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mistybleu Prague - A travel report by Amanda
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Prague,  Czech Republic - flag Czech Republic -  Hlavni Mesto Praha
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mistybleu's travel reports

Picturesque Prague

  30 votes
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To see Prague the morning after the first snow is magical like a fairytale. What makes Prague special is the scenery, the romance of the architecture, the vibrant colours of the building and the strong history of its people; this makes the city come alive


Looking over the city
Looking over the city
In 1993 the Velvet Revolution saw the end of communism and Czechoslovakia, and the birth of the Czech Republic, with Prague remaining as the capital. The Republic borders four countries, German, Poland, Slovakia and Austria; and in May 2004 it became a member of the European Union.

Prague has been the social, cultural and political centre for centuries and is now considered a very modern and progressive city; it has over 1.2m residents.

The City is divided into five areas: the Little Quarter, Prague Castle and Hradcany, Jewish Quarter, Old Town and New Town. To navigate these areas the public transportation system is good and cheap; e.g. for 8kc your can purchase a ticket that is valid for 15 minutes or for 12kc an hour. They have three metro lines, numerous trams and buses where tickets are interchangeable, but remember to always validate the ticket as a fine of 800kc can be imposed.

From the airport it costs 12kc and the number 100 or 119 bus combined with the A or B metro line will take you into the city centre. For help check out www.dpp.cz.

Generally, the best time to be in Prague is during the hot summer months, however it is very crowded. Winter can also be quite nice, wandering the streets drinking hot wine or chocolate to keep warm.

The things to buy are Bohemian crystal, glassware, Czech amber, traditional Czech liquors, folk art, Russian dolls, crafted wooden toys, marionettes and hand-painted Christmas decorations. Exchange rates: £1 = 41kc, €1 = 29kc, $1 = 27kc

In the tourist areas most people speak English or knowledge of German could be helpful. Credit cards seems widely accepted, but always ask first as its not a given.

For further information go to www.prague-info.cz, or www.czechtourism.com.

Favourite spots:
Old Town Square
Old Town Square
The OLD TOWN SQUARE is the central destination for many visitors, which is why you should get there early. Around the Square, the CHURCH OF OUR LADY BEFORE TYN is dominant and was considered the main Hussite church in Prague. Move on to KINSKY PALACE, then to MINISTERSTVO HOSPODARSTVI, this building was designed for the Prague City Ins. Co and has fire fighters figures on the upper façade. ST NICHOLAS CHURCH was used as a garrison during World War I. Now, with great acoustics, is a concert venue; it is nice and has a lovely chandelier beneath the dome, but isn’t anything special. There is also a market that sells handicrafts; there you will also find traditional ironmongers. Next you could take a horse and carriage ride; tucked under a blanket, with the sound of hooves on the cobble and waving at well-wishers is romantic. Then meet for coffee in a pavement cafe to watch the decorated, ASTROLOGICAL CLOCK strike on the hour and the exploration of the Old Town Square is complete.

What's really great:
Prague travelogue picture
By day immersing into the history of the capital; wondering through the labyrinth of winding road, alleyways, courtyards and passageways leading deep into buildings, seeing the magnificent sights and then by night discovering the many forms of entertainment available. In 1770, before house numbers were used, houses were identified by emblems and signs. In days gone by someone would say ‘meet you at the stone ram or the golden Unicorn’ and these signs are still seen on the buildings. I also found the various baroque portals and gates fabulous; these tended to frame the entrance of buildings or could be seen below windows, which gave them the appearance of holding the buildings up. The statues tended to be mythological characters, heroes and giants, and generally acted as an integral support element.

Sights:
Prague Castle
Prague Castle
Here are some top sights in no particular order:

At the heart of the city is the Karluv most or Charles Bridge over the RIVER VLTAVA. Follow NERUDOV up to PRAGUE CASTLE, the office of the President; here the various period buildings make up this complex and it includes ST VITUS CATHEDRAL and ST GEORGE BASILICA.

VYSEHRAD (high castle) is in the New Town and behind ST PAUL’S the NATIONAL CEMETERY is the burial ground for many of the country’s famous citizens Dvorak and Smetana.

Located on PETRIN HILL is STRAHOVSKY MONASTERY, a literature treasure trove; its ornate libraries and frescos are described as the most magnificent in Europe.

The OLD/NEW SYNAGOGUE provides a lovely rest-bite for the weary. It costs 200kc entrance fee, as with all synagogues.

The MUNICIPAL HOUSE was built in the early 1900s and is the site for concerts. Daily tours are arranged as it’s a fascinating art nouveau building.

Finally, ST NICOLAS CHURCH a fabulous example of Baroque architecture.

Accommodations:
Hotel Strika
Hotel Strika
The Hotel Strika is an economical hotel, which costs 320kc per night including a buffet breakfast. I stayed in the loft extension, which had a nice bathroom and single beds in the main room. It was good basic accommodation. The hotel is located in a quite residential area; 10 minutes walk from Kobylisy metro station, but had closer tram connections. Whilst it was on the outskirt it took less than 15 minutes to get to Muzeum.

