Destination: Prague, Czech Republic
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
Hello, hello, and welcome back for another round of adventures. Today we're going to be talking about my trip to Prague, Czech Republic. I'm warning you now, the first chunk will be a little dry because I came down with the nastiest cold, but it will pick up again around day three, I promise. If you've stuck around, you'll get to hear everything from favorite locations, to favorite foods, to my weird cold remedy. Enjoy!
Prague was such a uniquely beautiful location from the start. Even just flying in, you can see the complexity of the city and architecture. From the airport, we reserved a taxi from Booking.com to take us to the hostel. Up until this point, we had solely relied on public transport and walking to get us around, but we were warned in Prague and Budapest that it was unsafe to take taxis without knowing where they were coming from, so we figured better to be safe than sorry. Booking a cab honestly took so much stress off of the day.
Our hostel at this location was absolutely phenomenal. We stayed at the Charles Bridge Hostel and Apartments, which is located directly on the famous Charles Bridge. At this hostel, I decided to splurge a little and get a private room at this location. Best. Decision. Ever. This room, which had a double-wide bed, was complete with a kitchen, computer, and private balcony. It had so much space and felt incredible being able to sprawl out and not worry about continually locking everything up. The only part of this location that I had to share was the bathroom, which was always nicely maintained.
Watch Your Wallet
After getting settled into our rooms, Isaac and I adventured out to see our surroundings. If I didn't mention before, we had no idea until we arrived at this location that we had booked to
stay directly on the famous bridge, so we were a short walk from everything. We wandered across the bridge, down to the old town square. We arrived perfectly in time to witness the Astronomical Clock changing. We then made a bit of a mistake in listening to our stomachs and ended up getting scammed out of almost $80USD.
Craving some authentic Czech food, we stopped over at a food stand for slow-roasted ham, sausages, and cabbage mashed potatoes. We learned the hard way that these venders put a low price on the sign, then put in very fine print that the food is per 100g. When you order, they then fill your plate as high as possible, more than tripling the price you intended to pay. By this point, they've already served up the food. What can you do? Say no? Next thing you know, you're eating three days worth of ham in one sitting because you don't want to waste what you paid for it. This is a common scam in Prague, so keep your eyes peeled. After feeling pure defeat, we walked back to the hostel with our tails between our legs.
Now, by day two, I was entirely knocked on my ass with a cold from hell. I'm talking about the works here: cough, sneeze, runny nose, fever, and total lack of energy. I couldn't even get out of bed. My friends were kind enough to bring me food throughout the day, but there wasn't much adventuring for me. They ran over to a nearby market, and my recovery regiment was yogurt, multivitamin juice, plums, and a weird Czech version of Airborne. Somehow, even though it took a few days, this ended up pretty much curing me.
The closest I got to getting out of the hostel was heading to the other side of the bridge to an Irish pub called the Irish Times Bar. This ended up being a place I'd come back to later in the trip as well. It had a friendly atmosphere, delicious food, and live music as well. The prime fillet steak completely blew me away, and for at least an hour made me feel like I was as healthy as a horse.
Alright, I should have stayed in bed this day, but ya can't keep me down when there are sights to be seen! We started the day by wandering down the windy streets of Prague. We took this long uphill road (which kicked my sick butt) up to a park that overlooked the city. The views were stunning, and there were birds of all kinds singing.
After this view, we walked down to this famous Starbucks, which is known for being a local selfie spot for its view of the city. You know I couldn't resist. We tried to go to the Prague Castle, but with my luck, just like many other locations this trip, it was closed for the season. We wandered back down into the city and soon found ourselves at what was probably the most significant location for me on this trip.
Jewish Museum & Cemetery
I could not have mentally or emotionally prepared for the Jewish Museum and Cemetery. Although I am not of Jewish descent, learning the history and being in this place was such an emotional experience for me that I barely know how to put it into words. Entering the Pinkasova synagoga, you find the name, date of birth, and date of death of 78,000 Jews from Czechoslovakia alone that were put to death by the Nazis in WWII in alphabetical order. The Nazis were so meticulous that when the war ended, they had recorded every execution. Reading the names and the ages, many of which were younger than me, was immensely difficult. I don't even have words to describe what I felt here, because I know the pain I felt will never come close to the suffering endured by these people.
