Continuing with hitting up a different country every month, I’ve gone to Prague for February. Although, I almost didn’t make it. The train I jumped on at Victoria Station went right through Gatwick station without stopping. Stress levels went up as I tried to figure out how to get back as the next stop was 20 minutes away, getting closer to Brighton. City Mapper kept telling me it would take over an hour to get back to Gatwick, which would mean I’d miss my flight. Fortunately as I got off at the first train station the train finally stopped at, there was a train about to pull in to the next platform that WAS stopping at Gatwick, and soon, so I legged it over to the platform and onto the train.
Surprise, Surprise, I got held up at security at the airport, for no reason at all, but managed to make it to my gate with 5 minutes to spare. Phewf, breathed a massive sigh of relief!
Arriving into Prague, it was negative 1 outside. Caught a bus and tram to the Art Hole Hostel, a small, cosy and cheap hostel right near old town. I hung out downstairs in the communal lounge area, drank Czech beer and shared a communal dinner of lentil curry with rice and salad and ice cream. I love the vibe at hostels that offer the cheap communal dinners.
Didn’t expect it to be so cold in Prague. But oh was it cold. I don’t think it reached above 0 degrees for my first day of exploring Prague. Thermals are definitely getting good wear this winter. Started off the day with a free brekky at the hostel. Basic options of cereal or toast, but hey it was free, a backpackers favourite word so no complaining here.
Off to the Old Town Square for the starting point of another Sandemans Europe free walking tour. It was only negative 3 when the tour started. I honestly didn’t think I’d get through the entire tour, my toes, nose and fingers were frozen for most of the walk. We learnt about Prague’s dark history as we stood in the old town square. We walked through parts of both the old town and the new town. Wandered through the Jewish Quarter and heard about the war’s affect on the city. Part way through we stopped for lunch and a chance to warm up. Hot veggie soup for me. Warmed up my hands as I held it and my insides as I drank it. I sat and got chatting with a group from Lebanon who were all work friends at the British Embassy in Beirut and doing the same as I, taking a long weekend trip.
The tour ended with a view across the river of Prague Castle, so I crossed over and wandered that side of town for a bit. I came upon the John Lennon Peace Wall, which, no surprises, was very busy with people posing for selfies in front of it. I crossed back over to the old town via Charles Bridge. A beautiful pedestrian bridge. Along the way I indulged myself in a Prague treat, Trdelnik, or chimney cake, filled with Ice cream. It’s never too cold for ice cream (it was zero degrees at the time).
Back to the Hostel to warm up and relax for a couple of hours whilst waiting for evening. Even though it was foggy out with no hope of sunset, I still ventured back outside for a walk along the river to see Prague Castle all lit up as it got dark. Back again to the hostel for another communal dinner, this time vegetarian lasagne and ice cream. Like I said, never too cold for ice cream.
Another sleep in, another free brekky. It’s the basic things sometimes that are much needed.
Crossed the river back over towards Prague Castle and hiked upwards to Petrin Hill lookout for lovely views back over Prague. I was sweating through my thermals but it was so worth it for the views. It was another foggy day but the chill wasn’t quite so biting as the first day. I slowly made my way back down the hill, over Charles Bridge and along the river embankment, past the dancing house, to a Saturday farmers market. I love checking out food markets wherever I travel, it’s such a great way to experience local food at decent prices along with getting the chance to chat to locals. Back to the hostel to warm up for a little bit before heading back the river for a river cruise tour. Included was a drink and dessert. I had Czech beer-Pilser Urquet- and Czech desserts, whilst cruising along Prague main river, taking in the sites of the town as well as Prague Castle. A river cruise, whilst not always a cheap option, is a great way to see a place with out freezing (providing you don’t go up top). It was so nice and relaxing after all the walking I’d been doing.
An early night for my last night in Prague.
Slept in and took my time getting up and having my last free brekky. Checked out and left my back pack in storage at the hostel. It’s great that most hostels have the option to do this. I also took my time wandering around the old town. I only had one thing planned for the day, in Prague, and that was to go up the Old Bridge Tower at the Old Town end of Charles Bridge to get one last view over Prague. Shame the sun didn’t make an appearance until I got back down to the bridge. Isn’t that how it always goes?! Treated myself to one last chimney cake. This one was coated with chocolate on the inside, filled with choc-mousse like ice-cream and drizzled with orange sauce. It was topped with a raffaello and surprise Ferrero roceher at the bottom of the cone. Delicious!
I wandered around the shopping streets, inside their biggest shopping centre, the Prague Palladium, where I ate a yummy veggie burger for lunch. A quick stop a the hostel to charge up my phone before getting the tram and bus back to the airport for my evening flight home to London. Back to work the next morning!