We knew it was going to rain today, so tried to get as much done as possible before the weather slipped from clear blue to gaunt grey. After waking up, we went to the “Nám Republicky” market again, visiting a stall called “The Art of Sandwiches”. I ordered a chicken club for CZK. 110, and we enjoyed our food near the “Prašna brána”, also called the “Powder Tower”, which is the original city gate and a perfect example of gothic design.
Our plan was to get across the bridge and go and see the “Prague Castle” and “St George’s Basilica”, as well as getting to “Petrin Hill” if we had the time. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get to the “Kafka Museum”, but I plan to return to this fantastic city at any rate, and have promised myself to go when I can. The antiques shops along the way to the bridge were wonderful, and we ended up stopping every few metres to check out another vintage watch or antique sabre before finally making it to the “Rudolfinum Concert Hall” (where the world renowned Czech Philharmonic Orchestra are based) and the quieter bridge nearby. It’s a ten/fifteen minute walk uphill to get to the castle walls, but it’s absolutely worth it to spend a day in one of Prague’s most visited attractions.
Far from being an archaic, crumpling testament to the past, the castle is kept pristine and is the largest in the world, at 750,000 square feet. Within the many churches, towers, halls and palaces lie the Bohemian crown jewels and a plethora of architectural treasures; dating back, rather amazingly, to the 9th century, these rooms have held ancient kings, Roman emperors, and Czech presidents, and if I were to rule the world from a throne of my choice, I think I’d pick this too. We passed through a security check and, after gawping at the Basilica, went straight to the Great South Tower. This is amazing for many reasons, namely the fact it is from 1396 and holds the heaviest bell in the Czech Republic (15 tons).
It’s CZK. 150 to get up the tower, and worth every single penny. After climbing the 287 steps, you end up on a viewing platform where the view stretches over the terracotta roofs all the way to the horizon; from here, you can see the Charles Bridge, all of the castle, and the tower at Petrin Hill. With our feet back on solid ground, we strolled around the castle for a good few hours; there are loads of museums, open palaces, and concert halls to lend an ear to, so it really is a proper day out. Just as we were contemplating the trek up Petrin Hill, the rain began to pour – most tourists were running for cover, but I managed to withstand it long enough to take a picture next to a statue with a golden penis. I’m very, very mature.
For dinner, we decided upon “Meat and Greet Burgers”, for I am a fan of horrendous puns. This is a lovely little place with super-friendly staff and a very modern aesthetic; they have a stock of homemade lemonades and iced teas (CZK. 45) , and on the advice of our waiter, I had the ‘Citrus Special’ with a shot of Vodka on the side. It was refreshingly zingy and not too sweet, which is a nice change from the sugar rammed alternatives offered by most. The burger menu was extensive and covered most bases, including vegetarian (for CZK. 185 you get falafel, pickled onions, cucumber, shredded carrot, srichacha mayo, and lemon balm), and we both go for the ‘MAG Burger’ – beef, gratin tomatoes, cheddar, bacon and lettuce for CZK. 185. With a side of herby fries and garlic mayonnaise, it arrived within ten minutes and was so, so tasty.
The fries were freshly cut and crispy, complimented perfectly by the garlic sauce; the beef was tender, moist, and packed with seasoning (they use a blend of peppers and spices in the meat), and melted in my mouth, accompanied by the crunch of the bacon and depth of the cheese, it was a wonderful dish at a very reasonable price. I’d recommend going here if you’ve already sampled the local cuisine.
We’re just finishing packing for Vienna tomorrow, and I for one can’t wait to see what many describe as “Europe’s most beautiful city”. If any of you know of things to see and where to eat, comment below – and if you’ve got any questions about anywhere we’ve travelled so far (Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague) I’d be happy to talk to you.
Happy travels guys!