Readers: I’ve been falling behind on my posts lately! A couple weekends ago, we took a trip to the Czech Republic for the first time. Prague is a very popular destination for our friends who live here, and we finally decided to make the 2.5-hour drive and see it in all its Christmas glory.
We traveled with a couple friends, and met up with a few more friends once we were there. Instead of driving all the way into the city, we parked on the outskirts at an overnight parking lot and took the metro to Old Town. It added about 30 minutes to our trip, but it only costs a few hundred Crown (a few bucks).
We de-boarded the metro at Old Town Square, the central “hub” of historic Prague, and were immediately blown away by the sights. I quickly realized why Prague is called “The City of a Hundred Spires.” Many buildings are capped with dark, pointy, Gothic, bat-like steeples.
Walking in the shadows of these towering, imposing structures gives you an eerie and reminiscent feeling of Medieval torture, yet you can’t help but stop to stare and notice how beautiful and detailed everything is.
The Gothic city was bustling with tourists and locals alike, all of them exploring the historic sights in Old Town Square and walking about the Christmas Market with friends and family.
Our first stop was the Astronomical Clock at Old Town Hall. The Medieval clock was first installed in 1410, making it the oldest operating astronomical clock in the world.
Every hour, the four figures framing the clock move–and everyone flocks to the clock to watch it. The figures represent Vanity, Greed, Death, and Lust.
A (real) trumpeter also emerges at the top of the tower and plays a bright little fanfare that rings throughout the Square.
We stopped for lunch at a place called Meet Burger. It was American-style, and definitely not the most authentic Czech food we could’ve gotten, but we unanimously decided it was one of the best burgers we’ve ever had. I love blue cheese (despite disapproving remarks from most people I know) and got a burger smothered in wonderfully melty, smelly blue cheese and onions. And they also had hot ketchup. I’m not curious as to what this tastes like, since I despise ketchup… But hey, if ketchup is your thing, have at it.
After checking into our AirBnb, we ventured out to the Charles Bridge to meet up with our other friends, stopping briefly to admire the sights along the way. We were constantly passing street artists and performers, which means you’ll always be entertained en route to your destination!
Prague is an endless road of adventure. You don’t need an itinerary to make the most of your time there–just walk down the street and stop at places that look cool. There’s tons of them.
Once we reached the river, I couldn’t believe how serene and picturesque the view was. No matter where you affix your gaze in Prague, everything looks like a painting.
We admired at the Castle District across the river over a fence adorned with love locks.
The Charles Bridge was packed elbow-to-elbow with hundreds of other people hoping to catch the same view of the sunset. I’ve seen some awesome sunsets in my life, but this one has to be in the top three. The colors gradually changed from a golden haze on the horizon to deep purple and hot pink cotton candy.
There was something about being in Prague with friends, walking over a Medieval bridge and looking back over a Gothic city that made that sunset one for the books.
Once the sun went to bed, it was finally time to go check out the Christmas Market in all its glimmering glory. And, of course, I can’t forget to mention the abundance of amazing food. Everyone was chowing down on inch-thick slabs of glistening, steamy rotisserie ham.
The most notable attraction of the Christmas market was definitely the tree. It was the best tree I’ve seen thus far.
Every hour it would suddenly go dark and the lights would start twinkling and blinking wildly to three minutes worth of blaring music from William Tell Overture while everyone would stare with their mouths agape.
Lee and I decided we wanted to climb into the tower of Old Town Hall. We waited in line for about 20 minutes to buy a ticket, and another 20 minutes to ascend the tower. (Note: we discovered you can buy your tickets in advance online, and skip the line). There’s a tiny elevator that can take you up, or you can walk the spiraling ramp, but both take about the same amount of time–we walked. Once at the top, we had to push our way through people to actually look down on Old Town Square. It was a somewhat annoying process, but the view was totally worth it.
The next morning, we ate breakfast at Café Louvre, a quaint breakfast and brunch place in the city center. It’s a historic café that was once frequented by figures like Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein. I was a little hesitant about eating here at first, because some places can be so pretentious that you never really feel comfortable. It is decorated with pink wallpaper and gold accents, but it felt welcoming and comfortable for everyone.
I’ve never had an espresso that literally put a smile on my face, or a breakfast that made me want to get up and dance… but now I have. My meal was a trio of herbed pancakes smothered in smoked salmon and sour cream sauce and a side of baked bacon. It was the single most delicious breakfast I’ve ever had in my life.
All in all, Prague was sensational. There is something for everybody, especially those who crave an old-world Bohemian Christmas or unique experiences filled with history and whiffs of the past.