Holy wow. Prague is mind boggling in such an amazing way. The city is littered, covered in graffiti in a lot of places, quirky with it’s random sculptures and absolutely beautiful. The buildings, the parks, the general landscape of it all… it is so wonderful. When I originally booked Prague, I had nine days scheduled in the city. Then I decided it was too much, so I looked for cheap flights to another location for a few days and eventually settled on a total of five days in Prague. This gave me more than enough time to see the city, do some research, settle in with a few books and whatever else I wanted to do. I arrived in Prague mid-day on a Saturday and immediately said “wow”.
I checked in to my amazing hostel and tossed my bag in a locker. I had purchased a 24 hour public transit card at the airport, so I opted to make the most of it and go a bit further out of the main part of town. I took the tram to Prague Castle and then wandered the Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, walked the gardens and went to Letna Park. After that I was sufficiently sweaty, extremely hungry and on the verge of whiney. I headed into Old Town and checked out a few sites before getting a grocery store snack and wandering a shopping center to get my air conditioning fix.
The owl I became obsessed with and stared at for a solid 10+ minutes. Yes, he is real and absolutely adorable.
When I returned I met my roommates for the following few days… Lawrence from Quebec, Denise from DC and Jake from Auckland. Jake also had some kiwi friends, Britney and Shannon, that were staying in the room next to ours. We all hung out and chatted for awhile before declaring it bedtime.
The next day was incredibly laid back. It started with a morning run around town and visiting some touristy spots before the crowds: Lennon Wall and Charles Bridge. I spent the remainder of the day in a restaurant having coffee and brunch, sitting around my hostel lounge and researching some future stops. It was lazy but exceptionally productive. Later in the day I joined my roommates for happy hour(s) and story swapping. Denise had spent the day walking the city, had lots of information to share and we decided we would take some guided tours together.
Monday morning had an early and depressing start. Denise and I took a tour out to Terezin Concentration Camp. Terezin was established during WWII and was used as a holding camp for many people before they were transported to extermination camps such as Auschwitz. Many people died in this camp due to malnutrition, disease and a variety of other reasons. The tour included a visit to the small fortress, where we walked the grounds and learned more about the lives of the people that were confined there. We also went to a museum in town, watched some Nazi propaganda films, visited mass graves and a crematorium. It was informative, enlightening, upsetting and shocking in many ways.
After returning to the city we grabbed a quick lunch and hustled to the next tour. This one was a guided tour of the castle and it’s grounds. While I had already seen most of the area, I wanted to hear the history behind it and learn more from a guide. We spent over 3 hours with hoards of people scurrying about, but learned a ton and enjoyed the beautiful day. After the castle we visited Lennon Wall and Charles Bridge with our guide and group of amusing tour companions. I also learned that the Lennon Wall changes every day. If you compare to my photos/video from the prior day, you will see several new pieces of art.
Then we indulged in the most amazing thing I have ever met: Trdelnik. (Which I call “turtleneck” because that is about how it sounds when pronounced in Czech. Even my guide had to admit I wasn’t entirely insane with that one.) Trdelnik is made of a tasty dough that is wrapped around a stick, roasted while it spins over a flame, then coated with a scrumptious walnut and sugar mix. It can end there if you want it to, but you would be a fool. From there you are given lots of options of fillings and toppings: whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate, brownies… whatever your little (or big) tummy desires. I opted to created my own little concoction that had the inside coated with Nutella and then it was filled with chocolate and vanilla swirl ice cream. This was not only delicious, but also logistically genius as it kept my trdelnik held together and prevented ice cream leakage. As you can tell, I am extremely passionate about the trdelnik/turtleneck. I may have found my future business venture for when I return home.
Following this sugar overdose we waddled back to the hostel and greeted our newest roommate, Kevin. Kevin is from DC and immediately realized that the combination of Denise and myself could lead to being admitted to a mental institution, but he joined right in. After several hours of debating a visit to KFC, we decided the “healthy” thing to do would be to skip dinner and sleep off our depression, foot pain and belly aches.
Needless to say, I woke up ravenous the next morning. My hostel offered a solid breakfast buffet that included homemade eggs made to order, tons of veggies, pancakes, cereal, nutella, endless coffee, fruit and more.
Denise and I spent a few hours grazing the offerings and getting some future travel booked. We also managed to down a lot of coffee which made me feel beyond miserable. The fix for that? Shopping and KFC. So that is precisely what we did. The evening was spent laying around the room with Kevin, giggle fits like we were teenagers at a sleepover, talks of an evening outing for more trdelnik and packing our bags as we all prepared to leave. Denise was heading to Berlin, the Kiwis to Budapest, Kevin was staying in Prague for a few more days and I had Paris and Nazair calling my name.
Some random fun facts about Prague: they have bizarre sculptures all over the city that are a joy to come across, they don’t think that women should eat garlicky chips and they are passionate about Segway zones. Basically there is a surprise around every corner.