One of the reasons I decided I wanted to go to Prague was to see Andre Rieu. I booked the tickets and then didn’t book the flight tickets right away as I wanted a friend to come along with me. I managed to convince him and then I found the flight times and an Airbnb for us to stay in.
The flight out was the first of the day and the flight back was the last of the day. I booked these after I got back from Barcelona and circumstances meant my friend that was going to come with me couldn’t go – also the Airbnb host cancelled on us too.
I had to do some inward searching as to whether I wanted to go or not. I thought I could get a refund on the tickets to the concert but it turns out that I couldn’t. I asked another friend for advice on what I should do. I needed to know whether I should still go for the entire length, cut it short or just not go at all. His advice was just to go as planned.
I took that on board and changed my flights to ones where I could get to and from Stansted airport without it costing more than the flight.
I am glad I went. It was a good trip, was tinged with sadness and was also a valuable life lesson for me. My next trip alone won’t be for 8 days though – that is way too long for a trip alone on the continent. I did try and keep myself busy most of the time – I think I did a good job for the most part.
I decided that, even though I was in Prague in 2016, I would see Prague this time as if I was there for the first time. This was so I could see it through the eyes of my friends and get more pictures. I think I did a pretty good job too. I saw a lot more than I did last time and that was a culmination of being fitter and also searching out things to do. My picture count for 2016 was 186 and for this trip was just over 1600!
When I got to Prague I headed straight to the hostel to check in as I was tired and wanted to get my case in the room so I didn’t have to drag it around anymore. The trip to the hostel was straightforward until I got to the point where they were doing track work on the tramlines and I freaked out a little. Google to the rescue though and I found a tram straight to the hostel.
I got there and I was the only one in the 6-bed dorm for most of the time. It was awesome. Once there, I had a look for some tours to do and I found a tour to Kutna Hora and the Bone Chapel for the next afternoon and a Tour to Terezin for the Friday morning. I promptly booked those.
After I had done that, I went to the tram and went for a wander around Prague just to get my bearings.
I also realised that I didn’t pack everything I needed to. I forgot a belt for my jeans so it was shorts every day – even when it was cold and rainy. I didn’t pack enough lens solution so I had to use the solution for 2 days in a row every time – shhh, don’t tell my optometrist!
All in all though, it was a good trip and I am glad I was convinced to go.
I am not going to go into the history of Prague in this post, I just want to show it from my view point so it will be what I did and my pictures.
I had heard about the Unesco Bone Chapel in Kutna Hora from the last time I was in Prague and decided that I would go – if only for the intrigue of seeing the Bone Chapel.
It was an afternoon trip so I spent the morning climbing the stairs of the Powder Tower and getting some panoramic views of Prague before continuing to walk around. I then headed for some food before meeting the tour. Our guide was lovely. She was very knowledgeable and pointed out quite a lot of things around Prague and on the way to Kutna Hora.
The Bone Chapel was really impressive. It is decorated inside with skulls and bones. Very Bizarre indeed! After we were done here, we headed to St Barbara’s Church – equally as impressive. The grounds had a walkway that was just like Charles Bridge as they though Prague shouldn’t be the only place with that and they deserved to have something equal to it.
This tour was about 5 hours and it was a really good tour and something I would definitely recommend!
Below are some pictures from Kutna Hora
View all of the Kutna Hora pics here
One of the places I had wanted to go to on this trip was Terezin. It was a former garrison settlement in the days of the Kingdom of Bohemia. There was a small fortress and a large fortress.
The small fortress was used by the Nazis during the second world war to house political prisoners.
The large fortress in the town was used as the ghetto for the Jews that had been transported there on the promise of a better life than where they were.
When the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia, it was renamed the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
It was really sad to see the small fortress and what it was used for but also important that we did so history is not forgotten or repeated.
The saddest part for me was seeing the crematorium and the Jewish graveyard. I have been to Dachau, Treblinka and Auschwitz so knew what to expect, but the reality of what happened still hit me. As we were at the crematorium, there was a choir singing a Hebrew song – very moving to see. Below is the video of it
Below are a few pictures from Terezin
View all of the Terezin pics here
Prague is a great city to walk around and just get lost and find your own thing. That is exactly what I did. It was great. I did 44 miles of walking in total the week that I was here. It was actually really nice to be able to do that as I saw more than I did than the last time I was here and I wasn’t stopping every few minutes with a sore back and having to sit down.
It felt so good to be able to see what I wanted because I was so much fitter. I felt so much better in myself because of it.
