Praha, you beauty. When people said there is no wrong time to visit Prague, I didn’t understand what they meant until I visited it. It’s such a beautiful city which managed to keep its charm intact through the great world wars the world had seen. It’s a city filled with gothic churches, bridges, medieval buildings and all the things we love about Europe.
I reached Prague on Friday night with my crazy friend waiting to pick me up from the airport. With solid 2 days in hand, we have decided to chill out and enjoy all the treats that Prague has to offer.
We started early on Saturday morning to let our excitement and enthusiasm lead our way. Our first stop was Mala Strana which literally translates to the lesser city, what could be more pleasurable than walking along the cobbled streets searching for John Lennon wall. After an hour of deliberate strolling and selfies across streets, we reached the legendary wall and once again I couldn’t be happier ticking off a checkbox from my bucket list. This wall represented the power of art to fight against oppression and many concerns of the modern society. And of course, it also makes a great place to take a picture, we fought through the crowd to claim our area to take pictures till we were satisfied that these are Insta worthy.
We started our walk across the Vltava riverside to Charles bridge, magnificent sandstone blocks flanked at each end with fortified towers. Bridge itself was boisterous, there were people from different places playing music, selling souvenirs, drawing caricature and a festive atmosphere all around with around 20 saint statues from one end to the other. The view from bridge tower on oldtown side was breathtaking, giving us a birds view of this magnificent city.
By midday we reached the Prague castle which holds the Guinness record for the largest coherent castle complex in the world, but sadly we couldn’t go in due to 1 km queue in front, so instead we enjoyed the square filled with Vintage ford cars which take us on a city tour, cosplay artists dressed as Knights and the sweet music from every corner.
We strolled through the streets towards oldtown hunting for good souvenirs, food, and selfies. It would be a sin not to taste the authentic Prague bohemian food with Pilsner Urquell, to be honest duck and bread were little over the top for my taste buds and we struggled to complete the platter.
With good beer in the belly, we reached old town, we were thrown back to 13th century with the historical significance staring right in the face from every corner with Baroque Church of St Nicholas, the Gothic House at the Stone Bell and the monument to Jan Hus. The square was completely lively with live statues of painted men, horse carts, bachelor & bachelorette party groups and various street entrepreneurs with their unique ideas to attract the crowds & make money. One of the most innovative ones was a man blowing numerous soap bubbles with 2 ropes strategically attached to sticks in the middle of the square for people to take pictures with them. It was a paradise for kids running around to burst the bubbles and adults running around for good pictures.
In the pavement of the square are memorial stones marking the execution of 27 Czech lords in 1621, and the Prague meridian. You could feel the chill down your spine when you see those executions painted on the buildings around the astronomical clock tower. Our next stop was Wenceslas square, the heart of the new city Prague with Wenceslas statue in front of national museum packed with shopping malls, bars & restaurants. We were fascinated by the history that’s written & displayed along the street, it was interesting to see how this city had transformed from the 12th century.
By the end of the day, we had twenty thousand steps in our health app and roamed three times along the Charles bridge & sang all the stupid songs we remembered in the streets of Prague. So we decided to treat ourselves with a good old Telugu movie & a heavy meal with our old friend Jack Daniels.
We were damn tired after day 1, so we decided to take it slow today. We woke up late in the morning and had a lazy start and decided to do something different today.
So we headed towards SAPA – culture and trade center ( A gate for the Vietnamese into the Czech society or Vice Versa) for our brunch. Atmosphere, architecture, and landscape had completely changed from Europe to Vietnam in no time after entering SAPA. It’s packed with shops with all sorts of products, Vietnamese street food, and authentic Vietnamese restaurants. It totally resembles Vietnam and it’s a home to all Vietnamese-Czechs. We had our brunch in one of the street food centers and after a good walk along the settlement, we started our journey to Vyšehrad.
Located on the top of a hill, it’s peaceful and often not overrun by tourists, with well-maintained garden with an amazing river walks across Valtava & city view its a perfect picnic spot. So that’s what we did, we found our small picnic place and made our camp under a tree shade. We were engaged in deep conversations about almost everything under the sun till we got bored.
Once we were tired of taking rest, we visited the Basilica of St.Peter & St.Paul inside the park which was one of the most beautiful churches I have ever visited with gothic & neo gothic arts of Christianity in the main altar & as well as in the chapels on the side. It had an impressive stone mosaic on the top entry with the vivid green & brown coloring along with the oak carvings giving us a feel of woods. There was also a cemetery right beside the church, which has the graves of many important Czechs — scientists, composers, writers, and others.
After walking up & down the hill we have returned to the apartment and headed to a local restaurant with an amazing park view nearby to get some authentic Prague beer, we tested our limits of not boring each other and then headed to the park for a sunset, I tried to capture that moment in my eyes as long as possible before my non-sober brain move to next topic. We rolled around in the park for an hour and struggled our way home trying to remember the apartment address. Finally, we reached home and made some dosas and made our peace for the day.
Prague is a city to remember but with a right company, we could never forget. Every great trip has to come to an end, so did ours after 2 days of unlimited fun, we said our goodbyes and decided to meet again soon in Chennai, we parted our ways. She went back to office working on her presentation for a workshop & I headed back to Stockholm by flight. Thus my epic visit to Prague to meet my crazy friend came to an end.