Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Prague Diaries: Day 3 & 4

The finale..

Hey guys!

Here's to the 3rd and final part of my Prague Diaries covering day 3 and the day of our departure back home. If you have missed day 1 and/or 2, I'll link them here and here for you :)

Day 3

It was the day in which we planned to go on a free walking tour through the Czech Republic's beautiful capital. Unfortunately, the weather was very changable and there were times when we had to seek chalter from pouring rain and even hail showers in some arcades. Because of that, the fact that I had my map in one hand and an umbrella and my camera in the other (I always tried to know where we were for later reference) meant, that there were no two further hands free for a notepad and a pen to write down all our stops. That is why I can only tell you which places or buildings we have stopped by and listened to Tatjana's at times funny and definitely very interesting facts and anecdotes by heart (which  sadly is obviously only a fraction of what we were actually presented). You may ask, who is this girl Tatjana, that I just mentioned. Well, she was our tour guide who took us on our walking tour through Prague.
The system works in the following way: Sandeman (which is a company which offers these tours in multiple cities around Europe) employs people who live in the cities to give free tours of 2,5 hours through the cities or themed tours (which might cost something) on the basis of tips that are handed out at the end of the tours. You're not obliged to tip them (hence the free in the name) but it's common. And it's definitely worth the little money considering the quality and length of the tour that I have experienced. You really get to hear stories and facts which you would have to have researched for a long time, same applies for the route which is planned and guided most efficiently. Highly recommend!


I'll stop rambling now, promise! Who's still with me?
The tour started at the Old Town Square where Tatjana told us lots of things about the adjoining buildings, eg. the Old Town Hall with its famous astronomical clock and the myth behind its creator.





As we left the square, we were headed towards one of the national theatres of Prague. the Estates Theatre. right next to the Charles University.


(This building belongs to the university complex)


(The green building is the theatre)

(House of the Black Madonna - statue in the bottom right hand corner)

Next stop (that I had written down off the top of my head): Wenceslas Square, where many shops are located and the velvet revolution against communism took place. At one end of the square, you can find the National Museum (which was and probably still is under reconstruction). I would have loved to visit that otherwise but we also would not have had the time for an extensive visit. Having walked for quite some time already, we stopped at a small restaurant which serves as the break point for all their groups for some relaxation and a snack. Afterwards, Tatjana showed us the old Powder Gate which once was part of the town wall and a gate into the city through which the city's gun powder was brought in.

 (At Wenceslss Square after an intense shower)


(The place where we had a half an hour break and a quick snack)

(Powder Gate)






(Cafe Kafka near the Old Town Square)


(Tyn Church at the Old Town Square)

Then we were guided back to the Old Town Square and walked down a boulevard with countless luxery brand's stores which lead into and once was part of Prague's Jewish Quarter.


This quarter has a lot of history: Moldova floods and discrimination, poverty and misery, ghettoisation. At some point, and when most Jews had left this part of the city or the city entirely during the first half of the last century, the quarter was rebuilt, hence the high end stores in the former quarter of poverty. But there are still marks left behind in the form of the Old New and the Klausen Synagogue with the old cemetery which is one of the famous 'sights' of mentioned in most guide books. The last stop on our tour was the Rudolfinum, a music auditorium and art gallery on the Moldova river side from which one can see Prague Castle, the Petřin Hill, and the whole of Malá Strana.


(The Old New Synagogue which has a myth that there is a ghost living in the attic, Tatjana explained it very nicely but I can't retell the story myself)

(This clock on the left due to a misconception of the creator works the wrong way around)

 (The Klausen Synagogue with the famous neighbouring cemetery)









(the Rudolfinum)

After parting with Tatjana and the group, we decided to stroll along the river bank southward to finally climb the east bridge tower of Charles Bridge.

 (Kostel Nejsvětějšího Salvátora in front of Charles Bridge)







About half an hour and a hundred photos later, we continued our way to the Dancing House, a building with an extraordinary architecture.


What followed was actually just a desparate search for a public and clean bathroom, which finally ended at a big shopping centre (Nový Smíchov) across the river. Fortunately for me, I also found a Sephora and a NYX store in there: Beauty heaven!!!

Much happier than before, we went on to meet a friend of one of our group members who lives in Prague. Originally, we tried to meet at Kampa island, which is a peninsula and park northward of the shopping centre from earlier. Due to some difficulties, we then actually met at the John Lennon Wall where we left our mark as it is common to do so.




 (statue of Harmony on Kampa Island)






(John Lennon Wall)

With our stomachs mumbling loudly, we decided, it was time for dinner and were shown a place called Lokal (which is funny because 'Lokal' in German also means restaurant) next to Charles Bridge. Stepping outside after dinner, we found ourselves midst a huge Pentecost procession over the bridge with tousands of people following. I have to say, this was not planned but definitely an experience! The group member's friend had not even attended one of these although she grew up in the city so she tried to get some information and translated it to us. Turns out, there was a fixed programme until 11 pm with a classical concert and fireworks (and even a spectacular show of four parachutists with some sort of sparks coming from their costumes as they flew down over the Moldova!). No need to say, we stayed (and froze to death..well..almost). Anyway, the weather stayed stable and it didn't start raining again so that we could enjoy a nice sunset behind Prague Castle. Before the concert and the fireworks, we were heading the Old Town again to grab one of the popular Trdelník, which is a pastry loop, not traditionally Czech but sold everywhere and very delicious indeed!












(Prague Castle and Charles Bridge)

Day 4

...aka leaving day.
Having packed almost everything the night before, we didn't have to rush in the morning to get ready and leave the room before check-out time. Therefore, we decided, it would be a good idea to take our luggage downstairs even before breakfast, so that we didn't have to rush that either having to collect it on time. We left it in the baggage room and left the hotel with our daily handbags/backpacks for a very last time. As we had gotten the advice from Tatjana the day before that there were nice souvenir stalls near Wenceslas Square with pieces actually made in the Czech Republic as opposed to the ones at Wenceslas Square directly or near Charles Bridge, we made our way back there. The whole 'finding where we are on my map'-thing I did the previous day was not for nothing after all! Yeay! - Apart from feeling like I was totally orientated all the time of course! ;)



Having found some gems and written post cards on a bench, we returned to our hotel and picked up our luggage ready to leave for the main station and our long train journey back home (this time with only one change of trains in Berlin).

I hope you have enjoyed this post or have at least got some inspiration for a future visit of Prague! Thanks for reading and until next time!

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