Visiting Prague needs to be on your bucket list
Prague is a city with a rich vibrant history. When strolling through its cobble-lined streets you can imagine centuries of inhabitants wandering the same pavement as they helped build the city's magnificent architecture, fought in its bloody 30 year war, or simply enjoyed a beer as throngs of tourists passed by.
We arrived two hours late from a delayed flight, and were pleased to find the driver of a car we had pre-ordered was still
there to greet us. The public transport system is cheap and easy to navigate, however after a long day spent travelling
and a late arrival we decided it was wise to organise transport to our Airbnb. We stayed in Vestec, a small village about
17 kms outside the main city. Our Airbnb was a lovely spacious apartment with a bathroom about the size of our entire hotel
room in Tokyo.
When booking this accommodation we found no closer options, and on our first day in Prague we discovered why. Leather-clad bikers from many nations and their motorbikes filled the streets and tourist attractions as motorbike enthusiasts converged on Prague for an international Harley Davidson convention. They took a liking to the fro, and Richie was stopped numerous times for photographs, despite an obvious language barrier with none of the bikers speaking English.
The craftsmanship that went into constructing Prague's many palaces, churches and Gothic and Baroque style buildings is awe-inspiring. Without today's modern tools many people must have spent their entire lifetime working on one building. When first entering the Old Town Square we gazed in wonder at the architectural feats in all directions.
Unfortunately the famous astronomical clock was under repair, but we did manage to see the 14th century Tyn Church (no photos allowed) and the beautiful St Nicholas Church. Although impressive these religious buildings with ornate gold statutes and priceless artworks show the opulence spent on churches that could have have been put to better use elsewhere.
While wandering through maze like streets we purchased several souvenirs, ate traditional Czech sausages and ordered a ridiculously huge ice cream, only to later discover that it's a Hungarian treat rather than local cuisine.
A two hour free walking tour through Prague Extravaganza Tours took us across Charles Bridge, where our guide informed us about a priest who came to a tragic end, and advised us to watch out for pick pockets. Thankfully we didn't encounter any dodgy looking characters, as we crossed the bridge and made our way to the John Lennon Wall.
Apparently the Beatle himself never visited Prague, but the wall became a memorial after his dearh. Since then passers-by express their sentiments about topical issues or impart words of wisdom. We found it amusing when our guide informed us that during communist times outside music was banned, so local artists simply changed the words to songs that were popular outside the country and released them as their own. He said his mother is still confused when she hears songs from her childhood on the radio in English.
Prague Castle is the city's most visited attraction, and at around only $23 NZD is worth paying for. Some sections require an extra ticket but the main entrance fee will give you two days to view two palaces, an enormous cathedral, an exhibition detailing the castle's history and a building displaying weapons and Armour (Richard's favourite part). We are still puzzled over what happened if people fell over while wearing such heavy coverings. An impressive city view is also available from many vantage points throughout the castle.
Now on a 10 hours bus ride to Strasbourg in France we are reflecting on how much we enjoyed Prague and recommend it as a reasonably priced, relaxing summer holiday destination.