Hey there sheBOMBers! As promised I will pick up where I left off (http://www.she-bomb.com/?p=3329), and tell the story of my journey east to Budapest, Prague, Munich, and Berlin (plus a day in Kutna Hora). This edition will feature Prague and Kutna Hora. Enjoy my lovelies!
1. Watching the light change over the city from the Castle district: RECOMMEND.
Sound familiar? We definitely did this in Budapest as well. However the experience felt totally different in Prague. Normally the castle district is swarming with tourists in the day (where as Budapest keeps it chill all day long) so the empty streets were like fresh air in our lungs. Golden lane, which is normally too packed to enjoy, was entirely empty! I even had Kafka’s house all to myself!! A little later we decided to get up early and go to 7 am mass in the cathedral (also like Budapest in that the castle included the Cathedral). Unfortunately, neither Isabel nor I speak Czech, so when a priest approached us to wish us a good morning, we had no choice but to answer with blank stares.
“No tourists until 9 am.”
that was a huge shame. Watching the light change in a cathedral (the change is most dramatic as the sun is rising) is one of the most amazing experiences you can have. The colors in stained glass windows are very sensitive to the light, so they shift and change as the minutes progress. I hate getting up early but I promise it’s worth it.
OK, so we had to wait for the cathedral to open, but it was AWESOME. We watched the sun rise over Prague, walked through empty streets…I wouldn’t change the way it happened for anything.
2. Absinth: RECOMMEND.
I have not laughed this hard in so long. After eating a WHEEL OF FRIED CAMEMBERT CHEESE WITH FRENCH FRIEDS (who needs more after this…?) we made our way home, deciding on the way, “Jeez a döner sounds nice.”
Weeeeell, all the Döner shops were closed…(It was a ripe 4 or 5 in the morning after all). So we asked the front desk sheepishly, “do you sell food here?” (Correction, I giggled uncontrollably like a school girl. Meanwhile Isabel, who’s normally one of the most laid back people I’ve ever met, turned around and gave me an icy glare that said “stop it, you’re inhibiting my ability to win us good favor and food.”)
Of course the front desk of our cheap hostel doesn’t serve food, so we had to shlep upstairs, our bellies (to our wasted minds) pitifully empty. Out of devilish cunning, Isabel perked up with an idea
“THE BREAKFAST ROOM!”
We “sneakily” (I was still incapable of making semi-coordinated movements with my body that didn’t destroy/knock down all nearby objects) broke into the breakfast room, found a (wait for it) carton of Johgurt (?why?) and started eating hungrily.
Clearly this wasn’t good enough. We found cocoa powder. About four cupfuls of cocoa and 26 sugar packets later, we were eating a slightly-johgurty mountain of dehydrated chocolate. Yum. If you think this would be enough for two girls, you don’t know Isabel and I.
At the end of the “Johgurt” I started to feel desperate. I needed something. Something I had had that morning. THE SCRAMBLED EGGS!
There was a giant bowl of delicious scrambled goodness, cooked with plenty of cheese and heaped in a welcoming glass bowl, tempting me to devour it. DUH! We took the eggs and ran. However, at some point common sense (or a physical lack of space in my digestive system) urged me to STOP EATING FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD. We were spent, but there were still eggs left. Should we leave the eggs in our locker, and try to return the bowl like civilized human beings?
Being a reasonable, and well raised English girl, Isabel started to chuckle with yet another devilish plan. (I was still laughing uncontrollably at nothing. I am literally worthless.) “I know, we will return the eggs, so that there’s still some left at breakfast as they planned, however, we will leave our dirty spoons inside the bowl!”
it was mother-fucking-ingenious.
I still don’t know what happened to those last bits of eggs…
3.a. THE CHARLES BRIDGE! RECOMMEND
3.b. The Charles Bridge in the daytime… DO NOT RECOMMEND.
We loved the Charles Bridge! And how could you not? It was gorgeous, and each side is lined wit (often religiously themed) sculptures, making it one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen. Actually, the first thing that Isabel and I did (aside from getting horribly lost and circling around the same square three times with all of our luggage with giant signs on our backs saying “kick me, I’m a tourist”) was take an enchanting stroll down the Charles Bridge at night. The city lights reflecting into the smooth Vlatva river was enough to cast a spell over us.
The next day, we descended from our perch (aka cheap hostel nestled at the foot of the castle) and down the main street to the Charles Bridge where we were met by a solid wall of fellow tourists. Now, I love sight seeing as much as the next fanny-pack-wielding-middle-aged-slack-chinned-photo-snapping tourist…BUT trudging forward half a step at a time like a herd of cattle breathing each other’s farts is not my idea of a good time. Seriously, avoid the crowds and walk on the next bridge over, (to the north is closer) we found it’s actually prettier because you can look on at the Charles bridge in all it’s splendor :)
4. Climbing the tower of the “new” town house (and by new they mean medieval)
An image is worth a thousand words, right? so no need for comment :)
5. The house of the Black Madonna: RECOMMEND! (And I recommend a slice of Cake while you’re at it!)
A stop in this cubist cafe/museum is a must. This place has the best ambiance, plus the entire place was designed to be a cubist building (therefore it now hosts the cubist museum) so the entire building is very three-dimensional and spatially aware. Pretty cool, huh?! Not to mention all the big-wig intellectuals of Praha frequented the cafe, giving it the best vibe (not to mention a great way to rest from sight seeing and escape the crushing feeling that guided tours sometimes give off)
It’s really hard to capture a cubist museum in photos, so I won’t try too hard! Because the whole place is so three dimensional it can only be experienced by walking around, shifting, watching corners, light, shadows…but there were really some jems here!
OK! Wow! There’s just too much to say about Prague! So I’m going to have to end it there, but by all means, gogogogogogogogo to this city!
One last thing, we went to Kutna Hora, a middle aged silver mining town that has (since its time as the second largest city in the Czech Republic) fallen from prominence. Nonetheless, this means that its numerous Gothic and Baroque buildings remain preserved (along with the cathedral).
Nonetheless, the thing that really brings tourists over from Prague to this miserable little town, is the Sedlec Ossuary. Because holy ground was brought back from a crusade to a small graveyard here, prominent members of Polish, Czech, and German society have been scrambling to get buried in ground here. This meant that eventually the monks of the presiding monastery started digging up and piling bones to make room for new bodies. Eventually this habit changed into decorating a chapel with human remains.
This place is like staring your own death in the face (actually). It was creepy, and is best described in pictures, but there’s nothing like the experience of looking at a stack of well arranged femurs, towering above your head at twice your height…eeh.
So, on that morbid note, I leave you, my sheBOMBreaders, with notes on what to do (and not to do) in Prague and Kutna Hora. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and more so I hope that you have the opportunity to see these places yourself!!
X X X