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Berlin and Prague Day 5 - Exploring Prague.

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Mags, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    After a good night's sleep for us all we headed down to have breakfast. Although the hotel is what I would call a very good clean basic hotel, the breakfast was anything but basic. This is easily the best breakfast I have had at any hotel Ive stayed in. The choice was never ending. There was a wide choice of sausages, bacon, cold meats, cheeses, fruit and vegetables, delicious breads and rolls as well as yoghurts and cakes. I only took a few photos of our plates but you get the idea.

    Wonderful breakfast buffet at our hotel

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    This was our day for exploring Prague. We had planned to go to the Old Town (coffee stop first of course) and then make our way around the area. Then we were off to walk across the Charles Bridge and explore what is known as the Lesser Town. We caught the underground train close to our hotel and made our way to Wenceslas Square. It isnt a square at all, rather a boulevard. There isnt a lot to see except some historic buildings and lots of shops. Here's one for Jean. ;)

    Wenceslas Square - C&A
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    On our mission to find one of the TA recommended cafes we came across this guy.

    Reminds me of the seat at Raglan Rd
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    We then came to Cafe Gourmand where we stopped for our first coffee of the day. The coffee was very good and the array of cakes looked yummy. Unfortunately we could only do justice to one piece of Sachertort between three of us.

    Cafe Au Gourmand
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    We wanted to go back to see the Astronomical Clock in daylight to see it striking on the hour as well as to see the Trumpeteer play from the clock tower. Everywhere we looked we saw beautiful or unusual buildings and I particularly liked this one.
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    It was almost 11am and the crowds were moving towards the square and the clock.

    Heading to the Old Town
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    Waiting for the clock to strike 11.
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    Trumpeteer at the Astronomical Clock
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    I had heard that this was a favourite spot for pickpockets as well as on the Charles Bridge, so I had attached a small TSA lock to my hand bag and Kathryn had one on the main compartment of her backpack.
    Just off the Old Town Square are lots of nice little side streets. As we went up one in particular I spotted a Sex Toy Museum. At this point David and Kathryn were massively embarrassed and were trying to push me past, but I wasnt having any of it and asked them if they would like to change plans and we could all go in and have a look! The unanimous answer was a VERY loud NO! I even offered to walk in front as I thought it could be very interesting but by this point both were shoving me out of the building. They didnt reckon on my resilience and the fact that you cant shove someone with a camera! I still managed to get these photos before they made a run for it. Next time we go back, I am going to visit whether they are with me or not.

    Sex Toy Museum
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    Further on up the street we came to a lovely shop called Manufaktura. It is a bit like the Body Shop, only with much nicer stuff as well as lots of little Czech craft items. The shop was huge and I loved it
    Manufaktura
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    We then took a turn down another side street where there were lots of street traders selling decent quality items but just had a look and didnt buy. I saw this building and had to snap

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    and then spied a Segway Tour heading our way.. Even at speed he was still able to hand out leaflets to us. I thought that it looked like fun but across those cobbles, Im not so sure that I would have remained upright!

    Segway Tour
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    At every turn the architecture was just stunning and so I had to take another photo

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    We could see that Prague was a lively city with lots of musicians and advertisers. There were buskers and advertisers everywhere

    Buskers
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    This guy had to be one of the strangest. We passed him a number of times during the day and wondered how on earth he could put up with carrying a Buddha on his back all day long.

    Weird man with a Buddha on his back advertising a massage parlour
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    As we strolled on towards the Charles Bridge through the network of lovely little cobbled streets, we noticed just how crowded the city was. We didnt think that it would be like this in September but the owner of the restaurant that we had eaten at the night before told us that September is one of the busiest months in Prague along with April.

    One of the many lovely little cobbled streets
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    Everywhere we walked we saw these lovely cars taking people around the city. I think it cost anot £60 per car for a one hour ride'

    Would have loved to have had a ride in this
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    As usual, I got 'snap happy' when I came across buildings that I particularly liked.
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    David was our map reader and by now we were getting close to the historic Charles Bridge. It is amazing just how picturesque it was everywhere we walked. As we got closer to the bridge there were also more 'tat' shops and street artists.

    Heading towards Charles Bridge
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    We saw this guy levitating but even I could work out how he did that!

    Levitating
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    Entrance to Charles Bridge
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    The bridge was totally heaving but the view from it on either side over the river was wonderful.

    View from the bridge towards the castle
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    On the other side of the bridge
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    Some of the many statues and religious structures on the bridge – there are around 30 in total
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    Buskers on the bridge
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    As we exited the bridge and headed into the Lesser Town, I couldnt help notice just how beautiful it was as well.

    Heading to the Lesser Town
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    By this time it was almost 1pm and we knew exactly where we wanted to eat. We had found another TA recommendation and got our map out to try and find it. As we were walking along we bumped into the guy we had sat beside on the train from Berlin and said hello. Five minutes later we found the restaurant.
    It wasnt at all busy. The server was very attentive and gave us a few recommendations. As far as I was concerned, it was beer time first. We had some very nice proper cold Czech Bud and then chose our food. Kathryn went for the ravioli which was deliciously cheesy and garlicky.

    Food
    Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli
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    David went for this and enjoyed it a lot.

    Cows cheeks with linguine
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    I had this salad. It was excellent. The oil was intense – a very good virgin oil and it was proper buffalo mozzarella

    Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
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    Beer
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    Feeling full and not having had to pay more than £30 for our meal, we started walking back towards the Lesser Town. We saw these two guys in this tethered balloon. No way could you get me up on that thing!

