Had booked a WestBus Train + Bus 29 EU ticket to Prague from Salzburg. Reached Prague by 1 PM. Now this is when I realized I had come to “someplace different”. It was really really difficult to converse with locals, although some of them were really helpful. I had problems locating the bus stop, had problems locating my hostels and everything was quite trolley unfriendly. And my hostel, Ritchie’s place wasn’t as good as it looked in the pictures, I had to climb 5 stairs with my luggage. Not a very desirable experience but everything can’t be easy all the time.
Finally I got some craving for Indian food,so I went to the Beas Dhaba. Food was pretty good, a huge plate with a lot of deserts came for 190Kr(7.6 EU), and that’s when I realized I had come to “someplace cheap”.
And in September Prague wasn’t mobbed at all with tourists, I mean it wasn’t really quiet but I’ve seen crowds several times thicker. I bought a Prague card only to realize in 2 days I had done some miscalculation and the card was actually poor value. I set off the explore the old town. The first stop was obviously the Old Town square. The spires in Prague were captivating, so different from what I had seen till now. Prague looked very “kingdomish” with those spires on churches, like “stuff had happened here”. The St.Vitus looks brilliant from everywhere..can’t imagine a better setting. Views from the Klementium terrace too were brilliant.
Now walking over the Charles bridge was quite an event(previously I had thought “what’s in a bridge?”), be it early in the morning or late in the night. Views from the towers too were fabulous. Another favorite was the view of the Charles bridge with the castle right behind it. You need to have all the energy to climb towers(maybe more than 2 in a day), the Powder Tower too had good views.
The castle tuned out to be a little disappointment, but the St.Vitus cathedral was the highlight. No cathedral I had seen till, or was to see later was anywhere close to this one. The painted glass,the glass..wow, and not toooo many tourists. Another highlight was the Schwarzenberg palace, which houses the Bohemian Arts museum. Everything about it, the paintings, sculpture,armory was top notch. I took a few walks in the back areas of the castle, but I didn’t come across anything very exciting. But the Chocolate festival at the Lobkowicz Palace was pretty good, 80Kr for some good hot chocolatein cold,rainy weather.
Another highlight of Prague was the concerts. I attended 2 of them, one was at the Lobkowicz Palace at 1 PM. Pretty good value I would say, but the best concert of my trip was at St.Michels near the Old Town Square, if you’re near the Clock facing the Square, St.Michels is towards your right. The Hall too was very well done,and all of this for 300Kr. There was some opera too,and I found the acoustics better than most other halls.
I also took a Ghost Tour at McGee’s, and this turned out to be one of the best experiences. Bloody stories, ghostly environment, walking through the deserted dark alleys of Prague on cold,windy nights is the “Prague thing” for me.
Food in Prague was pretty good and varied. I had some Czech food at Stormerstska, a herby mushroom, potato soup and some fruit dumplings(250 Kr, people not happy with the 25 Kr tip, but otherwise good food, superb ambiance and decent prices for the location). Had good Italian food at an Italian place close to the Old Town square, cant remember the name, a good vegetarian Goulash at Maitreya(165 Kr), a middle eastern platter and lentil soup(170Kr) at Klub Cestovatelu, and loads and loads of Gelato everywhere(20Kr). So it was really affordable,and I ate a lot.
Getting back from my hostel at 5 am was a challenge again, buses on either side of the road I was on the wrong side of the road, till I found a metro station to take me to the bus stand, Florenc. There too I find the signage poor. I had booked at 16.2 EU Student’s agency bus to Vienna(a little crammed, but fair enough considering the price). The journey Vienna was quite eventful ,except views of the Brno cathedral, which looked huge and imposing from a distance.