Travel the World: Prague

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

We recently went to Europe for the first time and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Though photo editing is far from my favorite activity, I had such a lovely time in the four countries we visited that it gives me quite a bit of joy to revisit the sights we saw and the meals we ate. 

I've wanted to visit Prague for the longest time. Around middle school, I read a book in which Prague's stunning architecture was the backdrop for some terribly conceived plot with some equally rubbish characters. The memory of the book didn't stay with me, but the idea of seeing these structures in person really left its mark. 

It's so strange when almost any given building you walk past is older than anything in your home country. Like this little cafe, nestled away in the Castle District that was over 500 years old.

The cost of dining out was much lower than what we were used to in the US, none of our meals for two in Prague exceeded $20 (and we frequently ordered multiple courses). Reservations were more serious business than in our home city -  we come from an area in California where during the week, restaurants simply do not fill up and walk ins diners are standard. In Prague, we were always asked if we had booked ahead.

It was interesting to see duck, rabbit, venison, and boar to be standard fare on many menus.

Oxtail soup.

We stayed south of New Town. In addition to just walking a whole bunch, Uber Pop turned out to be a splendid way to get around. Not only were fares very reasonable (no fare exceeded $5) but there were plenty of drivers at all hours of the day. Unlike Vienna, where there were far fewer drivers or Salzburg where there were... two. Or so it felt like, taxis still reign supreme in Salzburg. Had it not been -11 degrees Celsius outside during the day, we might have been more adventurous with our mode of transportation.

I already have an unhealthy love for cabbages (Mr says over and over again that it's just not natural to like cabbages as much as I do), was happy to have plenty of the mushy stuff with many meals.

I think we also ended having dumplings with every meal. It seems that Carlsbad dumplings are rounds of bread, made up of more bread. Bread inception. Essentially Czech dumplings are the perfect carb vehicles for sauce.

 The clubbing scene is really intense in Prague. Really hard hitting clubbing, you know what I mean?

(I've been wanting to make that joke since I saw these giant gate figures in front of Prague Castle.)

World's oldest still-functioning astronomical clock. Death (to the right of the top face, the skeleton figure) rings his bell upon each hour. 

Gothic architecture, it's why I came here, right? Can't pass up seeing the Tower at Charles Bridge.

Prague Castle complex is a great half day activity, St Vitus Cathedral (also the first pic in this post) and other structures are closely clustered. Get there early to avoid the long line, which is actually for security, not ticket buying.

I was hoping to go see the spectacular Klementium and view the gorgeous library with the marvelous book tunnel, but it was under renovation. Instead we stopped at Strahov Monastery (close to Prague Castle) and viewed the library there.

Since it was so cold, I tried to do as many indoor activities as possible, including seeing Salvador Dali and Alphonse Mucha exhibits. The tickets were ~$30 pp for these two exhibits (chose not to go see the third which was Warhol) and if I had to do it all over again, I would choose some other activity, as much as I like Mucha's work. Something else like say, the Museum of Medieval Torture.

I think his Médée poster with Sarah Bernhardt's is my favorite out of all of his work.

Often times the floral component in his illustrations play second fiddle to the glowy, dreamy women that are prominently featured front and center. But look at the detail!

 Also one of my favorite Dali works, Bucephalus lithograph.

 I had never seen Dali's perfume bottles before. Iconic Mae West lips were really his thing, weren't they.

I was feeling pretty lousy on our first day in Prague, so I fear we may not have made the best use of our time. If we had, I would have definitely gone to the nearby town of  Kutná Hora to see the Sedlec Ossuary, better known as the Bone Church. 

Overall, it was a fun few days in Prague and I really enjoyed the checking something off my destination list that I had been dreaming about since adolescence. If you're a fan of large, looming churches with more architectural details than your eyes know what to do with, and also bread, you'll love Prague.

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