On the other end of the spectrum last March my friend stayed in the Hotel Pariz and she had nothing but great stories to tell of the hotel. It is located in Namesti Republiky, right on the edge of the old town on Obecniho Domu 1 and has been declared a national monument because of the art deco features. I can only comment of the outside, and it really does look nice.

Nightlife:
Marionettes
Marionettes
I found the clubs around WENCELAS SQUARE a bit seedy and on Saturday night a lot of Englishmen on stag ‘dos’, but on the other side of town, closer to the Charles Bridges the clubs seemed better.

KARLOVY LAZNE is billed as the largest club in Central Europe and has 5 floors, which caters to most music tastes including: dance, rap, R&B, pop, and rock. It costs around 200kc and has a games room and free Internet access. It situated on Smetanovo nabrezi 198, Praha 1. www.karlovylazne.cz.

Two other clubsa are: KLUB LAVKA: Novotného lávka 1, 110 00 Praha 1. www.lavka.cz and SOLIDNI NEJISTOTA: Pstrossova 21, 11000 Praha 1. www.solidninejistota.cz/en.

Also available are many concerts and theatre productions. I really enjoyed a production of Don Giovanni, Mozart’s gift to Prague, by the National Czech Company; whilst the marionette seemed a little tired, it was a nice production, especially if you have kids.

Hangouts:
Old Town Clock
Old Town Clock
I found lots of local bars as I walked around but didn’t have any favourites. I stopped in a sports bar off Wenceslas Square (on Vodickova street) to catch up on the football scores. They served the infamous Czech beer: Pilsner Urquell, (the original) Budweiser Budvar and Staropramen.

It was there I was told about ‘super’ alcohols, not my cup of tea, but apparently with Absinth or Beckerova (there are quite a few); to appreciate the drink, first pour some into a spoon with a lump of sugar. Set a light and then stir in a glass and drink. It sounded like it would put hairs on my chest, which I definitely don’t need.

I also found a pub called the ‘John Bull’ which had a man in a kilt standing outside, I couldn’t brings myself to enter an English themed pub in the heart of Prague.

Restaurants:
La Perle de Prague, on the top 2 floors
La Perle de Prague, on the top 2 floors
One of the most happening places to eat is La Perle de Prague, which serves Parisian cuisine. It is situated on the banks of the Vltava River and the views are stunning. It opens Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and every night for dinner. It is so popular booking in advance is the only way to guarantee a table, which is not cheep, but fun to be eating in the ‘Fred and Ginger’ building.

In some of the more moderately priced restaurants it is customary to share tables. If a restaurant is busy someone may well join you at your table. Luckily or unluckily, I had lunch is a small restaurant, which wasn’t busy, situated close to St Nicholas Church called Juridica. It was good value for money and cost me 130kc; the aim was to be adventurous but ended up with only plate of goulash.

Other recommendations:
Prague travelogue picture
A walking tour is the best way to see Prague. Head for the POWDER GATE, lots of companies are located there. It is also nice to do an evening tour.

Another way to see a lot of the great buildings is to take a river cruise. The Charles Bridge is a great starting point for information.

Further a field explore the tragic village of Lidic where the inhabitants were killed or sent to concentration camps. After the war the site became a memorial museum and park, and the village was rebuilt a little way down the road.

If time permits a day’s excursion to Karlstejn Castle is a good idea and it’s only 40 minutes away from the centre of Prague. This citadel is one of the greatest sights of Bohemia, surrounded by woodlands and high above the River Berounka gorge.

Finally, I found the Eyewitness Travel Guide good; also the Prague Post’s Day and Night Section was helpful. Check out the Prague Information Service at www.pis.cz for more information.

Published on Sunday December 5th, 2004


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Tue, Sep 26 2006 - 07:56 PM rating by mrscanada

I loved spending time here. Fabulous review.

Sun, Sep 24 2006 - 04:57 AM rating by marianne

Amanda,
Perfect report. You mentioned everything there is to know about Prague.

Fri, Jan 28 2005 - 04:04 PM rating by simplysweet

Cool report, I was there last year also

Mon, Dec 06 2004 - 01:02 PM rating by fieryfox

Simply awesome. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more quality reports from you.

Cheers.
Farizan.

Mon, Dec 06 2004 - 08:32 AM rating by magsalex

Great report with lots of interesting information. Good job!

Mon, Dec 06 2004 - 03:22 AM rating by picasso

Very well written report with images and a lot of interesting information
It was a pleasure for me to read and also a please for me to give you *****

Mon, Dec 06 2004 - 03:05 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii amanda,
excellent report indeed and you have put a lot of effort to write it.
cheers
ravi

Sun, Dec 05 2004 - 09:51 PM rating by horourke

Just a very wonderful and comprehensive report

Sun, Dec 05 2004 - 06:06 PM rating by bootlegga

Great report...lots of details and interesting pictures. Personally, I feel too long is better than too short, especially if I'm doing research for an upcoming trip.

Sun, Dec 05 2004 - 05:33 PM rating by britman

An excellent report beautifully illustrated and crammed with interesting facts and travel information. Not too long at all -in fact an enjoyable read!
Well worth ***** and well done!!

Sun, Dec 05 2004 - 03:54 PM rating by jenny2

A bit long but cool. Ciao

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