Past the temple, you find the Old Jewish Cemetery: a graveyard in the middle of the city. You'd never think of it being there, but once you ender, the graves are just stacked, one on top of the other, and they do on for what feels like forever. Roughly 12,000 tombstones are located here, graves often being layered up to 10 bodies deep. It is absolutely haunting. It definitely put a lot into perspective for me. It is one thing to hear about the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust, but to see the history behind it in person is entirely different. And to think, this mass graveyard was only one of so many locations impacted by this war. It is hard to believe that there is so much evil in the world.
Looking at my own political climate back in the States, I am very grateful for the privileges and luxuries we have. We all think we are so divided, and all focus on the negatives in our communities. Seeing what real intolerance looks like makes me feel very privileged and inspires me to be more outspoken against intolerance of opinion, religion, race, gender, and bigotry in general. I think we all could work a little harder on listening to others and finding mutual understanding. We need to be better than our world's history.
After the emotionally trying day, all I wanted to do was hug my parents. Which is a little hard from +5,000 miles away. So I did the next best thing! I spent the afternoon FaceTiming both my parents, my sister, my best friend, and my newborn godson, Shepherd. Days like this make me so profoundly appreciate my loved ones. I then headed over to a nearby grocery store, picked up some ingredients, and made something that always makes me think of my mama: gnocchi. A perfect way to end a long day.
We started this day on a quest to find me some new shoes. My feet had been bleeding since Norway, so it was time to get something different. So much for Nike's being practical walking shoes. We headed over to a popular shopping district and picked me up a fresh pair of Buffalos from Foot Locker. After this, we headed over to see the Tanzendes Haus (Dancing House). Honestly, I'm not sure what all the hype was about. They're a little disappointing and not very exciting at all. What was exciting, though, was taking the Lime S Scooters back towards the hostel afterward.
After stopping for lunch, I couldn't resist getting a trdelník. These popular snacks are supposedly a Czech tradition, though they hail from Transylvania, and Hungary also claims they are theirs. I guess we will never know. If you are going to get a chocolate trdelník, I would like to formally warn you that the chocolate is just Nutella. I am sorry to let you down.
After spending some time filling out job applications (yes, I am planning a life after I get home from Europe), we headed to the Fat Cat for dinner. This is a fun, hip place located between the Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square. They have modern foods and craft beers that will fit anyone's taste, and it is delicious. I ended up getting the beef fillet carpaccio. To go with their dinners, my travel buddies got "a tower," which is a giant 3L beer. It was hilarious.
After dinner, we headed over to the Old Town Square for some night photography and to catch the Astronomical Clock one last time. The spires on the Church of Our Lady before Týn building are absolutely breathtaking at night. My pictures couldn't even begin to do it justice. Worth experiencing at night, for sure.
Isaac and I woke up early to try to catch the sunrise on the Charles Bridge before it became too crowded. Although it was overcast, so there wasn't a true sunrise, I loved how eerie it was being the only people out in a spot that is usually so crowded. It gave me an opportunity to better respect and appreciate the detail throughout the bridge. I also took this opportunity to rub the Statue of St John Nepomuk. Rumor has it that rubbing John Nepomuk ensures that you will one day return to Prague, rubbing the Queen brings you luck, and there is zero benefit in rubbing the dog. People just do it because he's a good boi.
For our last meal in Prague, we headed back to the Irish Times Bar, where I got the best bangers & mash that I have ever had in my life. We then wandered around the shops, where I couldn't resist picking up a cute little kitty bag for quick day use. After one more round of petting the dog on the bridge, we grabbed a taxi to the airport and were on our way out of Prague.
I'm glad that I rubbed the John Nepomuk because Prague is definitely a place I would love to go back to. I know that I barely made a dent, especially with being sick, and can't wait to go back one day. I especially want to go back when the Prague Castle is open. One day. Until then, onto Budapest.
Thank you, as always, for reading. I would love to hear in the comments below what it is that you'd like to learn more about on my adventures. It's weird writing these and not knowing if anyone is even reading them, and if they are, not knowing what they are thinking and wanting. Any feedback you have would be much appreciated. Anyways, until next time!