5 Days in Praga
New year, new journey. This time to Prague. Just he and I, in a new city for our eyes. All to be discovered. From the unexpected views that offered us the house we rented to those whitewashed by the snow that surprised us, here is the story of my winter holidays: 5 days in Prague!
As I said earlier, this year instead of booking a hotel room we decided to rent a house on HomeAway.it website. Among the many available accommodations we chose the wonderful apartment you see in the pictures. Not only was it very beautifully decorated: in a modern style, with pieces of oriental art, giant statues, Maori symbols… A selection of objects from all over the world. The position, then, was absolutely brilliant, literally attached to Charles Bridge, the most famous bridge in the city, so much so that one of the walls was just adjacent to the bridge itself. The view was just stunning: overlooked a street with all the different colors palaces in true Czech style!
Upon entering the house we were greeted by a large window decorated with small Maori statues, a duck and a giant parrot on the wall. Next to the door was the basket with the slippers, to immediately change shoes and do not ruin the beautiful light wood flooring. From the entrance we go straight to the kitchen island and from there to the living room, in my opinion the most beautiful part of the house, with a design giant lamp, a pink horse and a long table where we also set up our dinner on New Year’s Eve (sushi, if you’re wondering!). The living area was decked out with a thousand lights and a magnificent Christmas tree, that made me feel right at home!
One of the things that I really loved about this house was the presence of a large number of mirrors, that helped to make it look even more spacious and bright. There were two bedrooms (one with a bathtub in the room) and two bathrooms. A dream home, perfect for a couple’s holiday: so sad it’s not located in Turin otherwise I would have already popped one of my resolutions for the new year (which, if you have not read it yet, you can find by clicking HERE)!
The website on which we rented it, HomeAway.it, is highly reliable: the house was exactly as we had imagined from the pictures, if not better! In addition, the real estate agency, the Bohemian Estates International, was kind enough to send us a driver at the airport… We appreciated it very much!
Now we come to the story of our five days in Prague… To see the city it would have been sufficient even less time, but we could take it slower and spend more time to visit all the places that interested us, as well as enjoy long moments relaxing in our home, to cook together, to bathe in the tub and all those other things that in the frenzy of everyday life you cannot do! That’s all that has impressed me the most!
It’s the most famous of the city. The historic stone bridge with 30 statues of the saints linking the Malá Strana, the Lesser Town of medieval times (where was our home), to the Old Town, of a later period. After a walk of 500 meters we reached the tower on the side of the Old City, we got on to an infinite number of steps and finally we reached the top: the view from up there was really priceless! The bridge is crossed every day by thousands of people that make it crowded at all hours of the day: looking down you aren’t able to see even a free space between are the people who are walking! And if you look good they can even see the white swans swimming in the river. The view is event more breathtaking when it snows and at night, because the dark statues create truly enchanted reflections on the Vltava.
JOHN LENNON WALL
In Malà Strana neighborhood not far from the Charles Bridge is located the John Lennon Wall, a wall entirely carpeted with colorful murals. Originally a simple wall, suddenly since the 80s it became a symbol of peace and freedom, especially for young people who began to fill it with graffiti and drawings inspired by John Lennon, as well as with phrases from Beatles songs. The communist regime then in power in the country obviously did not like the presence of the wall, which soon became a fundamental point of reference in terms of political and social views for the youth of Prague, who continued to cover it with phrases and drawings, to which soon made the company the ones of those young people from all over the world coming to Prague, who felt obligated to visit the wall, which had in the meantime also become one of the most popular tourist attractions. Of course I took the opportunity to take pictures not to forget the atmosphere of this place! You can not feel it from the photos, but it is made even more magical by the presence of many street performers who sing the most famous songs of the Beatles!
SWANS ON VLTAVA
Near the John Lennon Wall, along the Vltava river there is one of my favorite places in Prague, one in which every hour of the day and night are the white swans. I think they go there because they are greedy and they know to find people throwing their stale bread… I had never seen so many swans all at once! The most striking thing is that behind them in the distance you see the Charles Bridge. The place is of such beauty that it is impossible not to take at least one hundred photographs!
THE PRAGUE CASTLE
It’s a real city within a city: in the inside there are a basilica, a Christmas market and several bars to eat or sip a hot chocolate. It is always in the Malá Strana district and you can easily walk there from Charles Bridge, along a narrow pebbly but very charming road. The castle is in fact positioned on a hill, from which you can see the city from above… The best time is definitely at sunset!
One of the most beautiful in the world, not only for the frescoed ceilings. This library houses 20 thousand volumes of theological literature as a collection of globes and astronomical globes arranged at the center of the hall, built for the most part by the Jesuits who once inhabited its rooms. Among the globes are also beautiful astronomical clocks. After visiting the main hall, we climbs up through various complexes of stairs until we get to the top of the tower, which was used and is still used by astronomers to observe the sky (the windows are round to fit better the telescopes). From this tower you can see the whole of Prague and the show is really wonderful during the evening, when the sun sets and the city lights are illuminated: it really seems to be in a fairy tale!
OLD TOWN SQUARE
It’s the main plaza in town, where is one of its symbols: the Astronomical Clock Tower. The mechanism of this clock is very complex and consists of three main components: the astronomical dial, on which, other than time, are represented the positions in the sky of the Sun and the Moon along with other astronomical informations; the “Walk of the Apostles”, a mechanism that, at the stroke of each hour, puts the figures representing the 12 Apostles on the move; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the 12 months of the year.
In addition to the Astronomical Clock, on the Old Square overlook many important buildings: the Church of St. Nicholas, Kinský Palace, the Old Town Hall and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn.
We hopped on the Astronomical Clock Tower in the day when it was snowing and see the city from above, with roofs covered by snow, it was one of the best experiences of this trip!
Symbolic building of the city, it was built in 1996 and is considered one of the pillars of modern architecture in Prague, a typical example of deconstructionism. The conception of the building is inspired by the dance style of the famous couple Fred Astaire (stone tower) and Ginger Rogers (glass tower) and its shape is commonly dubbed “a dance step”. In Dancing House you can visit the gallery, restaurant and bar with a panoramic terrace from which you can admire a 360-degree view of Prague.
The most typical thing to do in Prague is eating street food in one of the many kiosks that are scattered around the city, or in flea markets. We only ate out on the day when it snowed, where the temperature was less rigid. We tried their typical sausage with bread: in contrast to what you might imagine, it is a long sausage placed on a single slice of bread, not a sandwich: it tastes great!
Another specialty is the Prague ham, a special type of smoked ham. I never thought that this type of food could be considered street food, but close to kiosks are prepared veritable hotbeds where the ham is put to warm up. Its characteristic is to be hand cut and sold in slices, still warm.
Another typical food are the dumplings. In lots of different recipes: they are mixed with vegetables or sausages, in super large portions that satisfy every palate.
It’s called Trdlo and is a typical pastry of the Czech and Slovak cuisine. It’s a kind of sweet bread that before cooking is modeled along a long metal stick and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. In the place where we took we could fill it with ice cream or cream and then decorate it with colored sugar or candy. Usually I have a big sweet tooth, but I don’t like it very much: the ice cream was not like the Italian one and the compound was not as crisp as I had imagined.
It’s called Medovina and is a fermented liquor. Perhaps the oldest fermented that is known, derived from the fermentation of water and honey. It is very tasty and also quite “strong”, as it is kept warm by holding it in the proper containers. And in the winter evenings it is just what you need to warm the frozen hands that cannot hold the camera!
I hope you have found useful this diary and that there will be an inspiration if you are planning to organize a trip to Prague!
I wait for you very soon with the story of my trip to Miami!