Happy New Year family and friends! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday and that 2015 is off to a great start! I’ve fallen behind on my blogging, but I’m determined to finish capturing our 2014 trip to Europe!
So after departing Vienna, Austria by train, we made our way to Prague, Czech Republic, which was my favorite stop on our Europe trip. We had two full days in Prague, which is a beautiful historic city with one of the most amazing cityscapes.
Prague is very touristy, but the benefit was that signage for public transportation and at nearly store and restaurant was translated into English (which wasn’t the case in Austria or Germany), and it made it very easy for us to get around.
We arrived early evening, and made our way to Grosseto Marina Ristorante, a floating barge restaurant recommended by our AirBnB host, which had great food and the most fantastic view of Prague Castle as the sun set on our first night.
Speaking of AirBnB, in Prague we rented a large, well-equipped and modern studio apartment located right in the heart of the city.
Prague is divided by the Vltava River, so we spent each of our our two days exploring a side of the river.
On our first day in the city we stayed on Prague’s west bank and explored the Castle district and Mala Strana, or the Lesser Quarter. We spent our morning walking through the perfectly manicured Italian-style Wallenstein Palace gardens and its strange wall of artificial stalactites.
We also spent several hours strolling through the gardens and courtyards at Prague Castle and the beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral.
Late afternoon we stopped into Strahov Monastery, which is famous for its magnificent library…and its craft brewery; we rested for awhile and enjoyed a pint of their blueberry seasonal beer.
Nick and I have a tendency to do a lot of two things when we travel abroad…visit churches and climb towers. The 300 steps up to Petrin Looking Tower were well worth it and offered sprawling views of Prague and its seemingly endless clay rooftops.
Nick and I were awed by the simple but moving Memorial to the Victims of Communism, where seven life-sized bronze statues depict the effects of Communism and become progressively more decayed.
We were also awed by the elaborate shrine at the Church of Our Lady Victorius.
After a full day of sightseeing, and given that it was late-September and Oktoberfest was in full swing in nearby Germany, I was excited for Nick and I to visit what was described as the city’s best and most popular biergarten, Letna Beer Garden. It was late evening and a bit chilly, so other than a few joggers in the park, there wasn’t another person in sight, which gave us a really good laugh (and then we quickly drank our beers and got the heck out of there!).
On our second day in the city, we took in the sights on the city’s east bank, wandering through the streets and stopping into stores and cafes.
A visit to Prague isn’t complete without strolling across the 500-year old Charles Bridge and admiring the tower entrance and statues that line both sides of the bridge. The bridge is swarming with street vendors and tourists and great for people watching (it’s worth a visit during the night too to see the lights of the bridge and the city).
We also stopped by the Old Jewish Cemetery, where many of Prague’s most famous resident’s are buried.
Prague is filled with impressive Gothic towers, this one is called Powder Tower and was used to store the city’s gun powder.
We also window shopped down Na Prikope Street, which is home to some of the city’s poshest stores, restaurants and cafés.
When walking through the city we noticed lots of street vendors grilling rolled dough on a large stick; these rolled sweet pastries are known as Trdelnik, which I couldn’t resist trying 🙂
We also stopped to admire and take a photo of Prague’s astronomical clock; at 600-plus years old it’s the oldest astronomical clock still in use in the world.
After another full day of sightseeing, we ended our evening at the Pivovarsky Klub Restaurant and beer gallery (the walls of the entire restaurant were filled with beers from all around the world), where we relaxed for awhile over a plate of local cheeses and a few beers produced by the near microbrewery.
And with that, our time in Prague was over. The next morning we headed to the train station for the final leg of our journey to Munich, Germany.
I’ll leave you with this final photo of two street performers, with one levitating above the other, who we came across during our walking tour through Wencelas Square, one of Prague’s most popular tourist areas. Me = mind blown!