…Sharing, Winter Trip 2010…(Part 2)…Prague,The City of Fairy Tales
Sorry for the late updates because I’ve been very very busy for my study since semester started last week.
Well, for those who have been following my blog, this is the 2nd entry for the winter trip. And this time, it’s Prague or a.k.a as Praha, the city of fairy tales!
Yes, this is the 2nd time I’ve been to Prague, the reason why I went there for the 2nd time is me and Xiangyun are so in love with this place! Or maybe because we touched the statue of St Jan Nepomucky? Who knows? But we really love this city, the environment, and everything…
Talking about how to get to Prague from Berlin? Well, there are some ways for you to get there. The very 1st and the most convenient one is thru train, you can log on to the German train official website, DBBAHN to look for your suitable timetable, early booking thru internet is recommended because you can get discount for the ticket, normally the price for early birds is 29Euro, other price list are 39Euro and 62Euro one way.
The timetable for my train was 6.30am from Berlin Hbf at platform 1, which is just under the Mc Donald restaurant and will reach Prague by 11.27am sharp! (The train is very punctual!) And the view along the way was so magnificent! Pay attention when you are crossing Dresden around 8.52am, you may find something exciting because this city is so beautiful, the houses there are so unique and each of them have their own style and design, seems like what we read from the story ‘The little match girl’ from Hans Christian Andersen. (You might think that I exaggerated too much, but you can see for your self)
Buses? Of course there is bus service within the 2 cities, the ticket is cheaper especially with ISIC student card but the service is not available every day and you have to book in advance so that you can get the place. For those who wish to travel by bus, you may try Eurolines, Ecolines or Student Agency.
Prague, the city of fairy tales…
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE in 1992
“ I see a large city, whose fame touches the stars, there in the woods by the Vlata River you will find a person who is hewing the threshold (Prah) of his home and in accordance with this, you will name the city Praha” This is what the mythical princess Libuse depict how she founded and name the city Prague!
Once you enter the city, you will be greeted by a medieval city, it contains one of the world’s most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Art Nouveau to Baroque, Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern.
Vlata River divides the lesser town (where Prague Castle is located) and the old town (where astronomical clock and Tyn Church are located). The two towns are connected by Charles Bridge making the city’s landscape so picturesque! Churches, cathedrals, towers and the unique architectures intercept within the whole city making the city to look a lively fairy tales! Easily to get lost within it, and yet hard to find your way out once you are in the heart of Prague!
So, how to travel in Prague?
Prague is very easy to travel, all the main tourist hot spots are connected by fast and very comfortable metro, thanks to Soviet Union, which contributed to the subway system.
Don’t rush! That is my 1st advice while walking throughout the city. Every spot, place, square and building is so unique that you can’t find elsewhere on earth! And don’t try to save your memory card for the camera, once you step in Prague, you can never stop taking pictures because the temptation of the city is tooooooooooooooo strong! 😉
Travelling in Prague, 1st you have to visit the Nove Mesto (New Town) which symbolizes the new Czech, then Stare Mesto (Old Town) is one of the most beautiful old towns in Europe and untouched by both World Wars, crossing Charles Bridge and go to the western side of River Vltava, Mala Strana (Lesser Town) where Prague medieval castle is located. There you can have your superb view of Prague on top of the castle.
Hmmm….. So, how to start? In my opinion, why not start with Nove Mesto which is not so interesting compared with others, saving the climax of the trip a bit later to keep you overwhelmed by the tremendously nice and feel-good environment! Hehe… The reason why we have to come to Nove Mesto is because of this building, the dancing building, a very unique architecture that will amaze you when you stand in front of it! It was brought by Vlado Milunic and Frank O.Gehry in the 90ies.
Direction to the dancing building: Exit the Karlovo Namesti metro station, don’t go to Palackeho Namesti, walk to Resslova street, then you will see the magnificent building just not far away from you at the corner of the street. If you still cannot find your way, ask the people around once you reach Karlovo Namesti metro station, I’m sure they will show you the way.
After Nove Mesto, try to explore Stare Mesto which is the heart of the city! Although you can reach there by the nearest metro station, Mustek or Staromestska, but I think the best way to explore it is thru walking for those who stay in the hostel near Nove Mesto.
Old Town (Stare Mesto) is the oldest and richest Prague quarter! Along the Old Town routes, the oldest Romanesque stone buildings are preserved, which is wholly unique in central Europe. And what we can see here?
1) Old Town Square, which was an international market square which functioned here from at least the 9th century.
