Prague, Czech Republic

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Northeastern Europe:

  1. Northeastern Europe – Introduction and Our Route
  2. Gothenburg, Sweden
  3. Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland
  5. Vilnius, Lithuania
  6. Warsaw, Poland
  7. Krakow, Poland and Auschwitz
  8. Prague, Czech Republic
  9. Northeastern Europe Photos

The last stop we made on our 9-country northeastern Europe tour was the Czech Republic and its capital, Prague. We were actually meeting my friend Al and his friend Natalie there, as they were off for a long weekend. We took the morning train from the border at Český Těšín, and arrived around 2 PM, checked into our AirBnB, and hit the town.

Natalie, Kyle, Sara, and Al atop the fortress

Natalie, Kyle, Sara, and Al atop the fortress

Our first stop was south of town to the Vyšehrad Fortress, which was an old castle that had been turned into a public park and afforded some nice views of the Vltava river. We also went up here because they had free parking for Al’s car for the weekend. We followed the river back into the Old Town, where we caught our first glimpses of two of Prague’s most famous landmarks, the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. They are set on a hill just opposite the Old Town, and are very impressive. We took the scenic route on the other side of the river to get to them, and past an interesting festival in support of refugees living in the Czech Republic, with live music and a lot of ethic food options (including two Armenian food stands). Nourished, we made the long uphill trudge to Prague Castle, which is actually where most of the Czech government offices are currently housed. The cathedral there was especially impressive both inside and out.

There were a LOT of stairs

There were a LOT of stairs

Based on a tip from one of Al’s friends, we continued the trudge uphill to Strahov Monastery, where we heard there was an abbey where monks made beer. After what seemed like an eternity (due to the unseasonably warm weather + the number of stairs), we finally arrived, and enjoyed some (really) expensive beers in a nice outdoor garden. As we got our bill, we realized that the place we were wasn’t where we were supposed to be, but actually an old wine cellar of King Charles that had been converted into a restaurant. The restaurant itself was built into the massive cellar and was really cool to look at. Anyway, we left and went to the correct Abbey, where the beer was more reasonable, and the Czech food was quite delicious.

Beautiful people in front of beautiful Prague castle

Beautiful people in front of beautiful Prague castle

Now that it was dark, we again trudged (downhill this time, fortunately) out to the bar area, where we enjoyed a few local Czech lagers before calling it a night. The next morning, we continued exhausting our legs on a free walking tour that visited highlights of the New Town, Old Town, and the Jewish Quarter.

We decided to give our legs a break and exhaust our mind instead, so the four of us went to MindMaze, which is a room breakout puzzle very similar to the one we did in Singapore. The four of us solved the puzzle in 45 minutes, although we were hoping to beat the record of 31 minutes. Only 40% of teams actually solved it in under an hour, so we felt pretty accomplished and proud that my, Sara, and Al’s Truman State education was worth the money.

We celebrated that night by going to Prague Beer Museum, a bar that served only Czech beers. The city of Plzeň is in the Bohemian area of the Czech Republic, so naturally many of the Czech beers are some variation of a pilsner. Overall they were OK, better than most any pilsner we had in Asia or South America, but paled in comparison to other European beers.

The famous Astronomical Clock

The famous astronomical clock

On our way back to our AirBnb, we stopped by the astronomical clock, which is one of the most famous landmarks in Prague and is also considered (by some) to be one of the most overrated attractions in the world. On the hour, robotic skeletons and other figures come out and do a little dance (read an explanation why here); while not the most exciting thing in the world, it’s impressive that it’s still working at all since it was install over 600 years ago.

We hit the road for the 6 hour drive back to Frankfurt. The highlight for me was driving on the autobahn, which was a crazy experience in and of itself. There is no speed limit, so you can have people driving anywhere from 60 MPH to 140+ MPH. I got our car up to around 100, which was fine, except that one minute you’d have no one behind you, and the next minute there would be someone right behind you. But the person next to you is only going 60 MPH, so the whole situation is one big adrenaline rush. Luckily the Germans are amazing rule followers, so they make the whole situation work with a lot of merging back right and using turn signals. And, like that, our two week, nine country journey through Scandinavia and the Baltics was over!

<< Krakow, Poland and AuschwitzNortheastern Europe Photos >>
This entry was posted in Czech Republic. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Prague, Czech Republic

  1. Pingback: Northeastern Europe, part 1: Introduction and Our Route | Short and Tall Tales

  2. Pingback: Northeastern Europe, part 4: Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland | Short and Tall Tales

  3. Meghan says:

    I’m pretty sure I want to go just so I can try all the beers you talk about!!