I discovered the spectacular city of Prague by taking a short detour on my way to Malta from Ireland. I am so glad that I convinced myself to spend three weeks in that amazing city. It was one of those times where I just decided to be totally spontaneous and fly by the seat of my pants. It left me with no regrets afterwards. I started by browsing online for apartments and ended up finding a neat little place in the Vysehrad quarter of town. This was not a prime tourist spot. That is why it was a perfect location for me.
Tucked away in a downstairs apartment with a small kitchen and plenty of hot water and heat, we had all the comforts of home at a bargain price. Just around the corner from where we were staying, we could pick up one of the many trams that easily carried us into the city centre. We had a few restaurants close at hand, but not typical tourist spots, rather the working man’s meal was served. A daily intake of knedliky, like a dumpling, and roast pork is a hearty choice and left our bellies full for the day ahead of walking and exploring. A great Czech beer in a local beer house during the afternoon was something to look forward to as well. Czechs are proud of their beer and the best way to enjoy it is on draught.
The historical section of Prague is situated on both sides of the famous Vltava River and is made up of six parts. Stare Mesto (Old Town), Josefov (the preserved Jewish Town). Nove Mesto (New Town), Mala Strana (Lesser Town), Hradcany and Vysehrad complete the six historical sections. Prague is one city that did not suffer much damage to the architecture during the war, unlike many other parts of Europe. There are lots of well-preserved buildings left to enjoy.
The entire historical section is truly dominated by the Prague Castle with the beautiful Charles Bridge connecting it to the rest of the city. The walk on the bridge is breathtaking. The statues that line the bridge, the view of the castle looming over everything, and the artists and street musicians offering their wares and music make the crossing of this bridge of arches quite the main event.
I can’t forget that Franz Kafka and Antonin Dvorak as well as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were all strongly connected to Prague. There are constant reminders throughout the city of this proud heritage. Dvorak was buried in the Vysehrad cemetery and, of course, I was able to visit his grave.
We happened to be in Prague during the weeks leading up to Christmas. It was cold, but we bundled up all the same and walked for hours in spite of the cold. The outdoor Christmas markets were in full swing, a tradition that is both enchanting and entertaining. Prague demonstrates true Christmas spirit.
I am told that during the summer, tourists flood the city. I can see why. If you are looking for spectacular old world charm enhanced by architectural designs that run the gamut from Romanesque rotundas, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque and Renaissance palaces, Art Nouveau, all the way to modern buildings, you are guaranteed to thoroughly enjoy this magnificent city.
This article was first published on the Passport Visa Travelers Guide.