– after more than a month of waiting you will finally find my further blogs being published continuously again. it was a very busy and hectic time over here and I’m happy to continue writing now. sorry for the delay –
Let’s pick up where I left you the last time: Leaving Cologne on the 9th March for Warsaw, travelling to Krakow the next evening, this article starts on Monday, 13th March.
I wake up in my train bed just arriving in Prague. In front of the window I can watch the sun rising over the green meadows on my way through another foreign country – it’s beautiful.
In the city itself, I carry my luggage to the hostel before I start my walk through Prague. It’s still only 9am when I already enter the Old Town square in the city centre which is still pretty empty and quiet. Being out and about so early, I can watch the city waking up and suddenly speeding up to its normal pulse of life. The days before I missed my bike so dearly that I rent one in Prague to make as much of the day as possible.
Even though I can hardly accept to call that vehicle a proper bicycle, it works somehow and takes me along the Vltava river and across the Chase Island bridge to the hilly side of the city. Cycling up to some hills, I find my way through the gorgeous Letna park from which I have a fantastic view over the city. Further along, I pass the Castle district and get a glimpse of Prague Castle. On Petrin hill, there is an even bigger park with many paths to walk and cycle, as well as playgrounds and great views. Below Petrin hill on the way back to the city centre, I cross some cute litte alleys and side streets with nice shops and cafes. Some parts are quite crowded and touristy but usually a few streets next to the crowd you’ll find a good spot to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
I can definitely recommend everyone to take a bike or at least a walk over the bridge to the Old City and throughout the parks over there. You’ll get to see some less touristic places and a feeling for the actual city of Prague.
After a short lunch break, it’s time for my usual introductory walking tour (due to the times, I didn’t start with it, but it’s still a good add-on).
We start our tour on a shopping street and walk through parts of the Old and the New Town for a couple of hours. During my former walk and cycles, I already discovered the huge rate of similarities in terms of architecture in that part of the city. Now, I get to to know that many buildings have been set up or influenced by Charles IV. He is said to be the most beloved Czech king and called the “father of the nation”. During his rule in the 14th century the city experienced its Golden Age and many buildings from that time are still standing today. He founded the University of Prague, for example, and during his reign the Old Town Hall was originally built.
The astronomical clock or horologe at the Old Town Hall is the most famous tourist attraction of the city. It’s the oldest astronomical clock which is still working and has three main features:
– the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and the Moon in the sky,
– “The Walk of the Apostels”, which is an hourly show of moving sculptures, and
– a calendar dial representing the months.
For the show of the puppets, many tourist gather around the clock every hour to see the one-minute show. It’s nice to see even though it’s not necessary to be there during lunch and afternoon times when it’s overly crowded.
For the final wrap up, the walking tour goes through the Jewish quarter of the city which is nowadays an interesting mix of old alleys with old houses and big shopping streets. It even has the most expensive shopping street of the city.
In one of the side streets we pass the Old Jewish Cemetery of Prague – one of the best known Jewish cemeteries. Despite its small size approximately 100,000 people are buried there in several layers. This technique created a wavy surface. Coming from Germany, it reminds me a bit of the memorial in Berlin where almost 3000 stelae of various height create a similar impression.
After a long day exploring the streets of lovely Prague, I feel like I got a good first view of the city. Too bad, I’m already leaving again the next morning – need to go back there – but for the moment I’m just happy to get a good sleep until then.
If you have any questions or ideas, please let me know in the comments and spread the word if you liked the article! 🙂
All the best and see you at the next stop in… Italy.