Tam Coc Ninh Binh, Vietnam. 2008
Prague is one of the most visited cities in the world. Its wide range of attractions include the Jewish Quarter, Old Town Square (with the Astronomical Clock), Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle. The city has been a cultural, economic, and political hub in central Europe for over 500 years. As a first timer to Prague, my main interest was getting up to Prague Castle.
We stayed at the Intercontinental Prague, which is what I almost always recommend to clients. There are definitely cheaper places to stay, but the Intercontinental has the best possible location in Prague. It's on the river, and is just a short walk to Old Town Square. It's also really easy to walk up to Prague Castle from the hotel.
I really only had one full day in Prague, we arrived late in the afternoon after taking a Deutsche Bahn bus from Nuremberg. The bus ride was actually really nice. It was a double-decker with free wi-fi, and the ride through the German and Czech countryside was scenic. With only a half-day to start in Prague, we just walked to the Old Square and through the Jewish quarter. It's definitely an easy city to walk around and take in the sites.
On my only full day, we headed straight for Prague Castle after breakfast. From the Intercontinental, you cross a bridge, ascend a relatively long staircase, and you're in a park with an overlook that lays out the entire city in front of you. The castle complex is through the park, but when we were about halfway there, the sky opened up and it started raining. Really, really hard.
And rained some more.
Fortunately, there happened to be a festival in the park on the way to the castle. We got under under a circus-style tent for about two hours and it out. From there, it was just a short walk to the castle.
Prague Castle is a large complex of structures built at different periods with varying purposes. The President's official residence can be found there today, and the complex has served as the seat of power for the King of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and past President's of Czechoslovakia. The most striking building is St. Vitus Cathedral. You'll see from the pictures I post below; it's nearly impossible to get the entire structure in one frame.
As you walk up to the Castle, the first thing you see are security checkpoints; you can't forget that this site is an active, major governmental facility. After you get through the checkpoints you cross a bridge over a steep valley. In typical European fashion, a ceremonial guard stands watch at the historic entrance to the castle.
The first courtyard after the gate...
Take a left, walk through a second row of arches, and look up.
St Vitus Cathedral: Exterior
St Vitus Cathedral: Gargoyles
St Vitus Cathedral: Interior
After leaving the Prague Castle complex, we quickly walked through the Royal Gardens. It was still drizzling rain, so I didn't stick around long, but there was an interesting fountain in the garden. I'm sure there's a rich story rife with symbology for every figure on the fountain, but without a guide, I didn't get any context.
Since we stayed at the Intercontinental, it was a quick walk back down the hill, cross a bridge, and we're at our temporary residence in Prague.
Prague at night is wonderful. We walked along the river on the cobblestone sidewalk. Prague castle is illuminated at night giving you an elegant, picturesque skyline.
I got a small taste of Prague. From the villages, towns, and cities I experienced on this trip, Prague is most definitely the city I'm most anxious to get back to.
The next morning, we flew from Prague to Stockholm on SAS. Since my sister lives in Stockholm, I got to spend a few days in the city with native guides. I won't be making a post here on Stockholm, I didn't take too many pictures, and other than walking around Ostermalm and Gamla Stan, we didn't see much I'd really encourage tourists to experience in Stockholm. We ate at some awesome restaurants and got to experience a couple parts of the city I hadn't seen before, along with a little bit of the Stockholm night life.
Born and raised in the travel industry, Avery clings to a unique and profound drive to explore the planet's people, their cultures, history and architecture, as well as natural settings, landscapes and ecosystems. Outside of his upbringing in the travel industry, Avery's higher education mainly consists of Environmental Biology and Anthropology; his knowledge in both greatly influence his travel.