Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cityscape on Camera: Prague, Czech Republic

It's time for round two of my six-week European vacation post series, which I have affectionately dubbed my "European extravaganza." (You can even search #europeanextravaganza on Twitter and Instagram to see my posts from the trip, though I know I'm not the only person on social media who has thought of that alliteration haha.) This post is also part of my Travel Tuesday series, so feel free to link up with any travel-related posts you've written in the past week at the bottom of this post. :)

We spent less than two days in Prague, which was easily the most beautiful city we visited during the trip, but we were still able to see just about everything by taking advantage of a free walking tour (which we were then sure to make a habit of during the rest of the trip). Below is one of my favorite pictures from our short time in the Czech capital, then continue after the jump to read and see more:


Our hostel recommended a free tour that left from the Old Town Square (first photo below) at 10:30 a.m. When we showed up, there were a variety of free tour guides trying to attract customers. We picked the lime green tour, and we did not regret it! As I mentioned earlier, our experience in Prague inspired us to look for a free tour in almost every city we visited after Prague. It's the best first thing to do because we can pay whatever we think the tour was worth with our tip, and we can figure out what attractions in the city we want to spend more time on later, and which things we aren't so interested in. The tour guides are also usually local, which means they have great personal stories to tell us, like our tour guide's memories of growing up in Czechoslovakia when it was a Communist country.


Some of the major sites we passed on the walking tour included the astronomical clock in the Old Town Square ...


... the Charles bridge (seen in the background of this group picture) ...


... some interesting moving statues that depicted two men peeing on an outline of the Czech Republic (which of course our boys had to take advantage of—don't worry, the pose was suggested by the tour guide! It is not disrespectful) ...


... an area of the city called "Little Venice," which included a bridge covered with locks placed there by couples, a common tradition on bridges across Europe ...


... the John Lennon wall (here we are pointing out a logo we drew for my dad's alma mater, NC State) ...


... St. Vitus Cathedral by the Prague Castle, where we were able to witness the changing of the guard ...


... and the Golden Lane, "the smallest street in Prague." The doors to all the shops are very tiny (just look at the door my sister, Abby, who is 5'6", is approaching at the third building). This avenue costs money to stroll down during the day, but if you go right before the alley closes at 5 p.m., they stop collecting money and the gates aren't yet locked. ;)


I mentioned earlier that I think Prague was the most beautiful city I visited during my six-week adventure. Although the landmarks mentioned above are gorgeous, of course, my assessment was mostly due to the beauty of even "normal" buildings around the city, such as these:


We decided to do both parts of the walking tour, so we walked from about 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a short break for lunch from a food cart in the Old Town Square. That meant we had just enough time to go back to the hostel for some relaxation before having dinner and strolling around the city at night. I'm not usually one to photograph food, but my sister kept talking about how she felt like she was in the Game of Thrones preparing for war with her hearty meal of meat and potatoes, and she snapped the photo below to illustrate the Czech cuisine.
 

The next morning, we walked across the famous Charles Bridge to snap some more photos, and then it was off to Berlin on the train.


I have to say I am so glad we all decided to take just backpacks on this trip, but my reasons for that will be enough for a post of its own later. Jonathan and I had two of the bigger backpacks of the group, but we were able to streamline our belongings a little during the second week when we spent some time with my mom at her home in Switzerland.


And that's Prague! Even though our time there was short, it was one of my favorite destinations of the trip, second only to Spain. Check back next week for a recap of our days in Berlin, Germany, and remember to link up below with any recent travel-related posts you want to share! I've also updated the Travel Tuesday button. Please add it to any posts you link up with this series:




P.S. — See photos from the first stop on my European extravaganza, Amsterdam, here.

6 comments:

Julie @ Smiling Shelves said...

I've been to Prague twice, and I absolutely loved it! It is such a beautiful city, with an interesting (and occasionally quirky) past - it's the place where I was introduced to the word "defenestration." St. Vitus' Cathedral has the most vibrant stained glass I've ever seen. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit there!

Jen K said...

I love Prague, it's one of my favorite cities to visit. Did you get a chance to go inside the St. Vitus cathedral? One of my favorite artists, Alphonse Mucha, is from Czech and he designed one of the glass stained windows in the cathedrale (probably the one Julie is referring to, it is very colorful).

Jillian said...

All of your pictures look amazing! I wish I got to go to Prague when I was over in Europe last semester. It's definitely on the top of my list!

Ech and Will said...

This post solidifies my wanting to visit Prague. It looks awesome!

angieeatspeace said...

Gorgeous pictures, thank you so much for sharing. I literally LOL'd at the Game of Thrones comment!

angieeatspeace said...

Gorgeous pictures, thank you so much for sharing. I literally LOL'd at the Game of Thrones comment!