First, thank you so much to Cammie for allowing me to participate in her travel series. Travel is one of my passions and after living in Rome for two years, I have had the opportunity to see a lot of the world. Strangely enough, I chose to not to write about any city in Italy. This is mostly due to the high volume of Italy-inspired posts on my own blog throughout the past two years.. I actually thought it would be fun to share my very first European experience – long before our crazy notion to sell all we own and move to Rome! My husband and I went to Prague, Czech Republic on our honeymoon in September of 2006.
During that time, it was quite uncommon for Prague to be high on the list of most travellers from the US… and on our trip, it seemed like a hidden gem! Visiting Prague was like stepping back into time, and much more so than even most places in Italy. Since the Czech Republic was under the Soviet rule for so long, it was highly untouched by the Western World. I believe it was as late as 1989… after so many years of dangerous Soviet rule, it was finally allowed and safe enough for travellers. As terrible as the reason was, we certainly had the opportunity to visit such preserved beauty as a result. There was no Starbucks, no McDonald’s… although I am guessing it has changed by now. At the time, the US dollar was stronger which made the Koruna (Crown) an amazing price for us. We typically paid $0.50 for a litre of beer and $1.00 for a glass of table wine! All of our friends kept asking, “where are you going on your honeymoon again? Where is Prague??” It was a unique vacation, and one I will never forget.
Our hotel was near Wenceslas Square, which is actually a popular place for shopping – fashion in particular. Our quaint hotel had the most breathtaking view of Prague Castle, and sunsets were spectacular. Everything is very easy to get to in Prague. The public transportation is SO easy and fast, and at the time, very cheap! We were only a skip away from my favourite place in Prague, Old Town! The charm begins with Charles Bridge. It is absolutely stunning in the early morning hours when very few are walking on it. There are statues of beauty and a view of the castle. I also loved the somewhat medieval and dark feeling of Prague – there are tons of gargoyle statues on the buildings which gives it such a mystical feeling almost. It’s a bit like a life-like Disneyland.
One you pass Charles Bridge, you are at the beginning of Old Town. There, you can see the famous Prague Astronomical Clock, the Estate Theatre where Mozart premiered the famous Don Giovanni in 1787 (so amazing!), and of course Prague Castle at the top of a winding hill. Once you are in the castle, you must again take old winding steps up to a lookout, where you can find the most gorgeous views of Prague. (that is, if you can catch your breath soon enough to enjoy it!)
One of our favourite things to do in Prague was to simply sit at cafes or pubs for hours and take in all of the surrounding beauty. The pubs actually serve amazing traditional Czech food (at least they did in 2006), and be sure to order the goulash and knedliky! Be prepared to walk a lot. I always recommend flat or wedge boots for any travel in Europe – they simply have saved my life a million times. The servers were typically very polite and somewhat quiet, so don’t expect them to list off their specials of the night and come back to check on you every 10 minutes. Prague truly took my breath away, and I can’t wait to return to such a special place. Thank you again Cammie for letting me share one of my travel experiences here!
The pictures are Rachel’s personal photos.
If you’re interested in contributing to this, then please do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I am very interested in posting about your travels and to learn something new.