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    And this gorgeous building
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    We took a last look back at the Lesser Town as we headed back into the Old Town
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    I took one last photo of a building.There are quite a few embassies in the area and I believe this is the Serbian Embassy
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    As we walked acrosss the bridge, Kathryn prodded me and said, 'Look Mum at the lady in the kimono' I said, 'Where?' She said, 'Straight ahead'. I couldnt for the life of me see her no matter how often I looked. Eventually I did but only after having been told numerous times, 'In front of you'. We still laugh about it.

    Lady in a kimono
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    Stopping to take in the view
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    We had decided that the next thing we wanted to do was to head towards the historic Jewish Quarter of the town. We had a downloaded map and it was easy to find. We walked past the Prague Opera House on our way

    Opera House
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    I havent read up much on the Jewish history of the city but next time I go I will for sure and would love to visit the Jewish Cemetery and go inside some of the synagogues.

    Jewish Quarter
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    Hebrew Clock
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    Synagogue Door
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    The synagogues and architecture in this area were just beautiful and we spent quite a while wandering around and wishing that we had read a little more before we visited . As we turned the corner there was a large very beautiful building (a Jewish restaurant) which was heaving as it was the Sabbath. David pointed out to me an Orthodox family sitting outside paying by debit card. Seemingly they do not handle money on the Sabbath.

    Jewish Restaurant
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    The restaurant is on one of the poshest streets in Prague and one littered with designer shops. That holds no interest whatsoever for me. Instead, I was keen to have a cup of coffee and visit one of the best known cafes in Prague – The Bakeshop.
    The food, whether savoury or sweet is delicious. We shared a piece of chocolate loaf cake and although it looked like nothing special it was so good. It was moist with ground almonds and lots of chocolate and of course was made with butter. The coffee was delicious too. Best of all it is a great place for people watching. We grabbed a window seat and watched the red cars and limousines that take people around the city go by as well as the servers at the James Dean restaurant across the road who darent lean over as their skirts were so short anyway!

    The Bakeshop
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    Our view from the Bakeshop
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    And another
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    Having had a very pleasant sit down and cup of coffee we set off again towards the Old Town as we wanted to climb the tower for a view over the city. On the way we came across a statue of Prague's very famous son, Kafka.

    Kafka
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    Once at the Clock Tower entrance we paid our £3 each and climbed to the top for the view. It was well worth it . It is hard I know to appreciate the full beauty of a city from a set of photos, but believe me, it was beautiful up there.

    Views from the Clock Tower
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    I loved in particular this view over towards Prague Castle.

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    We were pretty flaked by this stage and had walked all day long. We decided to go back to the hotel for a quick freshen up and then make our way back into the town for our evening meal. On the way I spotted the Hard Rock Cafe. It is so beautiful and is covered with frescos on the outside.

    Hard Rock Cafe
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    Once back at the hotel we took an hour or so t rest before hitting the town again. We had chosen a French restaurant to eat at. It was quite a distance away so having walked a fair distance we hoped that the food would be good. There was no one else there except an English family.
    Now this restaurant gets very very high ratings on TA but we thought that it was very ordinary. The portion sizes were minute. Kathryn and I had the boar. It is difficult to tell from the plate but there was so little food there that we finished it in two minutes flat. There wasnt even a sign of a vegetable.. David's 'gourmet' burger was a bit better in terms of quantity but the taste was nothing special. We were still all hungry so Kathryn and I ordered strudel and David had a chocolate fondant. The strudel was soggy and the ice cream cheap and nasty. David's fondant was thimble sized. I did have rather good beer so that helped ease the disappointment of a poor meal.

    Evening meal
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    After the disappointment of our meal we decided to have a stroll along the river. Again there were some amazing buildings but the quality of the photos isnt great. I loved this one in particular.

    Goethe Institute
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    The Dancing House has to be one of the strangest buildings in the city but I loved it!

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    We walked to the underground station and made our way back to the hotel. The problem was we walked past a Mexican Bar/restaurant and they had a cocktail menu. There was no way I was missing out on that. In we went and one Long Island iced tea, a strawberry margharita and a sex on the beach later we were all ready to flop.
    Cocktails
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    What a great day we had had. We were all taken aback by the beauty of Prague.

    Mags
  2. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    So enjoying these reports and photos. What a wonderful time you had!

    I've never thought about visiting here, but now with your reports and photos, I'd love to!
  3. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    This is really just soooo cool! :yes:

    It's like a mini-travelogue for places I'll likely never get to see.

    Tom :)macwave:... many thanks! :thumbsup:)
  4. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Oh my, such a full day. I'm quite sure I would have been worn out trying to fit that much into one day. Prague looks like a lovely city. Question though, did you actually pay in Pound Sterling or is that the converted rate?

    I would love to be able to take a trip like this. Thanks for sharing with us.
  5. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    It looks amazing Mags :yes:

    Chris never wants to visit anywhere in Europe, I've been showing him your reports and photos and he seems to have changed his mind a bit.

    Was that really a C & A! I can remember them when I was younger, all my clothes seemed to come from there :lol:
  6. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    It is such a beautiful city but we were even more taken aback on Day 6 when we visited the castle area of the city. I know you know Berlin and there is no way I would call it a beautiful city but still, out of all the places I have visited I have far more of a fondness for Berlin - I think it is a history 'thing'. Travelling between Berlin and Prague is so easy by train and not at all expensive. We paid in Czech currency but all the time my brain was converting back to sterling. :lol:

    That was a C&A and there was an M&S too as soon as we stepped off the underground. I took the photo really for a friend who loves Berlin and is going to Prague next year. She is a big C&A fan! lol

    Mags
  7. foreverducky
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    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

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    Okay, I'm officially in love with Prague! Those buildings were amazingly beautiful! Thank so much for letting us enjoy your trip with you! You will obviously have wonderful memories with your children.

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