We arrived in Prague from Bangkok by way of Kiev, Ukraine. I never thought I’d be buying that plane ticket, but life’s funny like that. The contrast between Asia and Europe was immediately appreciated to Eric upon arrival at the Kiev Airport (a very small and easily managed affair), where he immediately tucked in to a nice espresso and enjoyed the airports free wifi.
Arrival in Prague was simple as pie, where we board a clean and friendly bus that took us to the Metro, from there just a few stops on the Metro to our hostel right in the heart of things, in Old Town or Staremesto. We stayed at the Bridge Hostel right by Charles Bridge, or Karluv Most. We loved our location and our hostel.
Big inhale, big exhale. Ahh, Europe. How I have missed you. I got excited about being back in Europe as soon as we stepped off the Metro. Everything is absolutely steeped in culture, history means hundreds of years ago-not decades and baked goods are a high priority for everyone. My kind of place!
This was my second time in Prague, but the first time had been in Christmas, so I was excited to see the difference; and boy, was it different. Prague was absolutely beautiful, even more so than I remembered. Prague seemed like it was scrubbed up and made for me! Everything is pristine and beautiful and all the art nouveau buildings are exactly what I would put in my dream city.
Prague is an old soul. I mean, Prague was a well established part of the Hapsburg Empire when the US was a disjointed bunch of French, English and Spanish territories. It’s full of Gothic architecture and on the other hand, it was also one of the main capitals of the Art Nouveau movement. Therefore the city has a lovely mix of Medieval architecture, and rows and rows of Art Nouveau apartment buildings and some glorious confections all done up in the organic inspired style.
On our first day, we visited Prague Castle, which overlooks the rest of Prague from the neighborhood of Malastrana. We took a break from the hike to the castle to stop and get a Trdilnick (which I choose to pronounce “turtleneck”).
Prague Castle is home to St. Vitus’ Cathedral which is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen. It’s up there with the Sacre Coeur in Paris and San Marco’s Cathedral in Venice in my opinion, but it’s different of course in its Gothic Style.
One of my favorite parts were the stained glass window by one of the founders of Art Nouveau, Alphons Mucha-one of my all time favorite artists.
The other stained glass windows were beautiful too. Each had it’s own particular style.
We explored the whole compound and then walked back through the gardens to take the tram back down to Staremesto.
The next day we visited one of my all-time favorite museums, the Mucha Museum. Art Nouveau is my very favorite movement in art and so I love this museum for it’s beautiful lithographs and sketches by Mucha.
It even features stamps and money that he created for the newly independent Czechoslovakia after World War II. Why can’t all money be this beautiful?
We spent the second half of this day in the Friends Coffee House, which is basically straight from Eric’s own mind as it features a few ideas he’s had for the ultimate, work friendly coffee shop. They even feature internet waiters where you can order online, from you computer within the coffee shop. My favorite part was the demi-garden, a room with one wall entirely of glass that looks out onto the garden, and has a fountain inside. All the benefits of a garden patio, none of the exposure to the elements!
After coffee we strolled through the lovely Franciscan Gardens. Everyone was taking advantage of the beautiful weather.
We ate dinner in Prague’s smallest Brewery, U Medviku.
We spent our last day walking around and seeing a few sites we had left on our list.
Simply walking around and park picnicking was a pleasure; and I pondered what it must be like to live in these art nouveau apartment jewels.
We also climbed the astronomical clock that day. One of Prague’s must-see’s-the astronomical clock has been telling the time and other astrological details since 1410. Yes, 1410. There are three main parts; the clock and astronomical dial representing the sun and the moon, the monthly calendar, and an moving component of apostles that march by every hour while Death (represented by the skeleton) empties his hourglass.
On our last night, we decided that we must take part in the infamous Prague nightlife. Our hostel was conveniently located about a half a block from Karlovy Lazne, apparently, Central Europe’s largest club. 5 floors (!!) and every floor is a different type of music (or so they say). It was also the den of inequity for everyone in Prague between the age of 18-21.
Eric and I had so much fun dancing the night away and laughing at the craziness of this club. First off, the place is like a labrinth. We must have climbed up 7 different flights of stairs that lead to all different places. I have no idea how it was put together. It was like every idea anyone had ever had for a club, all rolled into one place. One floor had that light-up disco floor from Saturday Night Fever but it was also all graffitied like an underground punk club. Another floor had a big DJ booth that looked like a robotic eagle and it had little raised light up squares you could dance on between laser lights. Another room was just a giant pit with ledges all around you could stand and dance on. We left around 2:30am (which was early as the club stays open until 6:00am) and took one last walk across Charles Bridge to cool down and say goodnite to Prague.
Next up Berlin!