PRAGUE: Inside A Dark Fairytale Book

Thursday, September 20, 2018

We left Berlin from where we entered it. We took a 4-hour train going to the country of Czech in their city called Prague (aka Praha). Inside the train, Ate and I were in front of a couple seemingly nursing a hangover, their legs inconsiderably stretched up to our space. They also placed all their humongous backpacker bags on the floor in front of us instead of putting them on top along with the other passengers' bags so we have more space. I plugged my earphones and endured the ride.

We arrived in Prague at about past lunch time, and compared to our first two destinations, looking for our accommodation is a bit swifter thank God. I pulled my carryon through cobblestone streets, quaint medieval houses as backdrop. It was an overcast day (my kind of weather although it looks bad on photographs) that I was in such a good mood in no time!

Last night, after finishing my Kdramas (My ID is Gangnam Beauty and Best Hit), I decided to check out a travel Korean Variety Show for a change. I watched On The Border via my Viu app where the cast went to Europe with Cha Eun Woo. Hopefully not to misquote them, they mentioned these lines about Europe that struck me the most:

Maybe the beautiful place inspired so many of their people to become artists and create beautiful things. 
Or maybe, the artists lived here and made this place beautiful. It's a virtuous cycle.

I think they just put into words my first thoughts about Prague. Quite honestly, everything that I imagined about Europe I've seen in this city!

Where We Stayed?

Ate booked us in Prague EIA Centre Apartments via Airbnb, about 7 minutes away from the main train station. Much to my delight, we have our private room and shower. There's a common hallway, a toilet, a toilet-bath-laundry room, and a mini kitchen which we shared with the two other rooms. I think we paid less than Php 6000 each for our 3 nights stay here and it's well-worth the money.

Here's how our beautiful room looks like. As the owner said, it's an old house made of stone so we don't need aircon even in the summer. Our room was cool, especially during night time.

Huge bed that Ate and I comfortably shared:

We have a TV and a shower room na clear ang pinto nakakaloka (haha)

On this side is a huge cabinet that we weren't able to use, a small fridge, a full length mirror, and a chair where I usually eat my breakfast and also my fruits of the day every night:

The home owner also provided us with two bottled water and a soda and juice inside our mini ref. We were also told that the water from the sink is potable, so yey for free water for our whole stay! Hehe.

Ang cool din ng key to our apartment, old style:

Just outside our room is the mini kitchen where we can microwave, use the plates and utensils, use the coffee machine, get free treats, etc.

Here's the bigger common toilet-shower-laundry room. Ate maximized this by doing the washing machine almost the whole time we stayed here, haha!

Just outside our mint green building is already a visual feast. I am not sure what this detailed and colorful structure is but it seems to be a Jewish church.

Where To Go?

Our longest stay for this Eurotrip was here in Prague, but I think we were able to go to most of the tourist spots in just 1.5 days!! Haha! Most of the stuff were walkable, that on our first day we were able to go to a lot of them by foot.

Wenceslas Square 

Wenceslas Square is one of New Town Prague's main city squares named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. So sorry for this cliche but this World Heritage Site just took my breath away!!

Rising high on both sides are buildings of almost same height, all looking grandeur and detailed in well-coordinated color patterns. When I look at their signages more closely, they are either restaurants, modern boutiques like Sephora and Marks and Spencer, and other local and international shops and hotels. 

The brand Bata came from Czech Republic:

Looks like the Grand Budapest Hotel noh!

Old Town Square

I realized how important squares are in European countries. It is the heart of a traditional town where the community gathers. 

The Old Town Square in Prague showed us a "picture of a thousand words" when we visited it on our first night. It was a riot! 

You'll see mascots, musicians, magicians, and all sorts of entertainers in the middle. Important architectures served as borders of the square, including the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, the Prague Orloj medieval astronomical clock, The Baroque St. Nicholas Church, the Old Town Hall, and the Czech National Gallery. They also have a market, food stalls, cafes, etc. I can stay here for one afternoon just to go through its details.

Havelský Market:

The beautiful Old Town Square during sunset:

Charles Bridge

A historic wide and long bridge across the Vltava river of Prague, built under King Charles IV's reign, the Charles Bridge connects the Prague Castle and the city's Old Town. 

The bridge is decorated with 30 baroque-style statues, but I learned that they are now just replicas (maraming nawawala na parts at night!) while the original are now on display in a museum. By next year, 2019, the bridge is slate for repair which will take 20 years to finish! Narealize ko now na buti nalang we went to Prague na before this happens. Even the astronomical clock in Old Town Square is under repair while we were there.

