We’ve officially been on the road for one month now and what better way to ring in our first 30 days than a trip to Prague. My first time in this romantic city was two years ago and honestly not much has changed. I love Prague for three main reasons, the gothic architecture, hot wine and chimney cakes.
We chose to stay at the Czech Inn for our one night accommodation. Upon check in we realized we booked a 32 bed dormitory which was the last thing we wanted to hear after our full day of travel. We were fortunately able to weasel our way into getting a 4 bed private for only $4 more. Our hostel selection could’ve been a little better this time around, not because of cleanliness but for proximity to the city center. Luckily for us, Prague is a big supporter of Uber now. Getting from our hostel to Old Town Prague, a 15 minute drive cost us around $1-$1.50 a person. You just gotta love when the currency is in our favor.
Maggie and I both had already traveled to Prague two years ago and I’m lucky enough to have a sister who studied abroad there for five months a few years back. Needless to say, we had a good feel for the sights we wanted to show our two first timers. We set aside the first half day for food, Old Town and necessities like trying to find gloves.
We ate at Maggie’s favorite restaurant, Kolkovna Savarin. They serve all typical Eastern European food. Since picking just one dish off the menu is always our hardest task, we did what we do best and created one big pot luck consisting of Pilsen goulash, braised duck, a huge meat platter and many pilsners to go around.
After dinner we stopped in Old Town to see the beautiful Astronomical Clock and of course Old Town Hall. Every hour on the hour the Astronomical Clock has a show similar to that of which we saw in Munich. People from all over gather in the square with their video cameras on and watch in awe as the figurines dance in their little windows. People really do love their clock shows.
The shopping scene in Prague was a huge reason why I was so excited to return. Leather and fur are two very popular styles in the Czech Republic and when the currency is in your favor it’s only right that you take a look. If you need some places to shop in Prague, I recommend Bershka, Bata and the ever so touristy New Yorker. Unfortunately I will not be returning home with a new leather jacket or fur vest this time from Prague, but my heart will continue to belong to that Bershka rack.
We ended our first night in Prague in true Eastern European style with a chimney cake and hot mulled wine. Chimney cakes can be found on just about everyone corner in Prague. They taste similar to a churro and have a cone like structure that can be stuffed with all kinds of ingredients such as ice cream, Nutella, fruit, cream, etc. I ventured off from the traditional chimney cake this time and ordered a “Vanilla Dream.” The vanilla dream is a chimney cake stuffed with strawberries and you guessed it, vanilla cream. It was absolutely delicious!
Unbeknownst to me, Thai food is HUGE in Prague. There are so many Thai restaurants one may forget where they are, just kidding, but there are a lot. The last time I was in Prague I ate at the best restaurant near Old Town but I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of it. We all love our Thai food and have been deprived of it since we came abroad. It was only right that we spend our second day at one of the most popular Thai food restaurants in Prague, Lemon Leaf.
Lemon Leaf is another more expensive restaurant in Prague but they do have lunch specials that run a little lower than regular menu food. I finally got my fix of Pad Thai and tofu mushroom soup and was ready to venture on for the day.
Prague is a relatively small city. It’s very possible for one to see all the sights they are looking to see in Prague in just one day, which is exactly what we planned to do. On our list was, the John Lennon Wall, the Prague Castle, the Jewish Cemetery, Charles Bridge and back to the Astronomical Clock and Old Town Hall for one last hoorah.
I mentioned before that not much has changed from my last visit to Prague, but there is one thing that will continue to change every time I return to this beautiful city and that is the John Lennon Wall. The John Lennon Wall I saw two years ago was decorated very differently from the John Lennon Wall I saw two days ago. Every year the wall is wiped except for certain staple pieces like the pink and black John Lennon head. Today the wall looks like this…
Two years ago the wall looked like this…
See the difference? The John Lennon wall will always create a different experience for me in Prague and I think that’s what makes it so interesting to me. The wall will always have a different emotion, a different feeling and a different reaction linked to it from me. I can’t say that about any other piece of art. The John Lennon Wall is an absolute must see and will continue to be a must see for me every time I return to the Czech Republic.
The Prague Castle is another stunning feature of Prague. I’m obsessed with its gothic architecture and vibrant stained glass. The contrast between the two is impeccable and ranks as another must see for me when you visit Prague.
I noticed one main difference in my travels to Prague. The security around popular sights drastically increased. There were military/police officials guarding every entrance and exit. Prague has definitely taken new safety measures in outsiders viewing their main sights. Obviously this isn’t a bad thing, but the Jewish Cemetery was completely bordered with some kind of a retaining wall. Two years ago you could at least see the cemetery through the fence, this time all you saw were 8 foot tall brass colored walls. Maggie and I were extremely bummed we were unable to show our newcomers this top sight but the Charles Bridge would have to do.
The Charles bridge is the oldest bridge in Prague. The bridge has 16 arches and is lined with 30 Baroque statues of religious figures. It’s similar to most main bridges in big European cities in that it has live music and all different types of vendors. The majority of the vendors are artists who sell either their own works of Prague or popular photographs of the city. Other vendors sell jewelry, post cards and caricature drawings. The view on the bridge is great but the view of the bridge from an adjacent street is amazing.
I personally prefer to see the Astronomical Clock during the day time hours so I was very happy when we were able to make it back for one last time. Old Town has a different vibe than the rest of the city. It’s the most busy area and to me has the most vibrant life. Old Town Hall and the Astronomical Clock duo are unmatched in the city of Prague. I would say it’s the most popular sight for tourists judging by the huge crowds every time the clock strikes another hour. I can’t blame them though, I mean just look at it…
My time in Prague was short lived. If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this trip thus far it’s that you can see a city in a day, but you don’t want to. To get the full experience I say 3-4 days is key. Check out the local spots, have conversations with the native people and don’t be afraid to get lost in a city. I can’t tell you how many times I got lost in Florence only to find a new cool spot to go and hang out.
When planning my new trip back to Europe, one of the main things I’m going to focus on is spending time in each country. To get the full experience you need to immerse yourself in the experience.
In the meantime, I’m off to arguably the biggest underdog of this entire trip, Krakow.
Until next time Prague….