My friend, Mrinal Saxena, who'd been to Prague (Capital of Czech Republic & home country of Skoda) He finds this place very romantic and has penned few words for my blog as a guest post. -Shrinidhi
Ever wondered of spending time amidst peaceful yet beautiful and historical surrounding with a tinge of romance? Prague is the place.
I was putting up at Copenhagen (Denmark) for official reasons last July when decided to visit Prague. Well, it’s not too easy to pick a weekend getaway when you are left with too many options (Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris etc...). Somehow my decision was driven by the fact that there was too much written and spoken about this place. I made necessary arrangements like booking bus tickets and hostel well in advance. Unlike India, Europe has this hostel culture prevalent which was new to me. Hostels will have dorms and multi sharing rooms. These are mostly used by backpackers and bikers. I will recommend this if you aren’t traveling with your family for the reasons like it is lot cheaper than hotels and you get to meet new people around the world.
Knowingly made a choice to make it a road trip; took a bus from Copenhagen to Prague. The bus made it on time, 12 noon which was the scheduled arrival time. Though it was a long 12 hours run from Copenhagen to Prague (via Berlin) but I should admit it was worth it – Breathtaking country sides, mesmerizing landscapes, green fields uncovering the mighty wind mills. Undoubtedly, the serene beauty will linger into the heart of any traveler. If you have a time constraint, flight may be the viable option. (Related: Copenhagen to Berlin by Bus)
First thing first, this famous capital of Czech Republic is actually called ‘Praha’. Bus stand was right in the center of the city and looked like pretty old. You will find all the amenities like currency exchange, ATM , food joints and tourist information center. I made a point to collect city map and then rushed to my hostel (Traveler’s Hostel). I opted for a four bed room and to my surprise I was the first one to check in for that given day. Without wasting much time, I planned on places to cover in two days.
City has plenty to offer in terms of must visit places. Prague is divided into two – New town and Old town, separated by a river. You will find most of the commercial units including hotels, offices etc. in the New town whereas Old town hosts mostly places of historical importance. Narrow streets all around will be a delight for people who love to walk and enjoy the delicacies of local shops. Trams running on the street are one of the attractions of the city (you will find this in most of the European nations). No skyscrapers and no sign of urban industrial city sets up the perfect backdrop for a memorable holiday. The best in the city is the Charle’s bridge – the bridge connecting old and new town. The bridge is testimony to the marvelous architecture and the historical events city has went through. It will be overly crowded during most time of the day. Early morning is the recommended time. The bridge takes you to the Old town on the other side. As the name suggests, this happens to be the old city wherein Prague castle is situated. The hilly mounts in the old town reminded me of hill stations in India. With fair amount of steep steps, I reached ‘Prague Castle’. The castle on the top of the old town is beautiful indeed. Optionally, one can hire guide to go around the castle I chose to do it on my own. The panoramic view of the city from the castle will leave you spellbound. It is now when I realized the aesthetic and uniform layout of the city – looks like a sheet of red cover settling on the ground with green mountains emerging from the background. It will take good amount of time to go around the entire castle. I was back to ‘Old town square’ – the center place in the city. Old town square is a happening place with lively surrounding. One can pause to munch over eateries at any of the restaurants here. Famous astronomical tower can be found here as well.
Other must-visit places include – river cruise, Jews colony and National museum. Two days are enough to cover major destinations within the city.
Tip – You will not like the city if history doesn’t appeal you.
Flight booking: www.momondo.com
By MRINAL SAXENA