The Prague crew- Liz, Carly, Paige, Julie, Ramzi, and Me:)
We left the center at 2:45 to take the tube to Victoria station and then take a train to the Gatwick airport. The airport was so different than American airports. After going through security it felt like you were in a mall. And you had to wait until 30 minutes before your flight and the TV would tell you what gate to go to. Very different but I liked it. We got into Prague at 9pm and had a shuttle arranged to pick us up and take us to the airport. The driver was really nice and we loved his accent. We stayed at the Marriott! Five star!! It was such a nice hotel. All thanks the Paige’s mom who booked it for us. She somehow got it for only $20 a night and it’s 5 minutes from the center square. Tuesday night we just hung out at the hotel and slept soooo well in our comfy beds! We hadn’t seen any of the city yet and I went to bed really excited to explore in the morning.
Wednesday was the most amazing day ever!! Seriously! It was in one word- PERFECT. I woke up not too early but not too late and went to the gym. Man, I have missed the gym!:) it was great. I got to run on a treadmill, elliptical and lift weights. Then I got all ready for the day and we headed out to conquer the city. The concierge became our best friend, but I hope she didn’t find us annoying. We asked a lot of questions:) so the concierge recommend a cafe for breakfast and we went there first. It was a really nice place and I got a perfectly cooked omelet with ham. It was delicious. Especially because I’ve been used to my microwaved eggs at the center (i know, disgusting. But you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to get protein sometimes)
After breakfast we headed to the heart of the city- old town square. Right off the bat, I fell in love with Prague. The architecture and atmosphere are breathtakingly amazing. It made it that much better that it was a sunny day with bright blue skies!!– we were all excited to pull out the sunglasses:)
We wandered down some winding cobblestone streets and peeked in a few stores until we reached the square. Again, perfectly, we arrived at 9:58 and the famous astronomical clock was just about to go off. We stood with the crowd of people and watched. It was like a giant coo coo clock except that a real man with a trumpet came out at the end.
Next we did what was possibly my favorite thing of the day- payed to go to the top of old town hall and look out over the city. Prague is beyond gorgeous!!!!! The colors are perfection; a mixture of red roofs, blue sky, green copper and cobblestone streets. The views were indescribable. I hope the pictures capture just a tad of how amazing this city is!
Next we walked over to the river that cuts through the middle of the city. This is what makes Prague so gorgeous to me. The six arching bridges in a row are so beautiful.
We walked across the famous Charles Bridge. It’s only a pedestrian bridge so we took our time walking across and enjoying the views.
We ran into a group of missionaries while walking across. The gospel is everywhere!
By this time it was lunch and we wandered around looking for a good place. Julie spotted a place called bohemia bagel and we all agreed that it sounded perfect. So, yet again, a perfect meal; it was absolutely delicious! And what’s so great about the Czech Republic is that everything is pretty amazingly cheap. We wandered our way up toward the main tourist attraction of the city- the Prague castle. We went in some pretty cool shops and soaked in the atmosphere of the city.
The castle is on top of a hill which offers great views of the city. The Prague castle is the largest castle in the world; isn’t that cool?! As we explored inside, we saw the huge St. Victus cathedral (which had gorgeous stained glass), toured the inside of portions of the castle, and walked through St. George’s basilica. The castle was amazing.
We walked back down to the city and did some souvenir shopping to pass some time while we waited for our dinner reservation. I got a cute prague beanie; carl and I couldn’t help but copy our friends and take this picture (love you ash and kins).
Our shuttle driver had recommended this restaurant on the river and so we had made reservations earlier that day. This was in all honesty the best meal I have ever had! Not necessarily because the food was to die for (don’t get me wrong it was good), but because of the atmosphere and the company. The restaurant was a boat. Yep, a boat on the river, with gorgeous views of Charles bridge and the castle all lit up. On top of that, our reservations were from 6-8 and we just thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was just a relaxing dinner; again, perfect.
Then we headed pack to the hotel, stopped along the way to pick up some groceries for breakfast, played a few card games in one of the rooms and went to bed. PERFECTION:)
Paige and I woke up a little early and went on a run. The city is hard to run in because 95% of all roads and sidewalks are cobblestone. It was a beautiful run though! We ran through old town square, past Welencas square and across Charles bridge. Afterward, we hit up the gym for a little bit and then got ready for the day. We had our little groceries for breakfast and I do not recommend milk in the Czech Republic haha. It was thick and sweet, like condensed milk or something. But luckily the yogurt was good:) So, first off we went to the Jewish quarter. I didn’t know what to expect, but this place was so interesting. This huge Jewish area somehow survived Nazi occupation. The museums and synagogues were fascinating. But, my favorite part of the Jewish quarter was the old Jewish Cemetery. Because the Jewish could only occupy certain land and it was very limited, the dead were shoved into small plots of land like this Cemetery. To save space, they would bury coffin on top of coffin or what ever else or took to get everyone to fit. It was a really humbling and reverent experience.
