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A Time to Cry in Prague

By on Jun 6, 2011 in Czech Republic | 0 comments

Deciding that Sunday would be the day to leave the magnificent city of Prague behind, I chose to spend my morning organising my ticket to Munich in Germany. After an early morning breakfast of herb bread and jam I headed for Nádraží Holešovice station (It easier to say when you’re drunk). I had been advised by many fellow travellers during the week that this station was  quicker, friendlier and more helpful then that of the central station of Hlavní nádraží. I found this to be the case as well. I purchased my ticket to Munich within fifteen minutes and was sadly on my way to spending my last morning in Prague.     My guide book as well as a couple I had met the night before had recommended a small cafe ironically named Bohemian Bagel located just outside the Old Town Square. The cafe has cheap bagels and great coffee whilst maintaining a funky university atmosphere. After spending an hour catching up on the latest news I headed off, bound for the markets that surrounded the square. I had some serious souvenir/Christmas shopping to do! After buying a range of glass bottles, steins, Christmas baubles and various other trinkets that I would regret tomorrow when I put my backpack on, I headed back towards my favourite spot, the Charles Bridge.     I took my time admiring the bridge from the different angles, the different colours the sky turned and the various characters that enthralled it’s space. It felt touristy yet significant, a realisation that was to continue to grow throughout that night. After purchasing a little more chocolate for myself, I headed back to Miss Sophie’s for a warm shower and to pack my stuff for my departure the following day.     That night, on the advice of the same couple I spoke to the night before, I headed to the Communist Museum. This Museum is located just of the main shopping area and was well worth the visit. It went through the history of the different invaders of The Czech Republic over the previous decades, from the Germans to the Russians, it was a sobering experience. Besides the various articles (have your reading glasses ready) and propaganda, there was a particular video demonstration that made me speechless. It showed how Prague fell to communism and how they fought back to gain independence. It brought a tear to my eye, coming from Australia I have never experienced anything even remotely similar to this and I could never possibly understand what the Czech people went through. I saw footage of tanks rolling across the Charles Bridge and the violent demonstrations that took place in Wenceslas Square. For the first time I realised that these symbols aren’t just for the tourist to visit and photograph, they represented something to the people, to history and to  freedom.   I spent my last few hours of the night taking photos and looking at Prague in a very different view. Yes it is a fairytale city of magical charm and character, one that I will visit again; however it might never have had it’s happy ever after if it was not for the want of freedom by it’s peoples (only 20 years ago!). This aspect was to set a new undertone to the rest of my trip, with my next city on the map being Munich I was sure I was in for a few more sobering moments.  ...

The Fairytale City of Prague

By on May 30, 2011 in Czech Republic | 0 comments

I awoke in the morning feeling recharged and relaxed for the first time on my trip, grabbing some toast on the run I headed to the outskirts of Prague. The views over the city were amazing and the cool but sunny day was refreshing. After many hours of walking I ended up at Prague castle or Hradcany Castle as it is known. The castle was built around 800AD and was once home to the royal family however is now home to the president of the Czech Republic. The cathedral within the centre of the compound, St Vitus Cathedral, has impressive views from the top with a sorted array of artwork, typical of Catholic origins. The remaining complex housed various cobbled street alleys and souvenir stores, typical of many castles within Europe. However this was one of the most magical castles I had seen on my journey so far.     I continued on from here strolling the various streets along the North bank. With the many marionette and craft stores I felt like I had stepped back into medieval times where Knights were Knights and true craftsman perfected their skill. With so many Baroque churches and cathedrals it was easy to feel the presence of religion on this city. The beautiful art work and architecture that was evident at every corner was intoxicating however definitely not suffocating. Once I completed my walk on the northern side I knew it was time to approach the one attraction that I was eagerly awaiting, the Charles Bridge.     Upon crossing the bridge my breath was taken away! The statues of the various saints, the views of the old town, the dominance of the overlooking castle, the striking bridge gates and moody weather above were a sight to behold. I had truly entered a fairytale world and something that I can not explain except to say this is a must see! Various local characters were playing music and dancing with marionettes and friendly art work sellers dotted the bridge, it was forever fascinating. However do not expect to share this moment by yourself, as the hundreds of other people around you will also be awe struck at exactly the same thing you are seeing. I just stood there for an hour taking as many photos as I could, trying with all hope to be able to create the atmosphere on film, however I honestly failed. This would be the first of many trips to this bridge over the four days in Prague.     After some hesitation and with the cold starting to affect me, I headed towards my hostel to gain some much needed warmth and rest from the cold air outside. On my way back I passed various little markets selling all sorts of things from marzipan blocks to steins, it was a fantastic look into the local produce. Glass is a typical product of Prague and their abilities in hand blowing is original and gifted. I bought some fresh fruit and headed back for a few hours, however not before I grabbed a sausage from one of the vendors. Okay here is a handy tip for you:- No matter how good they smell, how clean the stores look and how busy they may be……DON’T EAT THEM. Unless of course you want to have serious indigestion for the next week and not see anything more than the toilet seat!     I spent the night in my hostel chatting to the various travellers, who along with myself, found it a little too cold to venture into the night. It has always surprised me about the many interesting people you meet when travelling. From Canadians, Australians, Americans and Europeans – travelling has sure opened my eyes....