Before I get into Prague, let’s talk about the fun journey I had (yes, that was sarcasm). I left Muenchen at 5:00 and was thrilled with my top deck, plush seat on the train…until I was told that there was construction on the tracks somewhere in Germany, so I would have to get off at the next stop and take a coach bus to the next stop after that where I would board my train to Prague. That was quite the trek in itself, and then the train from that station was late. I had a whole compartment to myself until about 9:30 when a nice French woman joined me. Then, at the stop just before Prague’s main station, we just stopped. I waited…and waited…and waited…until I was told that the train was having problems so I would have to take the metro into the city centre. We were already delayed so at that point, it was about 11:30 pm and I was exhausted. I figured out the metro and finally arrived in the city centre and tried to find my hostel using my map but everything looks different in the dark…and none of the Polizei speak English. Finally, though, I arrived at Hostel MOJO (love the name!) and got checked in and ready for bed.
I didn’t have Rick Steves’ book for Prague so I was on my own for a walking tour, but I think I did a pretty good job on my own. I started the day in Wenceslas Square and then the Old Town Square where they have a famous astronomical clock. I knew I was in the right place because wow was it crowded with tourists! My mom had been to Prague a few years ago and she loved the clock…even with its rather dark backstory. The city officials commissioned the clock I think around the 13th century, but because they were so proud of their clock, they blinded the artist who created the clock so he couldn’t make one for someone else. Charming, right? Despite that, the clock is beautiful and is fun to watch when it chimes. At the top of the hour, the 12 apostles parade past the window, while below, the four anxieties of 13th century Prague are animated (Vanity, Greed, Death, and Pagan Invasion) and then the hour is rung after a rooster crows.
I was in quite a good mood after that, and then I headed to the Charles Bridge which was incredible! Check (Czech!) out the views from bridge:
Once I was on the other side, I got a coffee and took advantage of some free wifi before I continued on my tour of the city. From there, I headed to the John Lennon Wall which I had been wanting to see for quite a while. After Lennon died, fans and students began spray-painting this smallish wall near a church tucked away from the centre. They included Beatles’ lyrics, political slogans, and a picture of the legend himself, and it’s a rite of passage to see it when you visit Prague:
After I saw the wall, I went to Petrin Hill which is a park that, at the top, overlooks the city and the Prague Castle. I first headed to the Memorial to the Victims of Communism which I thought was really well-done. The memorial looks like a man deteriorating as you move along it, which is supposed to show the effects of communism. Very powerful, right?
Then I began a very long trek up the hill so I could see the view from the top. It was a fun walk since the paths are all windy and lead into each other and it was a beautiful day, so I didn’t mind the huge uphill. Check out the view!
I spent quite a bit of time in Petrin Hill, but after I left, I went back across the river (different bridge, this time) to the old Jewish Quarter where I saw a synagogue and a memorial to Franz Kafka. There was a bakeshop that I had heard great things about, so I refreshed with a cup of tea and a piece of white chocolate raspberry cake before I continued on my way. I had also heard about an “expat” English-language bookshop somewhat on my way back to the hostel, and I was dying for some English, so I headed there and had some quiet time with books. I was exhausted by that point, so I went back to the hostel and relaxed for the rest of the evening!
Inspired to be,