2) Cathedral of Our Lady before Tyn or Tyn Church. The church’s towers are 80m high and topped by four small spires. A Romanesque church which operated here since 14th century.
3) Prague Astronomical Clock, a medieval astronomical clock. To me, it is the most unique clock you’ll ever see in the world, and I must say it is one of the must-see things in our whole life! Pay attention to it, every hour from morning until night, hundreds gather at the astronomical clock on the old town square for the ‘Procession of the Apostles’. Lasting for about 5 minutes.
4) Sex Machines Museum, the only sex museum in the world solely dedicated to sex machines. (18 years old required for the entry.) 😉
After that, why not take a short walk further to Northern part of the Old Town to visit the Jewish Quarter where Old Jewish Cemetery and Old New Synagogue are located.
Well, if you think that Stare Mesto is not enough to amaze you, then walk towards Vltava River to explore more of the exciting parts of Prague. Charles Bridge!!! I think this is the only walking bridge in the world decorated with 28 statues by the best sculptors of their time. Every statue has its own uniqueness, and don’t miss the statue St Jan Nepomucky! It is said that once you touched the statue, you will definitely go back to Prague again! That what we did and we did go back to Prague for the 2nd time.
Still not satisfied? Walk further to Mala Strana (Lesser Town), the shiniest pearl of Prague (in my personal opinion)! Here is the mercantile settlement which already existed since 8th century which later turned into residence of city’s Czech aristocracy and the envoys of the surrounding rulers. Observe every building there and you will find that the architectures are different for each building, and try your best to glance thru every house marking at the entrance of the building.
So, what can you see in Lesser Town?
1) St Nicholas Church, dominates the skyline on Mala Strana. It took almost 80 years to complete and became the most representative of Prague’s Baroque religious structures.
2) Prague Castle, built around 850AD. Home to St Vitus Cathedral, St George’s Basilica and Golden lane. It is said that the Europe oldest surviving medieval castle. (Note, Prague is getting more commercialized compared with 4 years ago, when I first visited this place. You will need to buy entrance tickets for almost everywhere you go, like the Golden Lane, it was free when we went last time. This time, 250kc is required to enter it. It is a very beautiful lane and I think you must visit it even if you need to pay for it)
3) Strahov Premonstratensian Cloister, founded in 12th century. This is also another exotic place to tourists! The library here contains 130,000 books, 2500 manuscripts (the oldest one dates back to 9th century), around 1200 incunabula, and also the legacy of 1200 Czech writers. What I wanted to tell is the mural painted in the library, it is so amazing! From the mural it seems like telling you some legends which you can never forget.
Where we can take the most superb Prague view?
Well, there are some places where photographers should not missed! One of them is on top of the astronomical tower, pay attention that beside the astronomical tower, there is a small door, from there you can get to the top and capture the whole view of Stare Mesto. The 2nd place is along the Vltava River, walk along the Narodni Street where is National Theater located, then from there turn right into Smetanovo Nabi street, and from there you can capture the whole view of Charles together with Prague Castle! And finally the 3rd spot is at the Mala Strana (Lesser Town) while you are on your way to Prague Castle, Ke Hradu Street, here you can capture the whole view of Prague.
Shopping? Sure, there is a very big walking street where all the branded shops are located. Exit the Mustek metro station, they are located along the Wenceslas Square (this is also where the National Museum is located) and along the street Na Prikope.
Talking about accommodation, it is recommended to choose a hostel or a place near New Town or Old Town, so that you can spend more time in the heart of the city especially at night. During my previous visit, we stayed in a hostel which was 20minutes away by tram, in order not to miss the tram, we had to get back to our hostel early.
This time, we were ‘smarter’! hehe, we chose Ragtime! A newly renovated hostel equipped with Jacuzzi and the location is just in the heart of the city! We paid quite cheap for the 5-star accommodation. Just a small suggestion, try avoid staying at this hostel during peak seasons especially summer, this is because it has only 1 bathroom and 1 toilet, the rest of it was fine. And of course another option for you is by couch surfing. You can try get a host for free accommodation.
And another reason why Prague means so much to me is because I celebrated my 26th birthday here in Prague together with Xiangyun, it’s the best memory ever in my life!
Well, that’s all for this entry. I hope you guys get some information from here, if you got anything to ask, please feel free to do so! I would like to help you (If I know). 😉
And for my next entry, Kutna Hora, the final resting place for the skeletons… Stay tuned!