We started the tour in Mala Strana area where the aristocrats lived. It’s closest to our hotel so it’s the best place to start.
Following the alley, we passed by the John Lennon Pub Restaurant. On its right, you can see the water level. In 2002, there was a flood and the water level reached 7 meters high.
This bridge is over the the Prague Venice. The little man is supposed to grab naughty kids and drag them to the water. It’s offers a picturesque glimpse of the city.
On the left is a graffiti wall…
Farther on the right is the John Lennon wall. Since 1968, people started to draw graffiti on the wall, proclaiming about human rights, political stance and love. This was exacerbated by the death of John Lennon.
The Lennon Wall became a symbol of courage because anyone who was caught drawing a graffiti was persecuted, them and their entire family. Hence, if your brother was accepted to the university, his admission would be revoked if you were caught.
We next visited the Church of our Lady Virgin Mary where we were blessed by the priest. Our guide said that 80% of Czech were atheist after they had Catholicism rammed down their throat after killing 27 noblemen in the square.
The inside was pretty.
You can pray to the Sto. Nino and ask for blessings. I asked for a second baby, haha!
The guide also brought us behind the altar where a priest blessed our family. That was nice.
Darkness arrive in Prague early and when we stepped out of the church, it was already dark even though it was only 4:30pm.
We had some traditional Czech treats and drank some hot wine. I particularly like the hot wine as it warms you up in the chilly evenings.
The ice cream did not melt so that was cool.
We then took the tram up the Czernim Palace. Ticket per person was CZR 24. You can avail of a 1-trip ticket but as a tourist, it may be reasonable to avail of a 1-day or 3-day ticket.
The guide told us that we had to validate our tickets all the time. If the conductor caught us with an invalidated ticket, there was a huge penalty.
That was kinda funny because in the Philippines, the trust system does not work. If the Filipino can get caught not paying, they would. Filipinos are also unafraid of paying fines because execution of punishment back home is weak. People of Metro Manila can learn a lot from the Czechs.
Apparently, in Prague, people are polite, follow the rules and are on time. The streets are impeccably clean so it was nice to go around the area.
“There’s minimal crime in Prague although you just have to be wary of pickpockets in the popular tourist areas. Even if you walk alone at night, you’ll still be safe,” our guude said.
Czernim Palace used to be a family residence but after their bankruptcy, the palace was converted to a barracks. Now it now houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We then entered the exterior of the Prague Castle where the President does his business. It’s a beautiful building and housed one of the most beautiful church exteriors we have ever seen.
We even managed to see the changing of the guard. Not as impressive as Taipei’s or London’s but we were just have been happy to catch it.
Down the hill, we went and these were the sights along the way.
There’s a lot of stores that sell marijuana products in the street. “They’re not really potent,” Jan our guide said. “They look like marijuana, they smell like marijuana but effects wise, it’s weak.
This was the Italian embassy just right at the street. Back in Manila, there would be high fortified gates and security guard but here, the only thing that differentiate an embassy from a regular building are the flags outside.
Here were the other things we saw:
We then came upon the popular Charlesbridge which connected the old and new towns. The Charlesbridge was the highlight of our Prague trip. Photos alone do not do it any justice but here you go:
Charlesbridge is especially romantic at night. It’s a long walk but every step shows you something beautiful. You really need to devote some time to enjoy the sights on both sides.
There are 31 sculptures in the bridge. They are all beautiful. Here were some of them.
In the middle of the bridge is a place where you can make wishes. Put your right foot on the dot on the floor, hold the cross with the right hand and your five fingers from the left hand on the five stars.
This was the place where a priest was thrown off the bridge for not revealing what was confesses to him. In a way, that was a sign of courage and the ability to stand for what you think is right.
At the end of the bridge is a church. We’ve now arrived in Old Town.
It’s also where you can get to the best currency exchange in the city. Just turn left from Charlesbridge, walk until you reach this corner and them turn right.
After turning right, walk towards the end of thr street until you see a KFC on the right.
The exchange is on the left.
Rates are most reasonable of around 25+ CZR per Euro. This was way better than the 20 CZR per 1 Euro we exchanged at the airport.
Our guide said exchanges around Prague vary, so while it’s better to have local currency on hand, be wary of scammers as rate difference was wide. In our case, it was a whopping 25% difference!
In case you get scammed, the law dictates you can go back to the money exchanger within 3 hours if you still have the receipt and the money. This protects gullible tourists like us from getting scammed.
Going straight is already old town where you can see the astronomical clock.
The Astronomical clock is just behind this structure.The clock rings at the start of every hour.
Within 42 seconds, the skeleton will ring bell to show us that we do not live forever, and afterwards, the 12 apostles will show up from the two glass windows. Lastly, the golden rooster on top will crow signalling the end of the show.
We ate at the local Czech Restaurant Apropos where we had delicious duck and a big glass of beer.
This dish is bigger than it looks. The photo does not do the dish any justice.
The place gets full very quickly so it’s best to make a reservation. I found the price to be very reasonable for 5 people and 2 kids.
We walked back to the hotel afterwards. We were jetlagged and tired and did not bring a stroller. Note to self, next time, bring a stroller.That’s love right there.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our first day in Prague. It truly is a beautiful city and one of the best in Europe. For first timers in the continent, Prague is a must include in the itinerary.
More update tomorrow as we join the #1 tour of the city!