Today I take to writing blogs to share some of my fascinating experiences from traveling across the world. I’m a staunch believer in the magical words of J.K. Rowling as she once put it, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” Well, the trip to Prague was magical. Let’s see if I can make you voyage along the Bohemian capital as I flip through the pages of my memory book.
This story is part of our Guest Post Series.We thank Suvajit for his contribution and encourage you to check his profile below the post
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Back in early October 2017, I had to travel to Barcelona for work. One fine evening in June, my friends informed me about their plan for a Europe trip in October. I pounced upon instantly. 2 others dovetailed soon after. The overall plan for the group was to cover Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Berlin and finally, Paris. I had to improvise due to my work commitments and planned to join the crew in Prague directly from Barcelona. Our stay at Prague was planned from 6th to 8th October. Thanks to Hostelworld, we booked our stay well in advance in July at Prague Square Hostel, a 5 mins walk from the famous Old Town Square of Prague. Oh yes, we had to watch our pockets, too. 😉
Check out the best party hostels in Prague.
Arrival at Prague
I had a morning flight from Barcelona to Prague airport on 6th October. I got myself a 3-day unlimited travel pass
for 110 Kč (Czech crowns or Koruna) from the airport. I boarded the airport bus to reach the nearest metro station. The metro took me to Staroměstské Náměstí, the closest station to the Old Town Square. Well, the map did prove to be quite handy with my mobile crying for a recharge. It was nearly sundown and I met my folks and parked myself in the hostel.
Prague Square Hostel had WiFi and breakfast included in the package. The breakfast included a pick from the assorted cold-cut sandwiches, juice, tea, and coffee. The staff at the hostel was very helpful with all the queries that we bombarded her with. Depending on your preference, Prague Square Hostel provides private rooms, mixed dorms, and female-only dorms. All are reasonably priced.
|Drone view of Prague – not captured through drone |
Day 1 | Old Town Square, Absintherie, residential quarters, Zebra Asian Noodle Bar
It didn’t take more than half an hour for us to get ready and hit the road. And we were back at Old Town Square again. The place was buzzing with people from a varied ethnicity. We quickly took a few snaps as it was drizzling incessantly. We had the place all figured out and headed for our first ever encounter with Absinthe!
The nearest Absintherie took us 5 mins walk. For those unacquainted with the concept, Absintherie is a classic little bar known for serving all variants of Absinthe, a booze with as much as 80% alcohol concentration.
|This is how the Absintherie greeted us!|
If you fancy “shooters”, beware! It might as well burn your throat. There are unique techniques to consume Absinthe and you better follow the rules of the game or end up even hallucinating. The barman was kind enough to “educate” us on the massive variety displayed on the menu. We tried Absinthe Beetle, Roquette, and a few more cocktails. The classic Roquette was served in a unique apparatus shown in this video
. Overall, the experience was pretty exquisite without hurting the pockets much.
We left the Absintherie to explore some of the residential quarters surrounding the Old Town Square. Pretty old structures lay in front of us as we roamed around till Charles Bridge, but hunger struck! To our disbelief, we saw nearly all restaurants around closed and we were literally starving. Guess what! Half the city dozed off at 8 pm.
We rushed our tired legs near the hostel to find the Zebra Asian Noodle Bar yet to shut the door. We gobbled on some starters and noodles and left hurryingly for the hostel only to call it a day.
Day 2 | Prague tour, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, U Dvou Sester, Double Trouble
I’ll start off Day 2 with a bit of a history lesson! Oh yes, there would be quite a few snippets of them as Prague has quite a rich history. Prague (or Praha in Czech) is the capital of Czech Republic (please defer from using Czechoslovakia as it split into 2 forming the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, and the Czechs consider the term as bygone).
|Church of Our Lady before Týn, Prague|
I started the day early with a ham sandwich and juice and headed alone for the city tour at the designated location near Old Town Square. I met my tour guide and the rest of the group (look for the yellow umbrella near the Swarovski store). You would see plenty of tourist groups led by guides well versed in different languages. We were around 10-12 in the tour with people from Australia, the United States, Spain, and Pakistan.
We started off with the Astronomical Clock right at the heart of Old Town Square. As did the guide say, it is one of the big ugly most overrated architectures to see in Prague. There are 4 flanking figures around the clock that represent 4 despised elements – vanity, greed, death, and lust.
