A Day Exploring Prague

I visited Prague in June 2016.

My first full day in Prague started with a walk to the hotel that served breakfasts for the apartment, about a block away. I don’t normally add breakfast to a booking but this one was cheap and it was well worth it with a generous buffet.

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I didn’t have fixed plans for the day but since the Old Town square had looked so inviting the previous day it made sense to start there. One of the outstanding buildings in the square is the Town Hall which includes the Astronomical Clock. It offered tours and one was leaving soon so that seemed a good place to start.

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It was an exceptionally good tour, starting at the back of the clock on the hour to see what the hour display looked like from behind. The tour then took us through the four houses that make up the Town Hall building and the guide told us colorful stories of the history, that 2 years later,  I dare not try recall with any accuracy. But hey, there was killing involved and Game of Thrones references.

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After we had done the above ground buildings the tour took us down below street level to a time when the street level was much lower and there was a whole town underneath the current one. We wandered through old houses and along old streets, this was utterly fascinating.

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The tour was a great way to really start my time in Prague, the guide was fantastic and gave suggestions for other places worth seeing that wouldn’t have otherwise been on my radar. As well the views from the Town Hall across the square were quite spectacular. Unfolding below us that morning was a large gathering of pink, a walk for breast cancer research that transformed the square into a mass of people, pink, food and entertainment.

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After enjoying the unexpected revelry in the square for a while I headed off to Wenceslas Square, missable. Next.

The tour guide had told us about a second castle in Prague, Vysehrad. A beautiful spot with a lot less tourists and a fascinating cemetery. Sounded perfect so that was my next destination. From memory it was a train and a walk to get there, but pretty easy. Vysehrad didn’t have the magnificence of Prague Castle but had interesting buildings, a spectacular Cathedral, amazing views and expansive gardens. The cemetery at Vysehrad is quite famous and the resting place of many famous Czech citizens. It is also beautiful.

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After a stop for some lunch I headed for something that had piqued my interest.

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Vysehrad was a fortress so had substantial walls, of which you could take a tour, in Czech. Why not?! The guide did give me a sheet to read in English to give an overview of the tour and made a point of pointing things out to me to look at along the way. I loved this tour. We explored under the Castle wall, in the same places where hundreds of years ago troops would have moved along unseen, awesome history geek stuff. There was also a large chamber where troops once amassed but now statues that were no longer needed on Charles Bridge came to rest. I have always loved taking photos of walls and battlements and tried to imagine these cities and castles being protected so this tour was a huge thrill for me.

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After Vysehrad it was time to return to my accommodation, thought I knew how to get to the station, got lost and saw a lot more of suburban Prague than I had intended. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I get lost wandering. Eventually I found a tram heading in the right direction and no harm done.

In the evening I headed back in the direction of the main Castle, this time by tram along the river. Then it was a wander through some parks, eventually arriving at the back of the Castle. It happened to be Museum Night in Prague, so lots of things that would normally be closed were open and there were lots of people out and about and lots of things to see. I chanced upon some dancing in the forecourt of a Palace just outside the main gates of the Prague Castle. Yes, there was a Palace just outside the Castle. The stuff of fairy tales for Australians!

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My day ended in the Old Town Square with some forgettable food and people watching. A day full of unexpected opportunities, often the best kind of day when travelling.

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