Prague, the capital of Czech Republic, has been on my check list for quite a while. It should have become the 4th city, i'd visit in eastern europe.
Expectations were high, because I have had some truely amazing experiences in Moscow, Budapest, and Krakow. Sadly Prague didn't blow me away as the previous mentioned cities. I guess travel-blogging should allow posts, that wouldn't compliment the travel experience too much. Sadly Prague was one of the cities, I didn't or couldn't enjoy that much. But why?
First of all, the weather wasn't the best. If you travel by plane, to reach your destination, and the weather doesn't allow you take decent photos, or let you enjoy the sights in and around the city, the only fun you could get would be with indoor activities, like restaurants & bars.
On our first day, the weather wasn't on our side. We stayed in Praha 1, so it was obvious that we would visit the Old Town of Prague. Without any doubt the Old Town is beautiful. But after having experienced Budapest and Krakow, it just seemed like another "old town" to me. Nothing that impressed me much.
The scenery and view all over the city, reminded me a lot of Budapest, but with a bigger amount of tourists around me, fighting for the best spot to take a snapshot of Prague.
It takes you about 1 day to check out the Old Town. The highlight in my eyes was the walk over the world famous Charles Bridge. I was told that it would be even prettier at night, with the street lamps turned on, and the cast shadows on the old paved road.
At the main square I really enjoyed the "Church of Our Lady before Týn", and its pretty black towers. I didn't get the tourist's joy for the astronomical clock though.
During our stay, there were easter markets all over the cities. The good thing was that we could get "Trdelník", a traditional czech cake, around every corner. The Trdelnik kinda was the highlight of my Prague trip. So delicious!
What I really missed in Prague, were the fancy or trendy pubs, coffee bars, restaurants, which I really enjoyed in Budapest or Krakow. The bars or restaurants in the Praha 1 area, looked very traditional and dull. Except the few absinthe bars! We did really enjoyed those.
No interesting shopping avenue. No delightful restaurants. Too many irish pubs. Too many fierce bouncers.
Another downside was, that nothing was really cheap in Prague. The prices were alike to those in central Europe. Expect to pay triple the price, that you would get in the capital of Hungary or Poland.
I only heard good echoes about Prague. Prague has made a name among the top travel cities in Europe. So in my opinion, the casual traveler, would go for Prague. If you've never visited eastern europe before, you will love Prague. If you haven't traveled much, you will love Prague as well ! In my case, I would send you straight to Budapest, and guarantee you a better time!
During the evening hours the center of Prague was packed with guys, mostly africans or local czechs, asking you for a strip show, pushing you towards the bars they were working for. Too many invitations for strip clubs. At some point we really had to tell them to "fxxx off". This was another downside, traveling as a group of 5 guys.
We had good times in a 50s diner restaurant, called James Dean. The stairs to the basement of the restaurant, lead to a club, which was really packed after midnight ! We had our best times in that basement. Good music, good people, and fair prices on the drinks.
I wish I had read some books of the author Franz Kafka, before visiting Prague. You will find lots of "Kafka" in the city; statues, museums, mugs & books with Kafka's face on it. A Kafka Cafe. Well, a lot of Kafka!
After getting back home, I ordered my first novel of Franz Kafka. :)