So for my annual trip I decided to visit Prague with my mom. Prague has been on the top of my very extensive “Places I Want to Visit” list for it’s beauty and for all of the good things I’ve heard about this place. In this post I will show you pictures of the sites we visited and not feature the food because they will have their own individual write-ups. So I hope you enjoy the pictures!
On the first day we were there we just decided to walk around the area and just see whatever catches our attention. We eventually ended up at The Old Town Square where the famous Astronomical Clock is. We saw that people could go to the top of the tower and decided to check it out. After paying for the tickets, we were given instructions on where to go to find the elevators to get to the top. The instructions were on a small piece of paper and while I was reading it, I felt like I was in The Amazing Race and I had just gotten my clue. Anyways, we found the elevator that takes you to the top and I was very surprised to see how cool it looked. It was so cool seeing such modern technology and design in such an old structure. As you may have noticed, the two pictures are the same. I just thought that making a copt in black and white would look cool.
So here we are inside the elevator. It’s actually a glass cylinder with awesome lighting and with a mirror on top. It felt like being inside a time capsule and we were being transported to the past.
These pictures were taken from the top of the tower. I must say, I think these came out great, partly because I had decent lighting and I took my time. My breath was taken away when I first saw Tyn Church from the ground so seeing it from a higher view point was spectacular. I am really glad I went to the top when it was dark because I think the buildings look much more beautiful.
Here is a shot of Charles Bridge at night. Mom and I only walked about half way because we decided that we wanted to see more of it during the day. Plus, after all of the walking, we were starting to get a little hungry. Luckily, one of the restaurants on my list, Bellevue, was close by. After dinner we headed back to our hotel and retired for the night.
The next day we decided to visit Prague Castle. We didn’t get there the usual way that most tourists go because came in through the back. We got here using the Metro and by following the signs to the castle. We ended up climbing a semi-steep stair case and had to stop several times so mom could catch her breath. When we got to the end of the stair case we were treated to a magnificent view of the city.
This is St. Vitus Cathedral which is the biggest attraction in Prague Castle. Unfortunately you have to pay to go inside so we bought a “short visit” ticket which included access to the cathedral as well as three other popular sites on property. I was really impressed by how well-lit St. Vistus is compared to a lot of the other churches I went into in Paris and Rome. This is definitely a mist-see when you come to Prague.
While waiting for the “Changing of the Guard” ceremony, mom and I walked around the front entrance to kill some time. Here she is in front of the castle gates. The gates themselves were really pretty, but not as ornate as the ones at Buckingham Palace in London.
This is one of the coolest building I’ve ever seen. If I remember correctly, this building is part of the National Gallery. The Gallery has several locations and this is one of them. Although we didn’t go inside, we definitely enjoyed the outside. I really love how the bricks look like they are 3D and popping out at you when in reality, it’s flat.
A few minutes before 12PM people started crowding around the gate so I knew the ceremony was going to start soon. There were a lot of people standing outside of the main gate so I was kind of worried we might not get a good view. Then I noticed that the side gate was open and that there weren’t that many people crowding around the inside. So I called my mom to follow me and we went inside and got a decent view of the guards. When Samantha Brown filmed her show here, the guide that was showing her around the castle told her that the uniform that the guards were wearing were designed by the same person where designed the costumes for the movie, Amadeus, which I thought was pretty cool. I must say that the guards to look spiffy. The whole Changing of the Guard was about 15 minutes long and consisted of a band (which was awesome) and a lot of walking back and forth. I wish I knew what they were saying but it was all in Czech.
One of the other places we got to visit with our “short visit” castle ticket was the area called “Golden Road.” It was a cool area where you got to see replicas of old homes of the castle servants as well as a huge display of armor worn by knights along a lengthy corridor on the second floor of the buildings. What really caught my interest was that I saw people shooting crossbows at a target. I was curious to try it so I waited in line for my turn. It cost 50 crowns for three shots. The man in charge instructed me how to aim and fire the arrow and I tried to follow them, but I found it hard to see through the tiny hole. I missed the target on my first two shots, but I finally hit the paper on my last one. I did not take a picture of it because it was too embarrassing. At least now I know I have terrible aim and that if I were left alone in the wilderness with only a gun, I would starve to death because I would have used all of my bullets and not hit a single thing.
