Prague, beautiful Prague

Trip Start Jun 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 16, 2011

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Where I stayed
Boat House Hostel

Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní Mesto Praha,
Monday, July 19, 2010

Prague was a welcome change after Barcelona.  I flew in and the trip to my hostel involved a bus ride, transfer onto train and then transfer onto a Tram.  Tram ride was about 20min out of town to my stop where I got off and walked 5 min to the hostel.  The hostel is above a boat shed, as the name suggests, and looks pretty dodgy from the outside but once inside is quite ok.  The whole regional area has architecture that belies it's communist past.  Boxy, run down, grafiti covered and ugly buildings and urban landscapes that show little care for aesthetics or the proud display of wealth.  Inside the hostel there is a large dining room area, the bathrooms are large and clean and I was lucky enough to secure a room to my self for the first 3 nights. Which was probably a good thing because my voice was totally gone and I spent most of my time coughing - yes one of those 2 week coughs was upon me.  Unfortunately I was very tired from the illness and lack of sleep in the proceeding days and weeks so I wasn't exactly running around Prague at full steam.  I went into the city centre and was totally in love with it in no time, the old town is really quite large and full of wonderful art nouveau buildings and fašades and interiors.  Older historic buildings for the small and grand scale are also plentiful.  The city also has a very nice vibe, the locals and the tourists seam to mix as the shopping areas merge into the historical areas.  I manage to find myself the next Stieg Larson novel so this happily occupies my evenings as I am in need of rest desperately.  I also find the shopping malls are much more like the ones I am used to back home and the use of English is quite high too so I relax and just speak English when I need to (which is not much because I don't have a voice and when I do talk it starts me coughing).  I get to know a few people at this hostel which is nice including 2 Australian girls, Sarah and Anna both also travelling alone.  Anna gives me advise on where to go next which I decide to put into action.  I don't exactly go into many of the sights in Prague rather I spend my time wandering (often lost as it is awfully hard to find my way around).  I find a great vegetarian cafeteria which is mentioned in my lonely planet and I also try the pancake parlour but it is not very good as the service is anciently slow, 1/2 hour to even get the menu!  But I couldn't be bothered going somewhere else as it turned out.  The river is pretty cool, ferries lined up and the bars look pretty interesting but not being into the party mood I can't say for sure what they were actually like.  There was even sandy 'beach' with deck chairs lined up.  Mind, at the rate of the flow of water and with it looking so brown I wouldn't think swimming here a good idea.  But people were swimming up river at the hostel which looked nearly inviting and just a bit clearer looking too.  I could have hired out a canoe for a while or gone roller blading along the bike path that runs along the river but to be honest I just didn't have the energy.  Besides these things are best done with other people to make them fun.  On the other side of the river in the city there are 2 hills the first is forested and the second is the castle area.  I went up both twice as it turned out.  The best thing in the castle area is the Cathedral which is free.  I also did the short tour of the palaces and they were interesting but not my favourites so far.  Just looking from outside was pretty nice actually and the views are so wonderful, I think even in winter it would be magic here.  It has a really romantic vibe (if you are inclined to utilize it).  The forested area was really nice too.  Great views and an orchard on one side and tall natural forest on the other.  The last thing I did was go to the Mucha Museum which was worth a look if you like art nouveau posters and art and design.
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