We continued our exploration of the city through monuments and historical buildings. Among notable ones, we witnessed the Dancing House and Prague Museum. We got introduced to the infamous acts of defenestration (a process where a person/adversary is thrown out of the window resulting in death) in Prague’s history, which fueled 2 wars.
|Bridge on Vltava – Spectacular view of the historic city|
As we marched towards the famous Vltava river another intriguing story emerged amidst the scenic beauty and river cruise. During a massive flood in 2002, the Prague Zoological Garden got affected. A brown fur seal named Gaston swam 300 kilometers from Prague to Dresden (in Germany) before he was tracked and rescued only to die due to exhaustion and infection. In memory of Gaston’s heroics, a statue has been built in the Prague Zoo.
“Jedno pivo, prosím. (one beer please)” – this is what you need to say if you walk into a local bar to have one of the finest Czech beers. Yes, we had a couple of finest beers to quench our thirst midway. Quiz time! What’s the nationality of Budweiser beer that we often fancy? Before you start scratching your head, it was brewed first by the Czech. If there is one thing that the Czech are proud of, it is their beer.
We went ahead on our journey and witnessed another historical landmark, the Jewish quarters of Prague. Marred by the German oppression, the holocaust certainly left its mark in the Jewish quarter. Such was the extent of horror, the Jewish dead bodies were stacked one on top of another due to lack of burial space. In spaces, you would also encounter the famous Franz Kafka statue.
|Statue of Franz Kafka- the Jewish Bohemian writer celebrated in Prague|
We walked to the Estates Theatre, our last stop before we were supposed to disembark. Now here’s the fascinating fact about this remarkable place. Two of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s operas were premiered in this theatre including the famous Don Giovanni, which earned him 30 minutes of standing ovation by the audience, on record.
Our guide also gave us some valuable insights into the people and culture of Prague. The city has been through a series of violence by the Germans during the second world war and then the communist regimes following it. Decades and decades of oppression have made the residents of Prague tough and probably a little less courteous if you are used to traditional greet from the waiter at a restaurant. Recommended walking tours- Two hours Guided Tour to Prague Old Town and Jewish Quarter Communism and WWII Tour
As the city tour finished, I met with the rest of the gang and munched on some chimney cakes from a local store. We had to cover the Prague Castle and it was nearly sundown. So we rushed towards Charles Bridge and crossed it to enter the other side of the city across Vltava river.
|The gang with Vltava river in the background|
Prague Castle really amazed us with its grandeur. But the royal garden really stood apart among all. If you are planning to get selfies captured, this is destination X. We weren’t ready to call it a day, however. For me, it was the best for the last – the Lennon Wall. After quite an effort in figuring out a mode of transport, we reached the most awaited part of the trip.
|Gate of Prague Castle – look at the dramatic sculptures|
|Prague Castle – Grandeur redefined!|
“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” – said the maestro. And every moment of a shiver at 10 degrees was worth it. Incessant drizzles and the emanating petrichor really made us hungry. This time we had planned for the authentic Czech cuisine @U Dvou Sester Restaurace back in Old Town Square. I had one of the best pork knuckles over there.
|Prague Gastronomy: Pork knuckle – a famous pocket-friendly Czech dish|
Time for the nightlife! We decided to spend the remainder of the night dancing in a nightclub. And Double Trouble was at a stone throw distance. Little do I remember on the countless jagerbombs I gulped after that.
Day 3 | The Sex Machines Museum, Prague Zoo
We started off our day with a visit to the Sex Machines Museum. It was a short one and we tried out a funny love tester. “Wild” it was. 😉
We had to explore the best zoological garden in Europe, especially after listening to the Gaston heroics. Whatever limited time we had for the day, we thought of investing in the massive home to flora and fauna. It took us as much as 3 hours to complete the entire zoo. Among everything, the penguins, salamanders, polar bear and seals caught my eyes.
|Penguins at Prague Zoo | Best of Prague in 3 days|
We had to make our way back quickly. The train to Berlin was timed correctly and we rushed to explore the next chapter.
|Murals at Lennon Wall -Prague|
Suvajit is a marketer by profession, a passionate foodie, and a travel enthusiast. An argumentative Indian Suvajit describes himself as a Dialectical consul who can debate about anything under the sky. You can follow his journey on Instagram and Twitter
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