It was a long but pleasant train ride to our next city, Prague (Praha), helped by the fact that we were booked in and not scrambling for seats and also because we were sitting in a Harry Potter-esque train carriage along with two pairs of travellers with whom we got along with really well. One pair were friends from Belfast and the other were cousins from Ecuador so we had plenty to talk about regarding our travels so far and the countries we all came from. When we arrived in Prague, after experiencing some beautiful Czech mountainsides, we all teamed up to go and buy our tickets for the next leg of our trip and also try and figure out the exchange system (this was the one country, other than the UK, that we were visiting that did not use Euros).
We sadly all split up after figuring out how to navigate the metro to our respective hotels, but it was fun to be in a team for a little while. Kind of like how forming an alliance on the Amazing Race gives you a little bit of extra security. Our hotel was in an amazing location, situated just underneath the Prague Castle on an old cobbled road lined with restaurants and bars. Unfortunately it was also up a rather steep hill, so what would normally only take a couple of minutes took us plus our suitcases at least half an hour, and nearly killed me. The beautiful room made up for the walk, the cheap prices in Prague compared to the other countries we had visited meant we could afford our only 3 star hotel. Living it up!
We soaked up the comfort briefly before eating some very delicious food at a little Czech pub where the only waiter present had the worst service I had every experienced. So much so that it was funny. I had read that people can be brusque in Prague, but this was a whole other level of hating ones job. He even sat and ate cereal whilst people sat waiting for service. It was pretty funny and luckily the food and beer was ridiculously cheap (about $1.60NZ for a pint of beer). I can’t say we left him a tip though.
The next day we started off with an exploration of the huge castle grounds (i still don’t know how to pronounce the name of the castle, Prazky Hrad?) . There was so much to see, from the amazing cathedral to the incredible lane of ridiculously tiny medieval houses. The gardens were also beautiful, and not just because of their incredible views over the city. After the castle we wandered down to the vegan restaurant near our hotel that I had been eagerly eyeing earlier. What followed was one of my favourite meals so far, the most incredible vegan burger and organic beer, with smoky bacon (made of something non balcony), vegan smoked cheese and a soy aioli that was to die for.
With bellies rather full we strolled down, across the Charles bridge to take a look at the old part of the city. We made a slight detour to visit the ginger bread museum, I don’t really like ginger bread but the notion was too cute to pass up. Charles bridge and the old medieval part of the city were beautiful but understandably busy and packed full of tourists. It was good to see but it was a welcome relief to grab a beer down beside the river at a little outdoor bar where a guy was doing a solo gig. I think that was my favourite part of the day, sitting in the shade and watching people in little boats on the river. Listening to a guy try to sing songs in a language he couldn’t really pronounce (but he had a damn fine voice!).
I am only partially ashamed to say that after an afternoon of wandering around Prague we eventually crawled up the hill towards the castle again, to return to the same vegan restaurant to eat dinner…well at least we didn’t order the same food! If we had been there for any longer than a day I am quite confident I would have tried every dish. We ended the evening up at the castle looking out over the castle as darkness crept over and the lights of Prague came on.
Prague is an exceptionally beautiful city, busy with tourists for a reason (not just because it is so cheap!). It was a taste of something different, and I loved it.
1. Arriving in Prague and loving the view
2. But I wasn’t alone in this
3. Quite possibly the nicest location for a Starbucks
4. The cathedral at the castle
5. And it’s beautiful stained glass
6. Not so bad from the outside either
7. Can’t get enough
8. The golden lane at the castle
9. And yet another view
10. I don’t care of you eat meat or not but if in Prague make sure you eat here
11. Cause this burger may have changed my life. For a moment at least
12. Gingerbread museum was more of a giant gingerbread shop
13. Charles Bridge
14. Riverside beer
15. And the creepiest statues we came across in our trips