Tuesday, 4 February 2014

december in prague

Mum arrived in Edinburgh right before her birthday in December, so we decided to do a trip that would take us to Christmas Markets, since Christmas is one of her favourite things. After a bit of drama with cancelled flights we ended up going to Prague, with a side trip to Dresden in Germany.

Just arrived at our apartment in Prague!

We left Edinburgh early in the morning, flying jet2 direct once again, and once again staying at an airbnb! this time it was a little studio apartment in Praha 1 near the Old Town Square. This was a perfect base for us to explore all the sights within walking distance.

Our apartment on the left...with outdoor toilet!

My loft bed
Outside our apartment

The buildings in the Old Town comprise of colorful and sometimes ornately painted facades. These, along with the Gothic Tyn Church and the Astronomical Clock face into the Old Town Square, which was our first stop. At this time of year the square was covered by the Christmas Market, which is made up of food, drink and craft stores. As well as a stall with animals! We quickly got to trying out the Czech specialties, starting with delicious grill cheese on a piece of bread, and the Czech version of the chimney stack, Trdelnik, I had tried two weeks before in Budapest. Sorry Prague, but I think the Budapest ones were better!! We also tried honey meade, which is potent to say the least! It tastes a bit like warmed up cough syrup and I definitely preferred the version sweetened with almonds. I suppose they needed it to keep warm in the middle ages.

The Christmas market in Old Town Square

Awesome buildings facades facing the Square

Tyn Church

Looking down on the market

Grill cheese nom nom

We made our way along the riverfront to one of the most famous sites in Prague, the Charles Bridge which connects the Old and Lesser Towns. The bridge was built in the 14th century, and has 3 gothic towers and baroque statues lining each side that were added in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, although the statues are now all replicas. The bridge is pedestrian only and generally very busy with artists and souvenir sellers as well as musicians. We went over at dusk as it was getting darker and it was awesome to see at that time of night because there weren't many people and everything was all lit up.

Mum trying a mulled wine

Walking by the river

The Tower to Charles Bridge

On Charles Bridge

The Tower at night

For Mum's birthday dinner we took a risk and went to a restaurant that was down in a basement in the Lesser Town. It had stone walls and elaborate furnishings, and we were seated in our own little alcove. Turns out grog is not just another name for alcohol, but an actual drink of local rum with a slice of lemon in it, and sugar on the side to add if you like. Also turns out I don't like grog all that much. For dinner Mum had beef goulash and a mixture of bread, potato and bacon dumplings. I had the Bohemian platter which ame with a mix of meats, cabbage and dumplings. Delicious Czech food!

The Lesser Town

Door to the restaurant...dubious

Grog...not recommended

Happy Birthday Mum!

Czech Bohemian Platter

After that it was back to the Old Town Square for Mum's birthday treat, a horse and carriage ride around the cobbled streets of the Old Town. It was such an awesome experience going through the old streets surrounded by all the lit up buildings and Christmas lights. Not so awesome when we got out and Mum had forgot to put the money I gave her in her wallet, despite assuring me before we got in that she had money and I nearly had a heart attack thinking we didn't have the money to pay for it! I'm sure the driver would have thought that was a likely story.

Old Town Square at night

With our driver

Me and Mum

Riding down the cobbled streets with Christmas lights

Mum afterwards, after we paid thankfully...

Saturday we started with bagels and coffee at Bohemian bagel, delicious and cheap! We wandered through Wenceslas Square (not a square) in the New Town, and went up the Astronomical Clock Tower to have a view over the Old Town. Dinner at a small restaurant in the narrow Old Town streets once again involved goulash and dumplings, and a bottle of local Czech wine.

Wenceslas Square

View from the Astronomical Tower

Looking down towards the Christmas Markets

Mum at the top of the Tower

Looking towards Tyn Church

More delicious Czech food

On the Sunday we took the train to Dresden, which is only a two hour trip and easy to do. I'll talk about this in another post!

Our last day in Prague was a beautiful day and we decided to explore more of the Lesser Town. We walked up the hill to Prague Castle which is also the site of the impressive St Vitus Cathedral. Coffee on the way down overlooking Prague was stunning. I had my last goulash and dumplings for lunch and we had coffee at cake at a bakery down the road from the apartment that we had been eyeing up since we arrived. It was a bit tight making it to the airport after we missed the bus but we zipped through security and boarded straight away.

Charles Bridge Tower by day

Statues on the bridge...quiet in the morning

Me on Charles Bridge

Looking to the Palace

Statues with the other towers

The Palace

St Vitus Cathedral

View from our coffee stop

Bridge and canal

Last walk through Old Town Square

Coffee and cake...as usual!

Another awesome weekend away and so nice to share it with my Mum for her birthday!


1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for writing so I can relive it all over again!! it was such an awesome time, especially sharing so many new experiences with you. always wanted to go there and so glad we had the opportunity after our first plans fell through. It was so much better than I imagined, beautiful City. it definitely wouldn't have been as much fun without your company, my dreams came true :) xo