Travel in Prague part two- city walk, museums and Český Krumlov

Hello friends,

I wish you find the latest post is fun, and this one will be the following itinerary, our experience sharing, where to buy the souvenir and some travel pro tips!

Alright! Let’s do it!

City walk and museums (1-day plan) –

Usually, we will try to hit museums as our first goal in a day, since they have strict opening time.

Mucha Museum

If one could say Klimt is Vienna, I will say Alphonse Mucha is Prague. the whole dreaming, goddess look art is undoubtedly marvelous. The balance between Baroque art and contemporary is truly genius, but in his late artist life, he also dedicated himself to a very different topic: The Slav Epic (Czech: Slovanská epopej) is a cycle of 20 large canvases painted between 1910 and 1928. The cycle depicts the mythology and history of Czechs and other Slavic peoples. He spent many years working on The Slav Epic cycle, which he considered his life’s masterwork. He had dreamed of completing such a series, a celebration of Slavic history. If you want to know more about these, please check the Mucha museum. It’s a small museum, you may spend 1-2 hours here.

Kafka Museum

Franz Kafka’s work fuses elements of realism and the darkly fantastic, typically featuring isolated people faced with bizarre situations and incomprehensible social rules. You can feel some of this in the Kafka museum, which from the patio itself creates a kafka-esque space, there are a lot of animations and interactive screens where you can discover the ideas of Kafka little by little. After this museum, you will have sympathy and empathy full of mind.


Town hall clock Tower-Prague astronomical clock (Prague orloj)
One of the most popular attractions in old town, really incredible! The oldest part of the Orloj, the mechanical clock, and astronomical dial, dates back to 1410 when it was made by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, then later a professor of mathematics and astronomy at Charles University. The first recorded mention of the clock was on 9 October 1410. Later, presumably around 1490, the calendar dial was added and the clock facade was decorated with gothic sculptures. The background represents the Earth and the local view of the sky. The blue circle directly in the center represents the Earth, and the upper blue is the portion of the sky which is above the horizon. The red and black areas indicate portions of the sky below the horizon. During the daytime, the Sun sits over the blue part of the background and at night it sits over the black. During dawn or dusk, the mechanical sun is positioned over the red part of the background. this clock shows time, calendar, and zodiac, I hope you can find where your sign is, and don’t forget to see there is a skeleton just placed right above the clock which turns over the hourglass and rings the bell.
Also every hour there’s a procession of the 12 Apostles in the windows of the upper part of the clock tower. A tremendous world famous astronomical clock you must check it out!

34696524411_86043246c9_o.jpgOld town square
The earliest houses of townspeople appeared in the 11th century. Later houses built in Gothic time kept the same layout as the earlier dwellings, being placed on narrow but deep plots of land. in the following centuries, the overwhelming majority of houses were refurbished in Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Classic fashions. the colorful buildings is very attractive also the small detail of the window and shape of the roof are interesting, take a look if you enjoy watching architecture.

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fullsizeoutput_278.jpegCharles bridge

Czech legend has it that construction began on Charles Bridge at 5:31 am on 9 July 1357 with the first stone being laid by Charles IV himself.

This exact time was very important to the Holy Roman Emperor because he was a strong believer of numerology and felt that this specific time, which formed a palindrome (1357 9, 7 5:31), was a numerical bridge, and would imbue Charles Bridge with additional strength. The bridge was completed 45 years later in 1402.

The Old Town Bridge Tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas. The whole bridge is very cinematic and gothic, especially when the fog covers some part of the bridge in the morning, there are many Hollywood movies shot in here, you will like the atmosphere in no time.

