Carson, Maria and I arrived in Prague around 1:30pm on Friday (Dec. 20th). Unfortunately, we didn’t have the luxury of having our own local tour guide, so it was definitely more challenging to get around and figure out what to do without a translator or host, but it was a great experience! We took an Uber from the airport to our Airbnb, which was super helpful since our driver spoke great English and gave us a lot of tips on our drive! We eventually arrived at the apartment we were staying in and it was AWESOME! It was so clean and fancy – I felt like I was living in high society! (even though the price was extremely reasonable).
Once we were settled, we ventured out to find a place to eat. Now, I was definitely worried about the food selection in Prague, but there was actually a lot of variety and plenty of cafés around. We ended up deciding to try traditional “Czech food” since we were embracing the culture, and I was actually pleasantly surprised. I really can’t remember how to spell or say what I ordered (I just pointed to it on the menu), but it was pretty tasty!
After we ate, we decided to head to Old Town Square, where there was a huge Christmas market, beautiful buildings and lights, and TONS of people. Everything was so beautiful – I felt like I had to keep taking pictures every time I took a few steps! We continued to walk around and explore a little more, but we ended up getting really tired and decided to head back for the night so we could be fresh for our next two days in Prague.
Our first full day in Prague happened to be my 23rd birthday! Maria was so thoughtful to get me a little happy birthday banner and a beautiful ring from Pandora for my gift – I absolutely loved it! Then we began the day by taking the tram down to the city center. The trams in Prague have been in service since 1875 and literally run on the same roads that cars drive on! There isn’t much guidance in terms of traffic lights, stop signs, etc. for cars/trams here in Prague – it seems like people just do whatever they have to do to get where they need to be. (I definitely wouldn’t want to drive a car around here!) So I was pretty impressed with ourselves and how easily we were able to figure out the tramway. We took it to town and back a bunch of times! We had no idea how to buy tickets and no one checked for any when we got on and off, so we basically rode for free the entire weekend…not complaining!
We were also pretty good at finding restaurants – each day we found a different one and had a nice sit-down meal and tried something new. We were always happy with our decisions! Food/drink is also extremely cheap here, which was a nice change coming from Copenhagen where things were definitely more expensive!
After we ate, we booked a one-hour boat tour that sailed down the Vltava river, which is the longest river in Prague that flows through the center of the city. The views (once again) were great and it was a nice relaxing ride. After the boat tour, we played some fun games together and had a few drinks at our Airbnb before heading back out to get something to eat. It was really nice to get to know my fellow scholars even more and talk about different things! Eventually, we went back down to the city center and bought some grilled sausages on baguettes from one of the Christmas markets for dinner and they were SO yummy! Then we just strolled around taking in the beautiful sights until we came upon an Irish pub called Caffrey’s – I guess we subconsciously missed Ireland because we ended up sitting there and talking for hours! It was a really nice day/night and an unforgettable way to spend my birthday.
We checked off the rest of our Prague “sights-to-see” today and saw some amazing views. The buildings and architecture in this city are breath-taking. Every time I look around I want to take a picture of some building that just looks so cool! Some of them are so colorful and intricately designed – they really made me appreciate the art class I took at SFC! First, we took the tram over the bridge to a town called Malá Strana, which was a really neat town that had an “old-timey” feel to it. This is where the Prague castle was, which we climbed 309 steps to see! (Carson counted).
After the castle, we took a break at a cool pub that was selling pints for just $1.26! Unfortunately, I still don’t like beer so Maria and I had some glasses of red wine, but Carson definitely took advantage of the cheap pints! We sat here and talked for a bit before we ventured on to the Church of Our Lady Victorious, where the Infant Baby Jesus of Prague resides. This church was absolutely stunning, and the Infant Baby Jesus shrine was so beautiful! It is so difficult to capture the things we see and moments we experience in a photo – there is nothing like seeing these sights with your own eyes.
After we left the church, we walked along the cobblestone streets and found the Lennon Wall. This wall had been there since 1158 and surrounds the seat of the Maltese Order. In the 1960s, people started writing messages against the regime on it and in 1980, the face of John Lennon (which was seen as a symbol of freedom) was drawn. Ever since then, people have written messages and drawn pictures on this wall that has transformed over the years. So, as a big Beatles and John Lennon fan, this wall was really cool to see!
We left the Lennon wall and walked across the famous Charles Bridge to get back to Old Town Square for a bite to eat. The bridge was full of people taking pictures, selling artwork, and taking in the views of the river. It reminded me a little bit like the Brooklyn Bridge, just with no scary bikes and a much wider space to walk! This was the perfect little ending to our trip – I’d say we definitely did Prague right!
Prague was absolutely beautiful and so picturesque. It was really fun to learn as we went along and embrace the Czech culture. And I’d say turning 23 here was pretty cool too!
Up next: ROME
Traveler Tip #21:
Beer is actually cheaper than water in Prague, so you should really learn to acquire a taste for it before you visit!