The Reader’s Vote: Prague

At the end of February I let you the readers and Instagram followers pick my next city break destination! At a whopping 84% you chose for me to visit Prague versus Riga!

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As soon as the poll closed and while the recommendations were flooding in, I booked my trip and the countdown commenced. I finished up University for my 2 week Easter holiday and started my whirlwind few days with seeing 30 Second to Mars in Glasgow and then heading straight to the airport the day after.

After getting to Prague safely and a lovely night’s sleep, I woke up with a strong cup of coffee, had a yummy breakfast and laced up my trainers to hit the streets of ‘the city of a hundred spires’. I started venturing towards the Old Town Square and wandered through the side streets are accidentally fell upon the Jubilee Synagogue. The Art Nouveau decoration is just breathtaking!

Finally out of the side streets, I walked past the beautiful Municipal Hall. Originally where the court palace used to be erected, this magnificent building is now a concert hall and civic building. I then finally made my way to the old town square. Reader, I was honestly led to the square with the smell of Trselník and gingerbread as well as the excited chatter of tourists and children singing folks songs. Little did I know that I was about to experience one of the most incredible Easter fayres I have ever seen!

The Czech take Easter very seriously and are known for their tradition of men whipping women on Easter Monday. Don’t worry! It’s not meant to cause pain! According to legend a woman should be spanked with a whip on Easter Monday to bring health, beauty and fertility for the whole year. These whips (or pomlázka) are made from willow and decorated with coloured ribbons (I even came across a small decorative pot of ribbon decorated willow branches in McDonalds when I nipped in to get a bottle of water). Another Czech tradition is the distribution of hand painted eggs. There were several stalls with painstakingly intricate hand painted eggs catering to all budgets! The trees surrounded the square were beautifully adorned with colourful ribbons and decorations which is an instagrammers delight.

As I was wandering around the square soaking in the feast on my senses, I realised I was just steps away from the world famous Astronomical Clock. Sadly it was under renovation and I didn’t get to experience it’s chimes but it definitely did not dampen my spirits.

I decided to walk over Mánes Bridge so I could take in the view looking over at the famous Charles Bridge and was a much much quieter route to the other side of the city! I slowly meandered through the side streets slowly making my way up to Prague castle. Having stopped by the beautiful Malá Strana, I continued weaving through the throngs of tourists having accidentally went the most popular route up the steps to the castle. After dodging slow hordes of tourists, I managed to take in the breathtaking view at the top! The copper coloured roof tops just laced with countless spires of gothic architecture is one of the most picturesque views I have seen and something out of a book. After soaking in the courtyards of the worlds largest ancient castle, I discovered a little slip road that took me back down the hill. Ever turn of the steep stairs (that put Edinburgh’s old town to shame), I encountered beautiful views of the city and every angle.

When I finally made it back to the bottom of the hill (after maybe popping into a quaint boutique or two), I ventured to the Lennon Wall. This colourful display was met by a busker singing John Lennon songs as tourists soaked in the messages and pictures of love and peace. To add to the unique charm of the wall, a professional engagement photo shoot by a couple was taking place at one segment.

I decided to head back over the River Vltava using the Charles Bridge. The bridge is scattered with 30 baroque statues depicting saints. A famous statue is that of Saint John of Nepomuk, the court priest of King Wenceslas IV. If you touch his statue, it will bring you luck and you will return of Prague soon.

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Having exhausted myself dodging tourists and taking countless photographs, I nipped into the Prague Beer Museum (thanks to reader recommendations) to sample some world famous Czech beer. I normally detest beer but seeing as I was in Prague, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try again. The bartender recommended Rohozec Višen, a cherry beer which tasted like a sour cider with a very faint malt finish. I highly recommend this beer to the point where after I had a small sample, I ended up having my first ever pint!

Tempted to stay for another several pints, I restrained myself so I could indulgently wander through the old town square one more time before relaxing in the hotel pool and venturing out for dinner. Through another recommendation, I went to U Medvidku which coincidentally was right by my hotel. This restaurant also is home to a brewery so I decided to be adventurous and have the “beer cheese” to start. It was interesting to say the least! A rich creamy cheese with a malty tang. For main course I opted for some traditional duck with cabbage and potato, bread and bacon dumplings. It was sublime was the perfect way to end my day in Prague, all washed down with a few nice glasses of wine!

Thank you so much for recommending this incredible city and all the sights to see and places to eat and drink! It was a whirlwind 36 hours and I have definitely not been disappointed and can safely rank this as one of my favourite cities in the world! I hope to return soon to explore even more and get to see the Astronomical clock in its restored glory.

AJ x

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