Czech this place out....

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Thursday, April 13, 2006

This was my second visit to the capital city of the Czech Republic, the first being a 3-night stay as part of an interrail tour in the summer of 1994. I stayed in a convenient location in Vinohrady, and it was a good base for getting around the sights and sounds of a city which has gone through so many phases over the years, and somehow never managed to shrug off its 'tourist hub' tag. Whether you associate the city with drunken revellers on Stag party breaks, or with the stately, classical and downright picturesque architecture and charm probably depends on what type of experience you've had there, but for my money, it still retains a lot of its original appeal. From one visit to the next, it appeared as if just about everything had gone upmarket, and sadly, the bargain-basement of previous times had now yielded to the status of a city which still delivered the goods, albeit at a higher overall cost. There are just too many landmarks, monuments and reference points to mention individually, but I always found the city to be most rewarding when you deliberately get lost around its' back streets, as that's when you begin to see the very fabric of the place which outlines its real character and appeal, and compliments the more established tourist places very neatly. With the era of budget flights from the UK making extended weekend city breaks to places such as Prague seem so easily achievable, there's no real reason for anyone in a similar position to hold back. While the debate goes on as to which of the holy trinity of European cities, namely Prague, Budapest and Krakow is the most appealing, I'd personally be inclined to throw half a dozen more like-minded cities into the equation, and let them battle it out for themselves in terms of how they are intent on appealing to the tourist masses.
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