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Jewish quarter (half day plan) 

To be honest, I will say Jewish quarter is one of my favorite place in Prague. To me, the whole neighborhood seems like a different city, there are historical synagogues, cemetery just beside some nice cafes and high-end shopping stores. Though we have not shopped there, but the Jewish synagogues completely blow my mind! They sell different passes with different synagogues combinations, but I will say really go for what you like even though you may need to pay more extra bucks that not in the pass. Personally I really love Spanish synagogue, which is the extreme luxury synagogue that may exist, however, I feel close and touched by the Old- new synagogue very much.
The Old-New Synagogue is the oldest site of Prague’s Jewish Town and the oldest extant synagogue in Europe. It has been the main synagogue of the Prague Jewish community for more than 700 years. Since it was once Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, also known as the Maharal of Prague, who created the Golem of Prague according to legend, who had activated and had his personal chair in the front hall of the synagogue. What a surprise to see the chair in real life! feeling how they were having Jewish ceremony is a cultural education moment for me! We also got very lucky, a lady who works as a tour guide spent decent time, explain the ritual and history to us, so many appreciations to her that we learn a lot!

The rest of the day, we slow down our pace, walking around in the city, btw, since my love plays chess, so we found there is a chess cafe- Šachový  Václavák just in the center of Prague, the location just surrounded by shopping malls and restaurants. It is operated by EA Hotel Julis, they provide a nice room with a lot of chairs and chess sets, you can have a rest, play chess and drink coffee here with friends. Pretty sweet environment! maybe you also will meet someone who loves to play chess too!

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chess in praguemetro in pragueČeský Krumlov (half day plan)
The last day in Prague we plan to go to Český Krumlov, since it is the old town between Prague and Vienna, however, there was accident happened! I printed out our bus ticket and show it to our uber driver, who was so kind and friendly, the bus I booked is actually a quite new company, so their station is not at the main bus station, instead is at the train station. The driver insisted to take us to the bus station and we thought: ok… Let’s believe the local. well… we were all wrong, and missed the bus of course… but we didn’t feel awful or blame on the driver, we still believe he tried to helped us just the information was wrong, and the accident happened just as long as we can still fix it, everything is fine.
So we wait for the other bus pick up us, Český Krumlov is quite a popular tourist attraction, please book the ticket as early as possible, print it out and carry it with you. Also, the timeframe should be arranged well, it will take up to 3 hrs from Prague. They will stop by many places, I remember even there is one has a very similar name to Český Krumlov, Český XXX, so be careful to listen to the driver or bus attendant announce the names of stops. Although the accident made us had less time to spend in Český Krumlov, however, we felt completely ok with it. we visit Egon Schiele Art Centrum, where we learn a lot about how Egon, an Austria painter fall in love with this place, and his artworks inspired from the town. The view you see with hundreds of red brick roofs is alive from Egon’s paintings. Most of the architecture of the old town and castle dates from the 14th through 17th centuries; the town’s structures are mostly in Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. The core of the old town is within a horseshoe bend of the river, with the old Latrán neighborhood and castle on the other side of the Vltava. Český Krumlov hosts a number of festivals and other events each year including the Five-Petaled Rose Festival (a reference to the rose of the Rožmberk crest), which is held on the summer solstice weekend. The downtown area is turned into a medieval town with Artsmen, artists, musicians, and local people in cladism. Activities include jousting, fencing, historical dance performances, and folk theater, in the Castle precincts and along the river. It concludes with a fireworks display. Plan to a good time to visit here and enjoy at least half day here is really nice!

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Note it before you go! Pro tips are right here:

First of all, it’s a nice flight journey with Condor, this was not a bad experience though we had two connecting flights. we arrived at night and straight up took a cab to Airbnb. Btw, our Airbnb is a lovely vintage place, the host is a helpful girl and it really is a nice spot close to everything we want to see, will recommend to anyone who would like to know, ask me by email 🙂

Another good thing about city trip in Prague is they have the pretty nice transportation system, bus, and metro all very easy to get and have a lot of stops to main attractions. All you need to do is go to the nearby metro station and buy different pass (we bought three- days pass) and you have to activate it before you enter the metro station, there is a small stand look just like a meter for parking, but you have to put your ticket in and validated it. It says Prague has undercover cops walking around underground stations to see if anyone try to get away with being dishonest, so being honest and validate your ticket is important.