The pictures here didn’t really fit into any other category so I just put them in a General Prague folder and there are a LOT of them in that folder. Haha.
After the concert on the Friday night, I was all turned around and couldn’t find my way to the tram stop I got off at and Google Maps wasn’t very helpful. I finally found my way to a tram stop and it took me to where I needed to change. I jokingly sent Jason a message saying if I died that night, my last known location was Palmovka so have them look there first. Haha. I got back to the hostel and nothing was open so had a Twix for dinner. I know, don’t even. I’ve already heard it!
I also did another concert on one of the evening but this was a chamber orchestra. It was ok, but not the greatest.
Below are some of the pictures from my wandering around Prague when I didn’t have anything else planned
View all of the General Prague pics here
On the Saturday I decided to do a morning tour of the Old Town since I didn’t really know much about it and have only ever walked around it.
The guide was from Good Prague Tours and he was very knowledgeable about the Old Town.
Again, I don’t want to delve into much of the history of Prague as I want this just to be about my trip and my perspective and my pictures.
We walked from the Powder Tower through the cobbled streets (my nemesis this trip!) to the Old Town square and by the Astronomical Clock and then into the Jewish Quarter and this is where we ended the tour. He was a very friendly guide and interacted with all of the guests.
I didn’t really do much on this tour as I had a headache and was sick a couple of times.
Below are some of the pictures from this tour
View all of the Old Town Tour pics here
I decided on the Sunday that I would do the afternoon Tour of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.
It worked out really well as a lot of the Old Town and surrounding was closed due to a Marathon.
I left the hostel and went tram surfing for a couple of hours before heading to the Old Town and the Bridge to pick up the guide from the same company as the Old Town tour. It turned out to be the same guide too so that was really good.
The guide took us slowly over the bridge pointing out a few of the statues on the bridge. There is a statue that has bronze on it and there is a certain way to stand a certain way to put your hands on it and rub it for good luck. It was weird to see the queues forming to rub this statue for luck.
Once we were done on the bridge, we carried on with the rest of the tour through Malá Strana and up the hill to the castle. I actually enjoyed this walk up – contrary to last time where I took the tram up because I wasn’t a fan of all the walking it would require.
The guide pointed out back in olden times, houses would have emblems on them and that would signify what the occupant did and that is how you would tell someone were to meet.
The views from up by the castle were amazing! We also witnessed the changing of the guards and that was pretty cool. We then went inside the grounds and we had to go through security and have a bag check. It was actually pretty quick and we were on our way to St Vitus Cathedral. You unfortunately can’t get good shots as there was a partial palace wall built in front of it. Once you get through, you have to crouch down to even try to get a picture from top to bottom.
The doors of the cathedral are really ornate and tell a story of Wenceslas and St Vitus too.
Below is the video of the changing of the guards
Below are some pictures from the bridge and castle
View all of the Charles Bridge & Prague Castle pics here
Even though I have been to Prague before and did the sightseeing bus and boat, I decided that I would do it all again as I was a lot fitter this time round and could see and do a lot more than I had previously done.
I did these on the Monday and the Tuesday. They have 3 lines: Blue, Red & Purple and then the sightseeing boat.
From what I remembered about last time the sightseeing buses were pretty rubbish and they were the exact same this time round. Mostly single decker buses with dirty windows that don’t open and minibuses with the same. I got one double decker bus but the windows didn’t open despite it being an open top bus. Oh well. It was mostly a means to get to each route and to scout out places to go back to on the tram and have a look around.
We had really good weather for the sightseeing boat and that was an awesome ride down the Vltava.
Once I was done on the sightseeing bus, I decided that I would climb the stairs to the top of the hill where the metronome was to get some good views of Prague.
I was not disappointed and the stairs didn’t prove to be much of a problem either – I blame that Jason for that. He started me on this journey to fitness. You can also blame him for the damn good pictures you will see!
All in all, this was a really good trip and I definitely want to come back with my friends and you should also go if you haven’t been before!
Below are some pictures from the bus and the boat tour
All said and done, I am glad I went to Prague and experienced more than I did last time.
I was glad to go there and put on fresh eyes for my friends so they could experience Prague vicariously through me.
I can definitely feel a couple more trips to Prague coming on.
The plane ride back home was not so fun. So full of turbulence. It was not at all good. From the video below you can see how bad it was! This was me holding the phone steady and the turbulence was knocking my hands back and forth!
I have never been so glad to be back on home soil as I was this trip. 8 days is definitely too long to go away as a solo traveller!