To follow up on the last post: Sweden accepted my visitors permit application. Thanks Sweden, you are so much better than Germany!
I arrived in Prague somewhat bleary eyed, but excited nonetheless to get back into the swing of things. After finding and checking in to my hostel I realised I might have a chance of catching the last walking tour of the day if I was exceptionally successful in a quick mission to the city center. Sadly, a tram cancellation sandbagged me and I was not successful at all. Having missed the (official) version, I set out to do my own walking tour. The tour guide (me) was exceptionally knowledgeable and very handsome. What a guy.
The center of Prague has ridiculous beauty that is matched only be it’s extreme touristiness. I shudder to think what Italy is going to be like when I visit right in the middle of high season. Probably a lethal dosage of tourists. And I’m one of ’em.
During my aimless wandering stint, I’m stumbled across something pretty great (as I often seem to do). It seemed like a sizeable Lego store, and my unbridled love for Lego drew me in. But aside from being a top notch place to browse Lego sets (and allow myself to pretend I might buy one sometime), I soon discovered it was hiding an entire multi-story Lego museum! I was the oldest patron in there (by about 15 years), but it was awesome! Aside from all the impressive Lego creations, it was a wonderful stroll down memory lane as I spotted all the sets we had as kids. “Ahhhh! It’s that thing! We had one of those! That was the best!”
Aside from Lego, the rest of the day was regular European city fare: churches, streets, badgers, squares, statues and so on. But all picturesque and interesting because it’s Prague and Prague is like that. When I got back to my hostel I realised I had left half of my travel adaptor on the bus and had grapple with the most confusing electronics store in the world to buy a new one. I slept like a rock despite sharing a dorm with some loud and obnoxious Australian bros (seemingly the default inhabitant of European hostels).
The next day began with another desperate scramble to make it in time for the walking tour. Though this time it was the first of the day rather than the last. Also, this time I totally made it in time, barely. And I’m glad I did because I got the best tour guide I’ve had so far. Someone with actual comedic qualities and plenty of good stories. After the tour I was pointed to a traditional Czech place to eat lunch. Unsurprisingly, “Traditional Czech” also meant “No English whatsoever”, so I ended ordering completely blind (which is what I often prefer to do any way).
After lunch I decided to check out the castle. Prague features the largest castle complex in the world, and visiting it required a walk across a bridge and up a sizable hill. Said walk proved very distracting as I came across some fantastic gardens and the National Gallery, which I decided to check out.
The Prague National Gallery is by far the most heavily secured museum I’ve been too. Watchful stewards are positioned at almost every piece, ready to chastise those who foolishly try to steal royal jewels or take photographs of old books.
Other than that, good museum. Lots of stuff that’s historically relevant to Prague. My hike to the castle also featured a visit to the cathedral of St. Nicholas, which would pretty high on my list of cathedrals and churches if I could be bothered to make such a list.
The castle complex itself ain’t too shabby either. It’s like an entire separate village with a fantastic view of Prague and a really, really impressive church. I explored the castle and eventually wandered back down through all the amazing little streets and crossed the famous Charles bridge. The highlight of which was one again getting mesmerized by the incredible portrait artists.
Day three of Prague began with the castle again. This time I took the metro all the way to the back of the complex and explored the royal gardens. I went through some bits of the castle I hadn’t seen and then made a huge loop via the all the parks on that side of the river. I also spend a good hour or so by the metronome just lazing about and watching skateboarders before eventually crossing the river back to the city center.
I really wanted to see the Slav Epic, but foolishly left that to my last day, which also happened to be the one day the exhibit was closed. So I had to settle for the Mucha museum instead, which was cool, but really just made me want to see the Slav Epic even more.
For supper I managed to find a place offering a three course Czech meal for just 140 Koruna. Awww yisss.
So yeah, Prague was pretty great. I didn’t really hang out with any locals or venture outside of the touristy areas to get a feel for life there. But as a tourist destination, it’s beautiful, interesting and cheap too.