Prague – The Fairytale City
(For more photos from Prague, check out the slideshow at the bottom of this post)
Prague looks different from any city I’ve visited so far. Walking around, I felt like I had stepped into the village from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The gingerbread-house style architecture and cobblestone streets make it feel like you’re in a fairytale.
It’s a colourful city. Buildings are varying shades of orange, peach, pink and blue, and the roofs are coppery red. I definitely went overboard on the number of landscape photos I took.
I had heard Prague was famous for its food so I splurged a whopping 200 koruna (about $10 Canadian) on a traditional Czech meal of beef goulash and dumplings. I guess they’re big on meat and starch here because Czechs often pair large chunks of pork and beef with potatoes or bread for dinner. Totally okay with me, I could have eaten a second helping of goulash. It was packed with flavour, like eating beef stew made in a slow-cooker.
I was really excited to visit the Royal Palace. I actually decided to stay in a hostel that was right beside it because I have an obsession with all things princess-y. But the Prague Castle was a bit of a let-down for me. It doesn’t really look like a castle. It’s more of a giant semi-circle of buildings at the top of a hill with an enormous cathedral in the centre.
And I goofed the day I decided to tour it. I cheaped out and didn’t pay extra for an audio guide. There are signs to read that tell you a bit about each building, but I found I didn’t learn as much as I normally do. I wanted to know more about which buildings were original and which ones were actually part of the palace. If I did it again I’d definitely want a guide.
Everyone says Prague is a great city for backpackers because it’s so cheap, but you have to be careful. In touristy areas food and drinks are still really overpriced. But if you venture outside the main streets, the prices are mind-blowing. I bought two 0.5L beers from a grocery store for 8 koruna each. Twenty koruna is equal to $1 Canadian, so that means those beers cost me about 80 cents. Beer is actually cheaper than water here. Amazing.
On a completely uncultural, unhistorical note, I went on an epic pub crawl in Prague with an Aussie and a group of Vancouver-ites staying at my hostel. First pub crawl I’ve done since the epic beer-hangover in Bruges. Happy to say I didn’t lose my bus pass or room key this time. Can’t say I didn’t have a hangover though.
OLD TOWN HALL: Famous for its fancy astronomical clock from the 1400s. At the top of the hour, tourists gather to watch the twelve apostles circle through two little blue doors before a rooster pops out. Watch the show, but climb to the top of the tower afterward for a great view of the Old Town Square.
PETRIN HILL: The big green space to the left of the palace. I spent a lovely Sunday morning wandering through here. Stunning view of the city.
NEXT STOP: Vienna, Austria