Yesterday Stephen and I spent the entire day in Prague, Czech Republic.
Before moving to Germany, we made a list of the top 10 places we wanted to visit. (He picked 5 places, and I picked 5.) Prague was pretty high up on the list. It’s only a few hours away from where we live in Deutschland, it’s got a lot of history, and we’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Naturally, I was over the moon to finally go for a visit.
We signed up for this trip via the MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation agency on Post). For a reasonable price, we got bus service from post to Prague, a 2 hour walking tour, the rest of the day to explore on our own, and then bus service back home. I woke up at 4 am to get ready and make it to the bus pick-up on time. Early!
We tried to sleep on the bus ride, but the bus was really uncomfortable. (Just imagine the most uncomfortable plane you’ve ever been on.) There was zero space for Stephen’s long legs. I kept telling myself that if I could survive hours seasick on the Great Barrier Reef, I could manage 2 hours on a cramped bus. It wasn’t terrible, but it was annoying.
When we got to Prague, the first stop was a lookout over the city.
Prague looks huge! (At one point in history, it was the 3rd biggest city in all of Europe behind Constantinople and Rome.) The view was obscured by the bad weather, but I was still impressed. Beautiful buildings as far as the eye could see.
It was still early in the trip, but we were already freezing. The high was in the 50′s for the day, but it felt much colder. That plus the constant rain had just about everyone in our group shivering. (Some of our fellow tourists were wearing shorts or going sans jackets. I was bundled up and still cold to the bone.)
Our next stop was one of the many town squares in Prague.
All along the way our tour guide would stop to give us information about what we were seeing. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the best tour guide. She would turn away while she was talking. Her voice wasn’t very loud, and she didn’t use a microphone. As a result, I gave up on trying to listen to what she was saying. We still followed the group (for fear of getting lost or deserted), but I didn’t get too much information from the 2 hour walking tour.
The last stop of the tour was the Charles Bridge. (The bridge is that big stoney thing on the left side of the first picture.) The bridge is 655 years old. I don’t know if that’s old for a bridge, but it seemed old. We had the choice to either go over the bridge and see the other side of Prague or stay on our side for the remaining time that we had on our hands. Stephen and I were starving, so we decided to backtrack and eat at one of the many restaurants we passed.
Mushroom risotto with a few other veggies and topped with cheese.
He had traditional Czech food complete with duck, cabbage, and bread dumplings. We enjoyed a long, leisurely lunch. We were able to warm up in the cafe and the service was muy bien! I have declared it the best service we’ve had in all of Europe. The woman who waited on us was so wonderful.
After some eats, it was back into the streets of Prague hit up as many malls as possible. We had heard tales of the excellent shopping. Krones aren’t worth that much compared to euros or dollars. ($100 euros got us $2,300 krones!) But it seemed to me stuff still cost the same. A McDonald’s burger is $35 krones, which is in the neighborhood of two bucks. That’s about right. No major steals or awesome deals were found, so we didn’t end up buying much. Stephen got two cigars and I got a new scarf.
The rain eventually let up and we were able to enjoy a street fair that was taking place. It was basically “Taste of Czech” with inexpensive beer, wine, and food from all of the country. I got a small glass of wine and a sugary pretzel treat. Stephen got a sausage. We thoroughly enjoyed the people-watching in this area.
Before long, it was time to head back to the bus for the 5 pm departure time, and we were back home by 9 pm. Geronimo has asked that we never leave him alone all day again.
I had high expectations of Prague, and in the end, it was just kind of ‘eh.’ You can blame it on the lackluster tour guide, the crummy weather, the constant warnings about pick-pockets, or the fact that I’m traveled out. In the end, I think it comes down to my own high expectations. I thought it was going to be “wow!” but instead I kept thinking, “I like Salzburg better.” As of now, we want to visit some of our other must-see places, but I’m hoping we can go back to Prague on a better day and get a better experience out of it.*