About ordering food in restaurants…

I believe everyone has the different experience on this part, the service in Prague has a not so good reputation on the internet. But as I observed, I can understand why people have the negative comments, however, the reason seems always about the overload working staffs. Usually, they only hire one to two waitress, once the busy hours start, they are overwhelmed with the work. they may only come checking you one to two times. So be sure to order your food in one goal, entree to dessert all at same time. And be kind to the staff, it’s said they don’t rely on the tips for living, even Prague people don’t pay tips to the service… I guess that’s where the bad cycle of service starts? But give a nice 10% tip as appreciation for their service is a friendly gesture.

About restrooms…

yes… this one is quite a thing in Europe I guess… there are no free restrooms for people… you will always need to pay unless you are in a restaurant. the public restrooms will charge at least 1 Euro, so if you are a person who needs to use the restroom often, please always carry few coins in your pocket.

About luggage…

Before we visit Český Krumlov, I found a resource shows on the internet says there will have luggage storage, however, we didn’t find any when we arrived, the only way to do is we leave with the hotel for a short time and gave some bucks for it. this action completely saves us from drag two large luggage around the town.
♠ If you are also planning to visit Prague and Vienna these two cities as we do, and plan it with affordable transportation, we highly recommend “Bean bus” service. We booked it from Český Krumlov to Vienna, which you can see here https://www.beanshuttle.com/ they have a lot of options and schedules. The driver will pick you up at the hotel you stay or nearby the entrance of town. (you will have to fill out the info when you book, they will contact you via email) They call it bus, although the day we had was more likely a big SUV, which created a very friendly space that we had a lot of conversations with the best Czech people we ever met- David (he is so nice and hospitable!!) They also provide very considerate service that drops you off at the location nearby your hotel.

About the safety…

In general, we feel Prague is a pretty safe place, but there are still some small things you may need to care more especially the crowded environments. Do not dress too luxuriously at night, put away your camera and passport in a safe pocket or in the bag, avoid any strangers walk too close to you. Here we will share a thrilling experience. One night when we were waiting at the metro, I spot a sketchy guy who walked so close to me, I immediately tell this to my love, soon he also saw the sketchy guy passing an eye signal to another sketchy guy! we thought we were definitely a target for them, the train coming, we run and stay far away to the next car. Until we saw the guy get off the station did we relieve and get off to the next. This could happen in anywhere, at any time. So as a traveler, we should all keep eye on safety, be aware the environment always.

About taxi, transportation from airport…

 

This thing I will say I am so proud of what I have done. Please book a taxi online before apart especially if you have a flight is very late night or early morning (1-5 am). We had a flight on 6 am and we schedule a taxi to pick us up 4 am at Prague main train station, the driver is a young guy who showed up and helped us with luggage. And when we passed the taxi station, they are not open at all! that moment we feel completely relieved we had one reserved already! There are many options on the internet, please choose the one you are comfortable with (eg: Pay directly to the driver after service ), you will save a lot of energy otherwise spent negotiating the price under time pressure.

What should I pack?

  1. A nice jacket is essential as the temperature will have a dramatic change once the sun is down.
  2. A small umbrella will help a lot.
  3. A water bottle will save you a lot of money. in Europe, the water is never cheap… the way how we saving money is stay in Airbnb and prepare water ourselves.
  4. Always have your trip itinerary with you, better print it out especially train tickets.
  5. More memory SD cards, you will take a lot of pictures to capture the unique city.

What to buy?

We have walk around the city for 4 days, there are a lot of souvenir shops, but nothing really caught our attention. But I have heard a beauty care shop is worth to check it out is called Botanicus. they have two shops in Czech, one is in the Prague old town street, the other is in Český Krumlov. The one in Prague is closed at 5 pm, so we always missed it until we go to Český Krumlov, the shop just on one of the small alley, but is totally a heaven to me hehe! They have a huge variety of organic products, body oil, soaps, and lotions. I can literally spend hours in there… the quality and the price are really great! we bought some for ourselves also some for friends, till today we still praise how nice the soap is at shower time! I even feel regret not to buy more… because when we go back to Vienna, the price is already three times more… so buy as much Botanicus as you want in Prague! you are gonna love it!

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wish you enjoy our Prague travel plan, that’s a really interesting city I would love to go back again. Furthermore, our Vienna travel plan will be shared soon on the blog! Stay tuned!

xoxo,

Gabrielle 🙂