Following on from my post about Inter-railing in Europe! Our first stop of the trip – Prague in the Czech Republic! I had been to the Czech Republic once before for a sailing event, but that only took me to small towns in the south of the country. This was my first time in the capital.
The first hurdle of getting about in any foreign country is getting from the airport to your hostel. Our instructions were almost useless. But we jumped right in at the airport opting to go via public transport instead of getting a taxi because it was about a tenth of the price…
The transport system was very modern and easy to use, albeit a little confusing as their tickets are based on the time from which you stamp them getting into the station. Something we’d never seen before.
|Our hostel room
We managed to locate our hostel (by using the map on a tourist coach stall – always useful to try and get hold of a map early on in your stay), and it reminded us so much of a hostel we had stayed in whilst we were in Buenos Aires (Argentina) for world challenge. The entrance, the stairs the decor were all very similar, and quite comforting. The hostel we chose was simple but extremely cheap (£7 a night) and in quite a good location. Although I wouldn’t say it was the best hostel… we did have cold showers. But it was good value for money. We were on a budget holiday after all.
We then experienced the next hurdle of our trip. The temperature! It was a lot colder outside than back in England. Thankfully we had come prepared with lots of clothes and gloves. Walking around the area near our hostel even at night it felt quite safe, and we could easily find ourselves places to eat (for exceptional value). The roads were all fairly well signposted as well, so navigating (with the aid of map) was quite easy.
For the majority of the stay we walked around instead of using public transport, it’s easy, cheap and you get to see so much more of the place! If there’s a sidestreet that looks interesting, then you take a small detour and go look at it. Although on one day we did end up walking for slightly longer than intended, and had a 7 hour round trip… But definitely worth it!
We saw Charles Bridge, and climbed the tower inside it, which did cost some money, but I managed to get myself a discount with an International Youth Card (which you can get if you’re a Student, Teacher or under 26years old, they do cost a little but they last for a year and are quite good for getting discounts). It gave some lovely views over to the castle and over the town as well.
|View from Charles Bridge over Prague Castle.
Then we walked up to visit the castle. There is some really lovely architecture, and great viewing points from just outside the castle walls. Parts of the castle contain exhibits, we were a little pushed for time though, so we decided not to go into them. But they do exist…
So instead we played the part of tourists perfectly and took pictures with the palace guards. =)
And then proceeded to explore the paths leading away from the back of the castle. Of course we knew exactly where we were at all times…
|Me not reading a map trying to work out where to go…
Other sites that we visited in Prague were the TV tower although it is further from the centre of town, we took the metro out to visit it – This is 216m tall and has a viewing platform which offers fabulous views over the city (although the viewing platform isn’t at 216m…) Their restaurant/cafe also does a lovely apple strudel and spiced apple drink. It also has (or atleast had) a modern art installation with giant babies crawling up the supports… and you also have to pass through a metal detector somewhat like airport security. Atleast they don’t make you take your shoes off to inspect them…and you can save a reasonable amount on the ticket by getting it without the guidebook, and just reading the information that is up there.
|Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square
We also wanted to visit the Old town square and St. Wenceslas square to see the Christmas markets. But they didn’t open until the day we were leaving. So unfortunately we could only go to some of the small localised markets.
Ah well. Maybe I’ll just have to come back again at some point to see the Christmas markets in full swing.
On to our next stop. The lovely picturesque town of Cesky Krumlov in the south of the Czech Republic. I’ll cover that in my next blog post.