Eurotrip 2012- Prague

Prague is a strange one… Roisin and I are pretty much in mutual agreement that this was our least favourite place of the entire trip. At first I wondered if it all boiled down to exhaustion after so many huge cities in a row- but I really do think it just isn’t our cup of tea. Maybe I’d dig it more in the winter, it seems that loads of people enjoy a saunter around the old town in the snow- that would definitely be the type of thing I’d enjoy- but I left feeling all kinds of “meh”.

To begin with our guide told us to look out for police as they’d been known to pull tourists up for jaywalking and then march them to the nearest cash stop so they could pay a fine of some amount of that officer’s choosing. (Oddly enough it was pretty rare to see any kind of jaywalking, everyone seemed to stick to the pedestrian signals.) Sketchy. Soon after we’d heard this lovely news we got heavily ripped off by the taxi driver that brought us to our hotel. So not really a good start.

We did luck out that evening though- with easily the best meal of the entire trip. We searched Trip Advisor for some tasty treats close by and the only thing that turned up with 3-4 reviews was Grill Bar Rodr. This place was fantastic. Incredibly cheap for the good quality food and drink. So bloody memorable- the stuffed chicken dish that I ate there will likely haunt me. The sad part is, is that this restaurant is so far from the city center I feel like even if I highly recommend it- it’s not incredibly likely that if a pal stays in the city they’ll end up anywhere near it. It’d be worth a special trip though-

The next day was slightly rainy and full of grumpiness- we tried to “pull a Berlin” and walk across the whole bloody city- but the thing here is that… residential Prague really isn’t much to look at.
This is a rough look at the walk we did- Map. It’s about 14km and honestly… essentially sight-free for the vast majority, until you finally hit the Vltava River. He is pretty. Worth the wait.

Our first stop was Letna Park (Letenske sady). Many steps, but really beautiful. They have loads of different types of trees and plants scattered throughout this bad boy. We also of course had a look at the Prague Metronome. He sits on a spot where a Stalin monument used to be. Clearly this is an improvement to the space.

Then we went up to the Castle– where I think we both had the biggest disappointment. It is said that this castle is the largest in the world. How exciting right?! But… it feels more like… loads of separate buildings clustered on top of a hill. Each building feeling entirely different than the next. I guess yeah- by description castle it may be- but I wanted fairytale-esque type things. Pff.

There are a few buildings of note up there though- the incredible Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and St. George’s Basilica– but otherwise, I’ve definitely seen more impressive castle scenarios.

Afterwards we decided to head down to the Old Town making our way through The Palace Gardens to get there. The view of all the orange rooftops is amazing. Definitely a highlight. From that view we did notice this big grey wall… or monument … big grey something in the distance below. So we kind of turned the whole thing into a mission to discover what it was.

This mission brought us through the Old Town and into the Wallenstein Palace Garden where we discovered the creepy Grotto (Dripstone Wall). Honestly- this thing is bloody freaky and it looks so strange when you look down on it from the castle. I actually decided to blame it for the horrible “Missing Prague Photos Event 2012”- as the moment I got home all the photos I’d taken all day disappeared from my camera. The reason I wasn’t able to post as we traveled was all due to this day and my need to post things chronologically- I couldn’t do any of it until I’d recovered them all and it ended up taking me 3-4 different programs and months to do so. Argle.

Day 1 ended in the rain and with exhaustion. Pretty underwhelmed but I believe there was a willingness to give Prague another chance the next day.