Like a town square, Charles Bridges is full of life because of their entertainers and vendors. My favorite moment was right after the sun has set, it was dark and a bit windy as Ate and I walked across the bridge, a musician at a distance was playing a sentimental tune with his violin. 

If you have the chance, you can also climb the Old Town Bridge Tower (with fee) for a spectacular panoramic view:

John Lennon Wall

I cannot think of a direct connection between the Beatles' John Lennon and Prague, but in this city you will find the Lennon Wall. From a blank wall, they transformed it with John Lennon inspired art, quotes, and lines from The Beatles songs. During the communist regime of Gustáv Husák in 1988, students expressed their grief through writings and art on this wall calling the movement Lennonism.

Ang pinaka nakaka bilib sa lahat was even when authorities painted over the graffiti, the next day it will again be filled with poems and colors. It has now become a symbol of love and peace, and when we visited, my hippie heart felt at ease.

While we were there, a lone musician was playing Beatles songs in the middle, while selling his CD most prob of Beatles covers. 

His placard says: "I need money to repair my time machine to go back to the 60s".

St. Vitus Cathedral

Ate and I can actually stay in Prague without buying train cards, expect in that morning when we decided to visit the faraway St. Vitus Cathedral. Located within the Prague Castle Complex, I was so overwhelmed to see this Gothic Roman Catholic church, it's the first time I saw something like it. 

Inside of the cathedral are the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors.

Gargoyles and gothic style architecture:

Signs of modernity: electric candles inside the cathedral:

Tall stained glass windows:

 Church of Our Lady Victorious and The Infant Jesus of Prague

Although not as popular as St. Vitus, the Church of Our Lady Victorious is our favorite church in Prague. Ate and I visited it twice and it's not even in the Old Town Square area or near our apartment!

They have prayer cards at the back and on the sides that come in different languages from Korean to English to Spanish, etc. They also have a nativity exhibit on a corner in front of the church, and a souvenir shop outside selling nice religious medallions and pendants.

Dancing House

We took a quick visit just to see this peculiar building from the outside that they call the Dancing House. It is a standout design next to Prague's Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings! They also named it Fred and Ginger, after famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Food Trip!

Some of the yummy stuff we had from this country are the Trdelnik or "chimney cake" in any store in Old Town, Bohemia Bagel, large and chewy candies from Captain Candy, classic Czech dishes in Kolkovna Celnice, obložené chlebíčky or garnished breads at Sisters Bistro, and Prague beer!

Join A Free Walking Tour (Sandemans)

Surprisingly, we still had a lot to learn and see in Prague during our 3-hour free walking tour with Sandemans Tours. Some new sites include: the House of the Black Madonna and Museum of Cubism, Rudolfinum - Czech Philharmonic, Old New Synagogue and the Golem, Old Jewish Quarter, etc. We also had a beer break in between! 

If we had more time and budget, I also would have wanted to join another tour with them, the paid ones which include a Bohemian tour or a medieval tour. Sobrang interesting!

Charles Bridge At Night

Out of all the photos in my Eastern Europe camera roll, this night in Prague tops everything else.

I think this was during our second day, Ate said we should watch the sunset by the Charles Bridge. Sa Old Town Square palang we saw that Prague's sky is already on fire! Violet, pink, yellow and red hues painted the backdrop of this historic town. I am not sure but that was the only night when this occurred.

As we were walking towards Charles Bridge, ang dami daaaming tao! I guess it's a thing din doon to watch the sunset in this location. The crowd did not bother me though, we were all lucky to have find our own spots to watch a spectacle that doesn't cost us a thing.

Am I in Disneyland? This looks even better than a fireworks display in a theme park:

By the time the colors finally subsided, Ate and I continued on with our walk in this tiring but dream-like world.

Sabi ko nga, grabe yung pagod ko even with just few hours out in the crazy streets of Prague. Not even because of all our walkathons, but because you have to be cautious here all the time. We had incidents when our change wasn't given in full. Naka front pack ako here or may lock yung backpack ko which was a hassle every time I need to get something from my bag. Some people, even restaurant owners, can come off rude. And there's just too much tourists...

....But the view! Grabe, with just the view everything else is compensated! They're throwing to me one beautiful site after another, not even giving me the chance to think of my rants! Haha! 😂

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One Day in Norway: Oslo Observations

Next Stop: Vienna, Austria!

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