The EUROPE TALES continue from my friend Priyanka, who lives in Berlin.
Let us talk PRAGUE today! Over to her…
I know I am putting myself in trouble here. There are way too many lovers of the city famously known as Prague as compared to someone like me who thinks the place is probably little overhyped and way too slow and lethargic for someone like me.
Well, I am not completely opposed to the idea of having a really relaxed holiday, I partly understand the logic but Prague has hardly anything new to offer. We visited Prague in days that were slightly gloomy & one of the days it also rained a little too much to actually do any sight seeing. So may be this comes from a wrong timing. But in my defence, I would like to say that despite having a great hotel – Hilton to stay in and those being easter days when the entire city was soaked in festivity, there wasn’t a single “aha” moment during my entire trip.
The point I am trying to make is, if you have the time & budgets to do about 4 to 5 cities on your next European trip, you might as well consider skipping this one.
So why you may or may not enjoy Prague so much!
1) Pub Hopping & more than a fair share of Drinks & Weeds.
The food is not very great unless you are happy with just the booze & party scene.
Pub hopping and meeting random people are perhaps the reasons why young travellers love Prague so much. I personally with a 4-year-old did not find any of these aspects attractive. But also I am not too sure if it would have changed had I visited Prague 10 years back with friends. Well, I mean what is the big deal with pubbing in a random city with random people? Anyway, that is just what I think.
2) Literally a ‘do nothing’ place
Prague is a freelancers haven. 70% of the working population here donot have permanent jobs and they prefer to stay that way, as the taxes are very high and the city still has a fairly ‘communist’ mindset that value simplicity and a humble balanced lifestyle alike many European cities including Berlin, the one I live in currently.
So, if you just want to visit Prague, spend some time “doing nothing” you might like it. As a tourist wanting to know more about the history and culture, you may find it less interesting and more gloomy and depressing. At least that is what I felt like.
3) A gloomy history & a bit of arty feel
Czechs have a very painful history, just like the Germans. In fact, their national anthem starts with “where is my home “.
At one point I was feeling so low & emotionally drained out that I was lost for the rest of the evening after I heard the stories of world wars & visited the Old Jewish Cemetery.
Prague is the birthplace of the famous writer Franz Kafka and also one of the favourite destination for Mozart’s concert.
And here are some tips too which will be handy whenever you are here….
1) Top attractions
Charles Bridge, The astronomical clock , Prague Castle. These are probably the three worth visiting in Prague. Rest of the sites are quite normal. Though I would seriously recommend the Sandaman’s free city tour. These tour guides work on tips , so totally depends on how much you want to tip them at the end of your tour. They not just take you to the important sights within the city but also give a very interesting anecdotes about the city.
2) Where to stay
Prague has many many affordable hostels & AirBnB options to stay. We stayed at the Hilton (because we could save some points on our frequent flyer cards). One must make use of these cards well before booking any international flights! The executive lounge at Hilton gives access to unlimited drinks & snacks after 6 pm every day which gives you absolutely no reason to step out in the evening. And it also has a fantastic swimming pool & gym for spending a very very relaxed holiday.
3) To reach
Since we live in Berlin, Prague is just 4 hours drive from here. We booked Flix bus while going and Bla Bla car while coming back. Though I seriously recommend the former.
TIP OF THE DAY
If you are visiting from India, plan an exclusive Eastern Europe trip can cover cities like Budapest (Hungary), Prague (Czech Republic), Warsaw (Poland), Vienna/Salzburg (Austria), Berlin/ Dresden/Hamburg (Germany) via road.
A combination of these cities will give you a very good understanding of World War 2 history and will also show a very unique and lesser known face of Europe. More real & less glamorous actually. I have been to a couple of them already & plan to do the others very soon.
I really hope you find my travel tidbits useful & interesting. Have you been to Prague? What is your opinion about it? Did I miss something important? I am all ears.
Priyanka Purkaystha from www.writersmelon.com