Fellow Traveler does your heart long for the sound of Mozart as you thumb through the literature of Franz Kafka while strolling through Royal Gardens among dwellings of serfdoms past?
When I think of all things Bohemian, I think of the romantic city of Prague or Praha as spoken in the native tongue. Prague is a cultural plethora of past and present royals, peasants, composers, musicians, writers, and artists. Kings and legends were born there and Saints were martyred in its streets. Prague is an entity unto itself where dragons were slain, wars raged, musical masterpieces were composed, classic literature was penned, and grand works of art painted. Today the lanes and byways are peopled with souls seeking inspiration and kindred spirits. If you have a yin for creative influences, diverse populations and cultures, Prague is sure to satisfy. Visit here for more information.
To get a feel for the city. start by taking in the Old Town Square and the wealth of museums and galleries throughout.
Restaurants offer anything from pizza and burgers to authentic Czech food, and there are many opportunities to find just the right souvenir for your loved one back home. Make time to enjoy the markets, vendors and street food. You may pick up an item you really love for an awesome bargain.
Trdelnik is an interesting pastry that you may like. Click here to learn how to pronounce it. Click here to learn the history of and how to make it.
Check out the street musicians and artist along the way.
My adventure to Prague began on an express train from Berlin along the Elba River in full appreciation of the breathtaking scenery leading into the Czech Republic. From the Prague Central Station to our hotel the cab driver, in his best broken English, kindly gave an unsolicited guided tour of the city starting with the Dancing House, Wenceslaus Square (Named after Good King Wenceslaus), and Old Town Praha.
Great Hotels Throughout the City
We stayed in the Aria Hotel at the heart of Prague. The Aria is a wonder all its own with each of its 51 rooms is decorated in honor of a different composer or musical artist. The Chief Concierge welcomed us with a tour of the four star hotel, featuring accommodations like a music library and concierge service, a private cinema, a fitness center, a private entrance to the Vrtba Gardens , a baroque garden and historical hidden treasure where one may enjoy a romantic private dining experience upon request.
The Winter Atrium at the Aria Hotel serves high tea every afternoon for guests to wind down to live music after a long day of site seeing. The Coda Restaurant with an award winning chef, provides fine dining in, as well as on the rooftop terrace for intimate dining under the stars with a panoramic view of the old city. For a cosy ending of a perfect day guest may enjoy the Fireplace lounge. It was such welcoming and comfortable accommodations I almost didn’t want to leave the hotel, but the streets of Prague were calling to my adventurous side.
If you are a shutterbug you are in for a real treat on the streets of Prague.
Just a short walk from the hotel is the Charles Bridge leading into Old Town Prague. The Charles is usually a bustle with tourist walking to and fro, so it is usually best for photographers to set out early in the morning for the best light and for time to get just the right angle without someone in the way or pushing you from all sides.
Both sides of the bridge feature statues of historical personages throughout the history of Prague, the oldest of which is St. John of Nepomuk who was thrown from the bridge and drowned in the Vitava River for refusing to divulge the Queen’s confessional to King Wenceslaus (Not the Good One). His martyrdom began the Seal of the Confessional and he was canonized as the Saint against defamation of character, protector from floods and drownings. It is considered good luck to rub the brass relief at the base of his statue as shown below.
Continuing your journey to the west side of the Charles Bridge into Old Town Prague you will be able to visit sites like the Powder Tower, The Astronomical Clock, Kinsky Palace, The Franz Kafka museum, The Bertramka Villa and museum where Mozart composed the famous Don Giovanni opera, and other sightseeing attractions.
Get a Royal View
On east side of the Charles Bridge in the lesser city you can take a short hike up the hill to visit Prague Castle. Within its walls are the many adventures waiting to be explored. To name a few:
Prague Royal Gardens
St. Vitus Cathedral
Franz Kafka actually lived on Golden Lane and wrote many of his literary works there. This small Medieval period village has been historically preserved to show the everyday way of life of the serfs and vassals who lived within the castle gates during that era.
St. George Basilica — Yes, the one who slew the dragon.
I’ve only brushed the surface of what there is to discover in Prague. You may learn more by visiting prague.net .
For U.S. expats in Prague the U.S. embassy is only 50 meters from the Aria Hotel. The embassy is currently under renovation, but still in operation. For insight on what expats are doing in Prague consider downloading the Meetups app on your smart phone to join an Expats meetup group, or go online to Internations.org to join the expat association for Prague. To learn more about Bohemia and the Czech Republic visit here.
Finally I’ve included a link to the following video of Old Town Square for your viewing enjoyment.