This is part 3 of our series on our European Holiday 2015 covering the month of August (one more post to go!). We have been to England, France and Austria and for this post – the Czech Republic, particularly Prague, is the focus. Right now we are in London and the tour is ending…..it feels kind of sad as I used to live here and have many happy memories. Anyway, let’s go on with the post. This is the view of the city on top of the hill at Hradcany. You can also see Charles Bridge. 🙂
I have never been to Eastern Europe so I was really excited to visit Prague. I have seen photos of this magnificent city so I knew it would be fantastic but my sense of sight was still totally blown away with the beauty of its surroundings. It is fairy-tale like in grandeur, indeed and that’s how I felt walking along the streets of Prague. It was as if I was transported to another time! It was an awesome experience and hope you enjoy the wonderful sights as you browse the photos.
We began our tour at the foot of the hill (the lowest area near us anyway) that goes up to the Prague Castle. We decided to go to the castle complex first because our hotel, thankfully, was quite near it. It was a short walking distance just abut 15 minutes (assuming you never stop for any photos which for sure you will as there are many picturesque spots!). And so we had to stop to take a photo of this lovely house – shame I didn’t take a better angle here. Nonetheless, this was our starting point.
Near the top of the hill this is the view that immediately faces you. It was a little cloudy when we were there and the hotel staff told us that it often rains in Prague but thankfully that does not distract from the view. As my hubby said, who’s been to Prague before, a perfect weather is not necessary in Prague as the buildings are all colorful and always look delightful. I cannot agree more. We did’t let the cloudy weather get in our way of enjoying the view. Truth is we were happy with the cooler temps here (lower 20s in celsius) as previously in Germany and Austria, we experienced some heatwave with temps of up to 36 degrees celsius so this cooler temp was a welcome relief, indeed!
Another quick look before we checked out the cathedral by the castle. I don’t have photos of the castle front as some construction was going on though we got to view portions of it. It’s believed to be largest ancient castle in the world.
The marks of the passage of time show how very old the cathedral is. It is quite blackish as you can see and like many medieval churches the gargoyles make them look really eerie. While the gargoyles are meant to illustrate evil in its form, it has some practical use – to divert the water away from the building when it rains – like a medieval gutter in a scary form.
The historic Charles Bridge is a pedestrianized passage that leads to the Old Town. It was getting a little dark already so we stopped at a restaurant and had dinner first before we went to the Old Town to view it at night.
There were literally hundreds of people in the Old Town Square even late at night. Our hotel staff advised us to check it out at night because the buildings were all lit up. However, since there were a gazilion tourist in Prague at this time she suggested going there at midnight (yup, you read that right!) or at 6 am to avoid the overwhelming crowd. Since we had the kids with us we knew we couldn’t wait for midnight and dared to go at around 10:30 pm but the crowd was still large even though the night was getting late. But it was worth it – as the views were lovely even at night.
The view of the Prague Castle at night from Charles Bridge at the Old Town. This was the location of our hotel. It is called Mala Strana (Little Quater or Lesser Town), the district just below the castle complex by the river bank.
Once you cross the river via Charles Bridge this is what you see. It can get busy in the mornings with buses, trams and pedestrians all crossing through here. I believe the clock tower here belongs to the St. Nicholas Church. This was nearing midnight so it’s a bit quieter now.
We woke up early the next day to get an unobstructed view of the Old Town – a must if you wish to take good photos of the city square without the crowd getting in the way. So glad to find the beetle was still parked there so I took another quick shot so you can see the difference in the night and day shot.
When you go to Prague you’ll find yourself crossing the Charles Bridge many times (as we did) as it connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town. It can get very busy as you can imagine with many tourist taking photos of the fantastic views of either side of the river bank. On the busiest time of the day, you would also find some vendors plying their trade and some musicians entertaining the pedestrians.
This bridge is perhaps as romantic as the one in Paris near Notre Dame as not just once but at least 2-3 times we saw newlywed couples having their photos taken by the bridge. I guess, like us, they were taking advantage of the perfect lighting early in the morning and because the weather was actually dry.
Beautiful sunrise at Charles Bridge! I apologize that my photos really don’t do much justice to the grandeur of the place. The place looks almost surreal when you walk with all these statues looking at you. It’s like you’re in a different world and in a different time and not August 2015 – Prague. The emotions it evokes as you cross the bridge is not just of awe but pure excitement.
In the middle of the square you see the statue of John Huss – the Bohemian forerunner of Protestantism ahead of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. He was a Christian reformer who was burned at stake for “heresy” against the doctrines of the Catholic Church. He is hailed as a champion of religious freedom for the Czech people.
William and Sophie.
Another portion of the Square with the John Huss monument.
And, naturally, we saw another newlywed pictorial. All of them were Chinese – that’s truly fascinating!
Time to say goodbye to the Old Town as we prepare to go back to our hotel for breakfast. But before we do so, just wanted to share some yummy snack we often ate while we went around town.
This was our family’s favorite and can be found all over the city – Trdelnik – a traditional cake and sweet pastry made from rolled dough wrapped around a cylinder, grilled and then rolled in a cinnamon sugar, walnut mix. Even from a distance you can smell it’s delightful cinnamon-scented aroma! Definitely, something you have to try when you visit Prague!
Sophie loved this pastry for sure and so did we!
We were located at the embassy area of Prague in the Little Quarter so every morning we were there and were greeted by the sight of the German embassy, directly in front of us. Anyway, time to end another tour of Europe in this post. Until the next one – the last one in the series featuring Germany. Hope you enjoyed browsing and learned a little about Prague. Definitely, the highlight of our trip!