Prague wasn’t really on my immediate radar as a place to visit, and I think it’s because I didn’t really know much about it to begin with. In almost three decades of existing, I just knew that the beer there is great, and the food is good and cheap.
Prague is a walking city, and because I couldn’t be bothered to figure out multiple transport systems in only a handful of weeks, we mostly saw the city on foot. It was sort of ridiculously hot — really quite unforgiving; a betrayal of my idea of a jaunt to Europe, personally — but even then (and this is me talking, enemy of the urban sun!), I’m happy we got to go around the city and see more of the outside routes, rather than take the trains from point to point. I guess it helped that we had no real agenda, except to visit and see, well, Prague.
Our Airbnb’s located in Prague’s Old Town, and Prague’s Old Town Square is just a few minutes away by foot. Actually, a lot of places are just within a few minutes away from each other, so every time we got to one destination, it felt a little unnecessary to hop on public transportation, so we ended up walking it most of the time.
Around the Old Town Square is the National Gallery in the Prague Astronomical Clock (Prague orloj), a medieval engineering marvel. We didn’t get to see the hourly shows, but this area is always full of tourists, so just a precaution! We also went to the National Gallery (Kinský Palace) which mostly had Asian art.
I’m not sure why he looks unimpressed—Karlův Most (Charles Bridge) was my dad’s favorite bridge… probably ever. So, Charles Bridge is probably Prague’s most famous bridge; it used to be the only “land connection” between the Prague Castle and Old Town. Right now, it’s incredibly busy, and from my observations, open only to pedestrians. There are a lot of vendors (with permits) and street musicians.
Apparently, they started moving the original statues along the bridge to the National Museum some time in the ’60s.
Other side of the bridge—
The thing I kind of didn’t like about Prague was that it was always teeming with people. Like Florence, probably mostly tourists like us. It’s just too much stimuli for me, personally, when I’m trying to navigate and also, obviously, trying to take everything in.
The houses and buildings seemed like they were all stacked on top of each other. There are many “National Galleries” and on the other side of Charles Bridge, there’s a cluster of three: Salam Palace, Schwarzenberský Palác, and Sternberg Palace. One ticket gets you into all of them, as well as Kinský Palace and Veletržní palác, which was the most contemporary one we went into.
Look at this lady, looking at a portrait of Harry Styles.
Veletržní palác is located in another different area, which felt a bit more suburban, or I suppose, just a quieter part of Prague. We passed by a cinematheque, and Letenské sady (or Letná Park) where Restaurace Praha, which won some award (sorry, forgot) at the Expo ’58. Pretty sure it’s currently occupied by an ad agency:
Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. I love my Chinese sign because it’s the only mythological creature. Also, dragons are supposed to be lucky, which… I don’t know if that’s true or if I’m just too caught up in my own crap to notice.
More scenes~ from Old Town:
This was my favorite meal! Čestr is a restaurant that, I think, specializes in meat and steak. This looks like a small cut, but it was enough. I mean, look how much fries they wanted to drown us in. Loved the butter and herbs that came with it, and of course, the beer.
On the way to Prague Castle, we found our way to Lobkowicz Palace, a family-owned museum of sorts that displayed their private collection. The audio guide was very enjoyable; loved learning about the family’s history, as well as a bit of Prague’s!
THESE SNUFF BOXES ARE SO NICE. AND THE PUPPY ONE, OF COURSE, IS MY FAVE.
So, we didn’t go into the Prague Castle, just around it, and inside Saint Vitus Cathedral. This is a very Disney cathedral, tbh.
No cathedral is complete without ostentatious mosaics of the day of judgment!
The most beautiful stained glass, honestly.
And these hedges! So nice. We actually had a meal around this area, and I quite enjoyed mine.
We walked around a lot. As I type, I keep recalling more scenes I haven’t included in this already too indulgent post. Anyway, we took a different route on the way to see the Dancing House, which was designed by Frank Gehry.
Welp, it does look like it’s dancing.
So many nice houses!
Looking back at these photos, I keep getting snatches of myself getting awed at some of the sites, and I guess I wish we had done some of the walking tours. I was sort of insistent we could do it on our own and see the sights ourselves, which, granted, we were able to, but these things are always infinitely more interesting if you’ve got context and the history behind them.
To be honest, I also wasn’t in the very best mood~ at the time — my family will probably attest to this if you ask them, so don’t — I get really stressed out on vacations, sometimes, if I feel like I have to come up with an itinerary that everybody will enjoy. And I’m really kind of torn between going to “must-see” places and kind of letting my feet lead the way. The latter can be a hit or miss, too. But anyway, I was in a bad mood, the city was hot, I’m bad at making decisions, etc. I still really liked Prague, even with all of these extraneous details.
I mean, just look at this crazy amount of photos I took! We were there under a week… I dread sifting through the rest of Berlin!