Prague

Managed to cut the photos down to about 140, check out the gallery here.

Group in front of Train Station

Last week Thursday was a public holiday here in Germany, so I managed to take Friday off and spend three days, four nights in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. I joined up with a group of 7 Brazillians who are studying with me at Reutlingen. At overlapping times 3 other groups of students from our international group were also in Prague.

We took the train from Reutlingen on Thursday afternoon all the way to Nuremburg where we switched to a bus for the last 3 hours of the journey arriving shortly after 21h00. We took a walk down to our accommodation just south of Old Town. We stayed in the Prague Lion Hostel, which for the 10 Euro per night we were paying was very nicely located and pretty decent accommodation. We checked in and went in search of some food. Walking around randomly and grabbing some food and a drink before heading back.

We had no plan for Friday but decided to just take a stroll through town. We walked up Wenceslas Square towards the Museum and across towards the train station. We then headed West walking past Henry’s Bell Tower and off towards the Powder Tower. We met up with some friends at the Palladium (mall type thing) to grab some lunch and joined them through the Jewish Quarter.

Here we went through the Pinkas Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue and the Jewish Cemetery continuing on towards the Vltava River and towards Charles Bridge. We walked across the Charles Bridge just before sunset and it was packed with pedestrians. The bridge is like an avenue with beautiful statues lining either side of the bridge. A brief visit to a curios shop and we were heading back to our Hostel along the river.

Jewish Cemetery

That night we had arranged with the other international students to do a pub crawl. We took part in the Prague Pub Crawl, which starts out at their own Pub, progresses on through three other clubs ending the night at Karlovy Lazne, the self proclaimed largest club in Central Europe. It was a long night, but a lot of fun and definitely worth it if you’re looking for something like that.

Saturday was a late start. We managed to see a bit more of the city. Headed up towards the Old Town Square where got a look at the Astronomical Clock and some of the other buildings in the area. Had a lovely supper at a local restaurant before heading back to our hostel. It’s amazing that even late at night you can see people being given tours through the city.

Saturday night we also made a pass by the Ice Bar. A tiny freezer room shaped out to look like a bar. Kept at -7C and surrounded by walls of ice, with statues, tables, chairs and the bar itself all made out of ice. Quite impressive although fairly small and freezing cold to spend extended lengths of time in there.

Sunday we made a plan to get up relatively early and head up the hill across the river to the castle. And so we headed off, stopping at a bakery for some nice pastries and coffee for breakfast. Up the hill to the gates of the castle with a pretty view over a large part of Prague. Through the guarded gates and a walk around the castle grounds. The castle is one large walled in area, with various buildings contained within including an astounding Cathedral. Some of us chose to climb up the tower. One spiral staircase for the 100m climb to the top for traffic in both directions.Once on the top you could walk all the way around and get views over the entire Prague. The sun even came out for a few minutes while we were atop. As we got down to the bottom we heard the sound of trumpets and were just in time to view the changing of the guard at 12h00.

After that we headed down and up another hill to the Petrin Tower, a kind of mini-Eiffel Tower. It was a lovely walk through the parks surrounded by red and orange trees. We decided to start to head back and stopped down in town for a late lunch. We then went back to our hostels, making a pass by the oddly named ‘Dancing Tower’.

Dancing Tower

A rustig night in the hostel and we on our way back to Germany.

Astronomical Tower

Prague has a lot of tourists. It draws people of all ages and has something for everyone. The city has a long history with buildings and stories to show for it. It’s a hub of cultural activities and museums with musical and dramatic events almost daily. They also attract big events and music bands, while there’s a major night life as well.

We stayed within the city centre for almost the entire trip, everything was close enough to walk, and boy did we walk. There’s also a regular tram system though we never felt the need to try it. I also felt safe the whole time. Sure most of the time I was in a group of 8 guys, but even walking by myself late the one night I wasn’t too worried.

The tourist areas do have quite a few hustlers. People trying to get you to go to certain restaurants, exchange money on the streets or go into certain shops. One just needs to be clear with them about what you want and don’t do anything if you’re not happy about it or feel uncomfortable. There are also exchange booths everywhere, open all times of night. One really has to read the rates carefully and look around. Certain places wanted to offer us only 20 Koruna (Crowns) to the Euro, whereas the best we got was 24.5. Most restaurants and lots of stores will also accept Euros, we either got a 24 or 25 Koruna to the Euro exchange amount there.

I had a great time and got to see a lot of the city. It’s really beautiful, full of old buildings, parks and lots to see and do. I do feel a bit that although I saw a lot, I don’t really know much about what I saw. I’ll definitely put Prague on my list of places to visit again, to see a show and research a bit more about the city.

Petrin Tower

This weekend a few of us are going to head to Stuttgart on Saturday and take a look through the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz museums.

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