Rather than a long form travel blog for this trip, I will leave you with three posts – one for each city, with pictures of the highlights. Please comment if you have any questions!
Traveled for about 12 hours from Boston to Prague, by way of Paris/Charles de Gaulle airport.
We arrived at our hotel at about 3PM and, while all we wanted to do was sleep, we had a 5PM meeting with our tour group. Afterward we immediately had dinner at the hotel restaurant and went the heck to bed.
The next morning we were up and ready to go super early! We were off to Prague Castle, which is the castle complex/walled city dating back to the 9th century. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world!
Within the walled city is the impressive St. Vitus Cathedral. It is a Roman Catholic gothic cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Prague, was founded in 930 (though has been rebuilt over the years through the 20th century), and houses the relics of Saint Wenceslas.
Here is a video of the interior of the church that I shot:
The stained glass windows here were stunning. I think we happened to come at the perfect time of day too.
Just behind St. Vitus Cathedral is St. George’s Basilica. The basilica was founded in 920, is the oldest surviving church building within Prague Castle, and now serves as a concert hall and museum rather than a denominational church.
The view of Prague from the highest point within Prague Castle. We didn’t know it yet but we were about to walk from here all the way into the heart of the city…
Crossing the Charles Bridge, a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River and leads into Old Town Prague, decorated with 30 baroque-style statues and statuaries of saints.
The most famous statue is of John of Nepomuk – canonized as a saint in 1729 – who was said to have been drowned in the Vltava River at the behest of King Wenceslaus. The King believed his wife was having an affair and requested John divulge what she told him in confessional. He refused to betray the seal of confession, and the King had him drowned.
A few miles later and we arrived in Old Town.
The clock is set into motion every hour on the hour and the whole square fills up for the show. Here is a video I took of it:
For the remainder of the day we wandered around downtown Prague, ate lunch, took a boat tour of the Vltava River, shopped, stopped for some tea, visited the Jewish Quarter, saw the Franz Kafka statue, had a lovely dinner, and took the subway back to the hotel.
Overall I found Prague to be charming, super clean, touristy and very crowded, serene, idyllic, both old and modern at the same time, and full of amazing sights and things to do. It’s what I see when I close my eyes and think of Central Europe. And I would go back in a heartbeat.
Truthfully, Prague was the total opposite of what I had expected. I thought of Prague as gritty, niche, offbeat, punkish, and kind of badass. It’s really none of those things and, in fact, those things all ended up being true of Vienna which was funny because I expected Vienna to be the more refined, cosmopolitan, chic city of the two.
And speaking of, onward to Vienna!