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2 Responses to “Eurotrip 2012- Prague”

  1. PragueByKaty Says:

    First to say, I am quite sorry you didn’t like Prague. But on the other hand, when you walk from Stírka to city center on the main traffic road, when you can find nice walking paths with views … neverthless I would always take a subway or tram if I want to do some sightseeing in the center of Prague, even though there are beautiful places around, but definitelly not on the main highway going through Prague. BTW if you would live in Český Krumlov (Berlin, Venice, Firenze,…) at suburb, you willl have to make it through the same there as well… it’s about location, better ask locals to show you if it worth walking or not.
    Castle – yes, it’s more official than picturesque, but have you seen Royal Palace? Vladislav‘s Hall, Rolls Land offices? Golden Lane – colorful and cute? St. Vitus is beautiful, have you noticed stained glass windows (Mucha‘s ones for example), gargoyls, have you seen St. John of Nepomuk Silver grave – stunning beauty! Who guided you?
    According to your photos you were walking down not through Royal Garden, which is north from the castle, but through Palace Gardens on south hills (
    About Italian glass – I believe it was Czech (Bohemian) glass, we are very famous for it, so I don’t think you saw Italian ones here in Prague.
    But why on earth you went through the biggest tourist trap in Prague? Who adviced you to do this? With my clients we always go through smaller streets with nice friendly cafe’s, beautiful architecture, cozy atmosphere to avoid the trap. I know, it is our problem that we allowed Russian owners to make this stupid touristic circus at the main Roayl Road, that’s why I never use it … sorry you had to make it.
    BTW who was your guide? I have never ever saw police pulling tourists up for jaywalking and have never ever heard about it (I am Prague tourist guide), mostly the police is in the center to help tourists, as I have chances to see on my own eyes …
    It looks to me that you had bad luck and in fact starting your sightseeing walking through V Holesovickach (I was born there and I lived there, so I know beautiful places around, but not on the main street) made you see Prague with the black glasses. Very sorry for that, you missed all the beauty with them. I would wish you much better experience.
    BTW I also love Cesky Krumlov! So glad you liked it.

  2. Kayla Hillier Says:

    Hello Katy!

    Nice to hear from you-
    We didn’t walk on the highway no, no, no! I agree that would be super rubbish! That map is just a rough idea of the journey we made but not the exact roads. We zigzagged all the way down the hill from our hotel and then cut across until we met the Vltava. (To be honest the journey down the hill was pretty neat as simple things like the architecture of the houses are really different from what I’m used to).

    I tend to do this kind of thing (big long walks) because I feel like if I only zoomed over to the beautiful, wonderful things a city has to offer you miss out on what it would actually feel like to be a resident by avoiding the outskirts and seeing what the surrounding areas look like. That may seem a bit strange, but I like to see ALL of a city.

    We did see the Royal Palace but we did miss out on Vladislav‘s Hall, & Rolls Land offices sadly but from photos they do look lovely!
    We did go down Golden Lane as well as explore St. Vitus and the stained glass as well as St. John of Nepomuk’s Silver grave – like I said in my post- St. Vitus is well worth the trek up to the castle.

    We weren’t guided by a tour guide- we were with Busabout a company that takes you via bus to 33 different cities in 9 different countries- they offer advice and history and a few guided treks but they don’t guide you through a city- you do all of your sightseeing yourself.

    You gave me an aha! moment- you are entirely correct we weren’t in the Royal Gardens but the Palace Gardens! I have corrected this and added the link you gave me above to this post.
    The Italian glass comment was a total mistake- I hadn’t meant to type that but that’s what I get for trying to make 33 posts about travel at once! haha But I’ve also corrected this.

    No one advised us to see or avoid the old town tourist trap but I figured we’d walk through it while we were near it. As we’ve come from Edinburgh where the Royal Mile is tourist heavy but entirely accessible to locals I’m extra interested in how other cities handle tourism. It’s a shame that locals don’t get to enjoy that area anymore. But we did walk through loads and loads of streets in that area extending out to the newer areas less populated.

    We were warned about the police by the guide on the bus as several of the tourists on board had in previous years encountered those troubles resulting in this warning.
    I personally didn’t have any trouble with the police.

    We had a driver from Greece who has been living in Prague for the last 10 years react to our feelings about Prague much in the same way that you are. He loves the city and thinks it’s amazing and I know that little things even just like the weather can affect your opinion on a place that you’ve visited- but I just think Cesky Krumlov was much more our speed. We love the smaller less urban areas. If we end up in Prague again one day perhaps we’ll look you up and you can show us your Prague.

    Thank you!

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