Prague, Czech Republic

City of Sirens?.


9/3/20235 min read

I've realised I will possibly remember Prague as the city of sirens. I've lost count of how many times I've heard the siren from a police car or an ambulance, but it's been a LOT. And they're LOUD here!

Sirens aside though - we have another stunner here. As home to just over 1.3m people - Prague is one of the most visited cities in the world, and I can see why. There is so much to see and do here. It's a hub for the arts and music culture - and in fact, as I walked along the river front early this morning, I passed an open window behind the concert hall and could hear a pianist practicing.

The streets are wide and the traffic flows easily - thanks again to the public transport system (mostly trams) - minimising the cars on the road - which is just as well, as the foot-traffic was considerable. Bloody tourists (oops, I am one).. it's almost impossible to get great photos without random legs, arms and heads in the shot, if not the whole crowd. With that said - I think I managed a few goods photos again - and I loved my visit here.

The 4-hour train ride from Vienna was a breeze. I bought a 'business class' ticket - I think the whole thing only cost me about $40NZD - and it meant I had a peaceful trip, with plenty of space, and only 2 other people in the 4-berth compartment with me. I had a window seat and was able to relax and enjoy the view and the sunshine along the way. Luck was on my side once again with my accommodation - I had managed to land just 450 mtrs from the train station, while also being right in front of the National History Museum, and just around the corner from the main area in the city I wanted to visit.. you guessed it.. Old Town! As it was only mid-afternoon when I arrived at my room at Cozy apartment in city center, Prague – Updated 2023 Prices ( - I had time to get out and get my bearings and clock up a few steps, before I was completely exhausted for the day. I think I may have mentioned it in one of my recent posts - but traveling this much has been pretty tiring! (especially doing it all on my own). The good thing this time though, was that I had a pretty solid sleep and was able to get up earlier than I have been lately, to beat most of the crowds this morning.

I found a nice cafe in the square in Old Town for breakfast - and tried some Czech porridge. Yum! It was super-creamy and covered in honey, so it kept me going until late afternoon. I passed a cafe that was offering 'unlimited prosecco' along with their full breakfast, and wondered how many locals took advantage and turned up to the office sloshed? I also passed the largest number of McDonalds I think I've ever seen in one place - although I think for every one Maccas - there were 3 cannabis shops!! That was a new one for me! Loads of very high-end shopping here again - although I had more of a feeling of 'wealth' around me in Vienna, in terms of the way people were dressed etc. The 'label' shops here didn't seem as busy - rather, people seemed more interested in taking in the sights and the food.

Oh the food. Again, my willpower is being tested to the limit. I found a healthy-ish lunch when I arrived (the salmon bene in the pic below - which also covered me for dinner that day), and pretty good breakfast options, but night #2 I had to try something local - and the long queue for the ham-on-the-spit and the Czech potatoes was my sign. NOT disappointed! It wasn't cheap (but then, nothing in Europe is, when you're rolling on NZD's), but it was delicious. The potatoes were like little balls of gnocchi, tossed with finely-cut cabbage and onions, garlic, and butter, and warmed through in a giant paella pan. There were 3 giant glazed hams slowly turning on a spit over hot coals, and it was available by weight, with or without a side of the potatoes, and with or without one of the giant kranski-style sausages. I went for the ham and potatoes.

There are beautiful bakeries everywhere, as bread and pastries are simply part of the culture here. Pizza and pasta are certainly popular options here too, but in general, traditional Czech food seems to be heavy on the meat and potatoes side. The most common main course I saw being devoured, was a slow-cooked beef in a thick gravy, with potato dumplings. These guys also love their sugar, and the gelato stands that have been a recurring theme since Greece, are competing for sweet-tooth dollars, with things called 'Trdelníks'. They're also known as 'chimney cakes'. Basically deep-fried cylindrical dough, coated in cinnamon sugar and often lined with chocolate, then filled with ice-cream and cream.

So aside from rolling around town eating, the river is beautiful and divides the city, with another older area on the opposite side of the river to the main Old Town. There are a couple of main bridges that make great vantage points for photos and views, and there are numerous boats that do lunch and dinner cruises, and sightseeing tours. On the tour theme, there are loads of walking-tours available, or vintage cars and horse and carriage options if you don't feel like walking. And of course the hop-on/hop-off trams (if you know where you're going). And for anyone with a macabre sense of adventure, there are tours that go through the underground dungeons and tunnels.

I thought the museum was a worthwhile visit. I spent close to 2 hours in there looking through it all - and learning a lot more about the long and eventful history of this country. Including the fact there was serious conflict here, as recently as the late 80's. Mind you.. I'll admit my knowledge of world history (and geography) in general, was pretty poor up until recently!

Unlike the stunning Greek Islands, or Vienna, I struggled to find anything I really wanted to buy here for a little souvenir. All the souvenir shops offered the same things.. keyrings, snow globes, fridge magnets, and way too many cheap-looking brightly-coloured trinkets that simply won't match the simple boho/coastal/scandi aesthetic I have in mind for my new abode when I settle again after my travels😕. Which brings me to the other thing that seems to be exceedingly popular here.. coloured Bohemian crystal!! Like the stuff our Mums and Nannas had in the 70's?!!. I could have been tempted with one of the magnificent Lalique pieces in Vienna, but the coloured Bohemian is getting a hard no from me.

And that's a wrap on Prague! I'll be leaving the blue skies and much more pleasant temperature of around 25 degrees here tomorrow, for Cologne. Hopefully the temps don't drop below 24/25 for the remainder of my Europe leg, as I really don't have anything warm to wear, and no room to fit anything that I might buy, into my bag.

Signing off now, as I have the earliest start I've had in a while, tomorrow. I'll be down the street to the train at 6.30am, for the 8.5 hour ride ahead.

Prague on a Plate ...

Picturesque Prague...

Night at the Museum ...