IV.
Only one tower is left of the original facade that faces the theater of the states, with a statue at its doors. At this stop, the guide told us about the stay of Mozart in Prague where Don Giovanni wrote, as well as a brief exhibition about Karolinum.
For the profane, I will say that it is not a Nazgul of the Lord of the Rings or a dementor of Harry Potter or Darth Sidious of Star Wars. It is the Commendatore of the Don Giovanni opera, a work that was being performed, those days, in the theater of the states.
From there we continue to Wenceslas Square with another stop and the corresponding explanation of the place. The fact that it was an old market clarified the impressive measures of the square. It was a place of meeting of the population both during the Prague Spring and the fall of the communist regime.
We continue the tour through Na Prikope street, today a very commercial street until we reach the Powder Tower and the municipal house. Here we made another stop with an explanation of both places. After that we walked to Masna street where we made a stop. There, the guide took the opportunity to explain the other tours offered, since in that street, inside a bar cum restaurant they have a counter.
After half an hour of rest to recover our strength we went to the old Jewish quarter, called Josefov in honor of King Jose. There we stopped in front of the statue dedicated to Franz Kafka, near the Spanish Synagogue. The guide explained the origin of the statue as well as the synagogue.
We continue to the Old New Synagogue going on to learn the legend of the golem of Rabbi Loew and we approach the Jewish cemetery. Both the entrance to the different synagogues and the cemetery are for a fee, so we stayed at the doors. The cemetery is in fact behind a wall and almost not seen. The guide recommended that it was an interesting place to visit.
Finally we finished the tour, after walking and standing almost all afternoon, in the Rudolfinum, a Renaissance building that houses a concert hall but during the World War II. It was the seat of Reinhard Heydrich, member of the Nazi SS. From here he ruled on the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, name given by the third Reich to the Czech part of the country.
It was around 6:30 or so when we finished. At that time I still wanted to see something being close to the Vltava. I happened to go to the Kampa island in the Czech countryside. I cross the Manesuv bridge to enter the neighborhood of Mala Strana and following the river bank I reach the place.
I enter in the courtyard of the museum dedicated to Franz Kafka to take some photos of the monument located there. I pass in front of the wall dedicated to John Lennon, a street animated by the performance of a street artist. I reach the Legii bridge, and take the vitezna street until I reach the foot of the Petrin hill.
I had considered the possibility of climbing it to take pictures of the city and see the replica of the Eiffel Tower. I discard at that time by tiredness. I take some pictures of the sculptures that are there and that represents, as they told me, the dehumanization of the person as he climbs the rungs of power.
From there I went to the Jiraskuv bridge with the intention of seeing and taking pictures of the Dancing House, or Fred and Ginger, a contemporary building architecturally speaking. Finally I went back to the hotel, which from there had a long road and in fact in the long half hour that evening it was night. On the way I buy a pizza and a little bottle of Becherovka, the typical liqueur of the country.