When we finished going through the castle, we ended up walking to Charles Bridge. It’s quite a lovely bridge. Even though it is considered low season, there were still plenty of tourists roaming around, but not crowded enough to feel like you might get pick-pocketed at any moment. My favorite part about the bride was taking a slow, leisurely walk while taking in the view of the castle and people watching. This is definitely a must see in Prague and if you miss this your visit here will not be complete.
While walking along Karlova Street, I was looking into some of the little alleyways that branched off the street and I saw this. This was a piece from the art museum next door that featured a lot of young artists. I’m sure this is just all hollow plastic, but I didn’t see any sign with a description about what this is supposed to represent so I kept on walking.
One the third day of our trip we went to the zoo for a little bit (which will be it’s own separate post) and then decided to check out the Natural History Museum. Once we got there, along with some other tourists, we find out that the museum is closed for renovation until 2015! I was a little disappointed because the building itself looks amazing and I really wanted to see the inside. I also wanted to escape the snow so instead of the museum, we decided to take a break from the cold at the nearest McDonald’s. This actually turned out great because I was going to eat at a McDonald’s there anyway because I always like to try McDonald’s in other countries. While inside, we hoped that the snow would lighted up, but the weather had other plans. It actually began to snow a little harder, but it actually wasn’t as bad as we had expected it. Luckily I brought my umbrella and that protected my head because I didn’t have a hood or hat.
The next thing we did was visit the Chocolate Museum. It was a really small museum, but it was very informative. Every 30 minutes they have a demonstration on how they make some of their chocolates and we got to sample them. Next to the museum is, of course, a store where a chocoholic like me can get into a lot of trouble. As a free gift for going to the museum, we were given a free cup of hot chocolate. I know the cup looks really small, but it is filled with thick chocolatey goodness. Their hot chocolate is not like what we have here in the U.S. This is more like drinking chocolate where it seems like you are drinking a cupful of melted chocolate bars mixed with some milk or heavy cream. So really, a small cup is all you need.
The next day, the weather cleared up and we just decided to just take a stroll and just see where our feet take us. We didn’t really have a plan to do anything big so we just took our time and see what we run into. We stumbled across an open market that sold clothing accessories, toys, and art. I was a little disappointed with their offering because many of them were selling the same things. What this does, though, is present us with the opportunity to haggle a little bit. After walking around, we ended up only buying some reprints of some paintings of Prague’s most famous sites.
We followed the road we were on and found that it led us right back to the Old Town Square. Now I had a great reference point of where most of the sites are in the city. Sometimes when you look at a map you kind of overestimate the size of a city, which is exactly what I did here. After walking around a lot, I realized that nothing is ever too far away and that we didn’t really make the most of the 3 day metro pass we bought on our first day.
While at the Square, we decided to watch this band play for a while. I think they were playing some traditional Czech music and I thought they were very good. A lot of people stayed to watch them and a large crowd gathered around them the longer they played. What I loved was that both tourists and locals paid great attention to them and many people started dancing with each other. It was fun watching kids dance with their grandparents and couples dancing together. I really enjoyed watching and listening to them. Also, I loved how the guy is playing a silver clarinet. I used to play the clarinet and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a silver one.
And so I end this post with another picture of Prague Castle. I know this was a very lengthy post, but I think I ended up getting some pretty neat pictures.
Now I understand why so many people love Prague. Not only is it a very beautiful city, but I found the people who I spoke to very friendly. I’m glad I got to experience this city and I definitely want to go back during the summer when the clouds won’t be so gray. If you ever get the chance to visit Prague, don’t hesitate. I highly suggest you take your time in this city and enjoy every moment of it. One thing to note is that the food scene here is amazing if you’re willing to splurge a little bit and there are some really great restaurants I ate at (all of which will have their own posts).
I hope you enjoyed this post and keep checking back as I will try to start reviewing some of the awesome restaurants I had amazing meals at.