After touring, we spent quite a bit of time in one of the stores looking at these beautiful watercolors of the city. I got a gorgeous one for my mom!(I’m so so so sad that I left it on the train once I got back to London. I’m sorry mom) And I got my little sister a matruchka doll that I think she’ll love. I got souvenirs for the boys in Scotland and the girls in Prague:) then we were on our way back to the hotel to put our watercolors in the room when we stopped for lunch. We ate at this stand in old town square that had traditional Czech meat. They had hams roasting on a spit and sausages on the grill. I got a sausage and it was amazing!! We looked like barbarians with all of our meat:)
We kept getting side tracked on our way back to the hotel because after the meat shack we stopped at this famous chocolate shoppe. All of us girls fell in love immediately haha. I got a milk chocolate filled with orange cream; I was in love:) we stopped in a few more shops and finally made it back to the hotel. This vacation was soooo relaxing and laid back. We were all in need of a quick nap, so we took one. After getting rejuvenated, we headed back out into the city. Thursday was much colder than Wednesday. I needed my hat and my mittens, but it was a nice dry cold like home and not a humid cold like London. We went to Wenceslas square and the national museum. The museum building was beautiful and the square was a cool city center full of high end shops and restaurants. We spent a little bit of time in the museum (we were lucky it was free on Thursdays). Then Liz, Carly, Paige and I just explored. We walked around the city in different directions than we had gone before and it was fun just to explore the city.
Then we all meet up and spent just 30 minutes in this huge mall while we waited for our dinner reservations. We ate at Celinica for dinner; it was traditional Czech food. I was really nervous about it, but the food was AMAZING!!! We all ordered a traditional dish and then we took a few bites and would shift the plates to the left. It was perfect; we all got to taste everything and surprisingly, it was all good! We had goulash, fried cheese, pork roast, gnocchi, dumplings and spiced chicken. We had such a great time; I just loved our group!
After our late dinner, we just went back to the rooms. Some of us went to the gym and some of us just got comfy and read books. Then we played card games until midnight when we could celebrate Carly’s 20th birthday! We surprised her with ice cream from room service right at midnight; again, perfect.
We slept in quite a bit on Friday for Carly’s birthday and it was nice. Paige and I got up and ran again. We ran over the bridge and up to the castle. I struggled a bit with the hill but it was well worth it at the top:) Friday we decided to venture out of the city. It was a little more complicated than we had anticipated. Before, everyone pretty much had spoken English and we hadn’t had problems, but at the train station NO one spike english and we were very confused haha. After a bit of confusion and an angry Czech woman, we finally got on the right train to Karlstejn. I tried to stay awake on the train ride, but to no avail I fell asleep.
When we got to our destination we hopped off the train and found ourselves in the middle of the Czech countryside. It was gorgeous! But, we had no idea where we were and which way the castle was.
We found someone who spoke English and figured out where to go– this is when it got good!:) we walked up this canyon to get to the castle. Once you turned up the canyon you saw the cutest little fairytale village and a gorgeous castle at the top. It looked like something out of a Disney princess movie! We were all just in love! We wandered up through the village toward the castle and the views from the top were like nothing I had ever seen. We LOVED Karlstejn and never wanted to leave!
We got back to Prague, made a quick stop at the hotel and headed back out into the city. We enjoyed the night life and the river at sunset. It is just the most perfect city!! We all were content with just walking around and taking in the sights. We stopped at a shop to get this highly touristy Czech me out shirts and the Czech man forced twenty cheek kisses on Carly for her birthday. It was one of the funnier moments!:) We walked across Charles bridge one last time and stood there for a while looking at the river and the castle and just loving the moment!
We wanted to do something a bit cheaper for dinner so we headed to the mall and got some yummy Mongolian BBQ- nothin better than mall food haha. We walked around the city some more and then got waffles for dessert; the best waffle I have ever had!! Then we headed back to the hotel for the night- a little more cards and we said goodnight to Prague.
Our friend and shuttle driver Chris came to pick us up bright and early Saturday morning. I have never been so sad to leave somewhere before. I really fell in love with Prague. It will forever be Prague Perfect:)