Leanne’s Journal: Prague

Prague! Here we are in one of my favourite cities in the world. On my first visit here, I was astounded by the architectural magic of this city. A town of structures that inspired Walt Disney himself, coming back here was a real treat. This place is one of the most well preserved cities in Europe, with a maze of cobblestone streets and hundreds of spires that pierce the sky; you have the perfect excuse to get lost in the streets. Mind you, I am very good at getting lost anyway, but if you’re gonna lose your bearings this is the best place to do it.

On our first night after arriving from Berlin, we checked into my favourite hostel so far. Plus Hostel! They had excellent service, a super spacious private en-suite room and a ridiculous range of facilities. There was a gym, sauna, pool, vending machines, pool table, performance space, art gallery, restaurant and bar with live music. I could get used to this. As truly thrilling as it is to be on the road travelling from place to place, it can get exhausting with a jam packed itinerary. So this was the perfect place to take advantage of the facilities and just chill out.

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Our free day was dedicated to roaming the magical streets of Prague and seeing the sights. Powder Tower was the first stop on our busy day: what was once a gunpowder store is now one of the most popular historical monuments in the city. This 15th Century gothic tower is the gate separating the old town and the new, and is the starting point for the coronation of future Czech kings. We proceeded to the old town square to find some unique characters of silver painted men dressed as antique statues (smile and turn away when they blow kisses at you) and a cascade of large bubbles flying through the sky. There was something different to see in every direction, and honestly I didn’t know what I wanted to check out first.

What I’ve been loving about Europe so far has been the street food stalls in every city. Most stalls serve various traditional food, but remember to veer away from the ones right in the centre of town (unless they have great reviews, the ones here are generally an expensive tourist trap!). Although in saying that – we wouldn’t blame you if you ended up getting some of the freshly shaved ham straight off the spit right in the middle of the square. It’s pretty damn good.

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We started the walk up to the castle, which was a hell of a climb on a warm day. But when we reached the top, it was 1000% worth it. The views are stunning, although a shorty like me has to jump or stand on tiptoe to actually see it – the walls are seriously high. Save the pictures for the other entrance when you get out, and you’ll get a much better shot! We went inside amongst the crowd to gaze up at the architectural splendor, only to find a large group gazing at a statue of a boy with a golden penis. There is an old wives tale (that I believe has been conspired by tourists) to rub the penis for good luck.

Inside the castle you’ll also find St Vitus Cathedral which is of a darker, baroque style architecture. It’s pretty stunning inside, and contrasts against the castle. Heading back we caught a glimpse of what I believe to be the best view of the city and the most scenic Starbucks in the world! After some great photo-ops we then moved on to one of Prague’s most iconic spots, the Charles Bridge. This is must do for any first timer. Overly packed by midday but by sundown it’s a slightly easier stroll, this bridge is a gothic spectacle with ornate statues lining its walls.

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We ended our day in a loop back at Prague’s famous astronomical clock which displays the movements of the starts, sun, moon and planets. It is also renowned as one of the most beautifully designed time pieces in the world. Along the way we had one of my favourite desserts that I’ve discovered in Europe so far: a trdelnik! Also known as ‘chimney cake’ or ‘kurtosh’ to Hungarians. It’s a sweet dough spun around a steel hot rod, rolled in sugar, with a crispy outer and sometimes packed with sweet spreads like Nutella! I was salivating the entire bus ride to Prague just thinking about having this again.

We ended our time in this stunning city enjoying the nightlife by visiting a few bars with some passengers we met on the trip. Many establishments around the city will offer beer and spirits at a very affordable price; a round of drinks for 4 people only cost us 10 euro! We ended the night in Balcony Bar,  which offers a truly spectacular view of the city. It was even more enchanting at night, and an amazing way to finish off our quick visit. I’ll definitely be back again!

You can experience all of this on our Hop-on Hop-off network. Check the website for more details!

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