Moving right along into part 5 of my adventures in Europe (wow, already at part 5?! Unbelievable!), next destination is none other than Prague, Czech Republic! 😀
Yes, after Brussels, I officially bid goodbye to Belgium to fly over to Prague for the next four days of my vacation. But before that, I had to get to Paris, in order to take the airport out to Prague! That being said, I did another coivoiturage (“carpool”) with Blablacar (the first having been to Lille) from Brussels to Paris. My driver was a Belgian man, and I went along with three other French people, all in their twenties. Didn’t interact with them too much, because I was tired (and kept dozing off during the three, four-hour trip) and also didn’t feel up-to-par with my French to converse with them extensively (also due to shyness).
Any case, the driver was kind enough to drop me off at Charles de Gaulle airport (which wasn’t the intended destination, but was on the way, anyway), and I officially arrived in Paris past 10:30 pm. My flight wasn’t due until the following morning at 7:30 am, so I spent the night at the airport, trying to sleep on the uncomfortable seats and whatnot. Woke up around 4 or 5 am to get ready to check in and get some breakfast at a bakery in the airport. Boarded the plane at 7 am, and it took off shortly thereafter. Arrived at 9 am in Prague, and spent the next four, five hours chilling out in there, since I had planned to meet up with the other assistant who was visiting Prague as well; she was coming in during the afternoon, so I just sat around until then.
She arrived, and we set off together to our hostel, which was located near the heart of the city. Took the bus, then the metro over, and arrived to check in in the late afternoon. Considering that I was panicking over my bedbug situation from Brussels (in case you missed the story, click HERE), I was desperately figuring out how to get my clothes and bags cleaned, which may or may not have been contaminated with those damn critters. Eventually, I gave all of my clothes and bags to the hostel staff for special treatment, and bought some clothes at the nearby department store to wear as I waited for the clothes to be cleaned. I ended up just staying on my first day in Prague. Got some drinks with the teaching assistant at the hostel’s bar, and called it a night.
The next day, I received my clothes and bags back from the staff, but apparently the dryer had broke, so my stuff was still damp and everything. Frustrated, I had to wait until the following day to go over to the nearest Laundromat and ask for my clothes to be washed (again), as well as dried (it was closed on Sundays). In any case, I headed out to town for some exploring- came across a Czech restaurant that was recommended on the map that I was given at the airport, and decided to have lunch there.
Now, from what I had in Prague, it appears that Czech food is a blend of Hungarian and German food, with its sausages and beer and goulash. Hearty food, especially for a wintry day. I ordered the beef goulash with bread dumplings (the latter which are basically steamed bread) along with a Pilsner Urquell beer, famous for being made in the Czech Republic.
Afterwards, I headed out to Old Town Square, the city center where tons of tourists go to see the beautiful architecture, as well as the famous astronomical clock and the hundreds of souvenir shops for shopping. Lovely…
Past by Saint-Nicholas Church, where I saw that there was a classical concert being performed later that evening. Purchased a *relatively inexpensive* ticket for 5 pm, then set out towards the famous Charles Bridge. Always packed with buskers and tourists alike, this particular bridge was built during the 14th century, and has been praised for its Gothic and Baroque architectures:
After crossing over, I decided to hike up to Prague Castle, another famous landmark for the city known for having seated Bohemian kings, Holy Roman emperors, and Czech presidents. Its beauty, in my opinion, rivals that of Versailles, France, but in that medieval style.
The hike was kind of a pain (so many steps!), but made it up there and not only saw the castle, but also a glorious view of Prague from above:
Entered the castle grounds, but didn’t go inside the building itself (had to pay, and I’m cheap like that). 😛 What I did, though, was walk around the area, checking out its architecture, as well as St. Vitus Cathedral, which is actually attached to the castle itself:
Decided to go back downhill after making a loop around the castle grounds, and passed by one of the many tourist stands that sold trdelnik, which tastes sort of like a cinnamon-sugar pretzel, especially in a cylinder shape. Pretty interesting!
I had about another one-and-a-half hours to chill before the classical concert at St. Nicholas Church started (of which I had purchased tickets earlier that day), so I checked myself into a KFC (yup, fast-food commercialism…) to use its WiFi until 4:30 pm, when doors opened.
Went to the church promptly at 4:30 pm, and seated myself at the front of the altar, where the musicians were to perform. The concert consisted of a trio– a violinist, an oboist, and a pianist– who played a mixture of different pieces from different composers (Bach, Schubert, Massenet, and of course, the country’s own Dvorak) for about an hour. I’m a fan of classical music, having grown up with it as a child with my dad’s classical CD collection and having been trained through the piano and violin.
But the concert itself didn’t particularly interest me, as I found the performers rushing the pieces (I suppose to make it one hour), without much regard for nuance. Admittedly, the pianist’s solo on Schubert’s “Impromptu Op. 90, no. 4” was pretty good, and I ended up discovering a lovely piece to listen to!
Concert ended at 6 pm, and by then it was already dark. Caught a lovely glimpse of the moon in Old Town Square as I was walking back to my hostel:
Got back, and turned in for the night. Tired, but feeling accomplished, I showered and refreshed myself before hitting the sack, resting up for more days, more adventures in Prague.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post (and final travel installment!) of my visit to Prague. Take care! 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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