Standing in the Middle of a Fairy Tale

The first thing I saw when we crossed the border into the Czech Republic was a sign for Burger King.  Then I saw a sign for McDonald's.  Then I saw a sign for Ikea and... another Burger King?  Then I got skeptical.  How could a gorgeous European city that everyone raves about have that many Burger Kings and McDonalds?  It took us about 1 1/2 hours of driving, but as soon as we crossed the bridge and I saw that multi colored row of buildings neatly lined up across the water I knew we were there.

The drive from Stuttgart to Prague was about five hours, and I really appreciate my husband for driving the whole way there and back.  Did you know that some parts of the Autobahn have no speed limit? Well, he took full advantage of it.  We checked into Hotel Cosmopolitan Prague which was perfection by the way.  It reminded me of Venetian Las Vegas because it smelled good in the lobby.  Like it had it's own special air pumped in.  The room was really nice.  We were 5 for 5 on awesome hotels that are nice, clean, and doesn't trigger my OCD type tendencies.  We went out to explore right away, and I was instantly in awe.  Really.  My mouth was hanging open, and I was awe struck by the beauty of the architecture in Prague.  Everywhere you look, there is another building that is a work of art on it's own, but when all the buildings are that ornate and elaborately adorned is when you realize that you are standing in the middle of a fairy tale.  It didn't seem real.

We ate dinner that night in Prague square, and one of the first things I noticed is that people in Prague seemed to travel in gangs.  Later on I realized that there are a lot of walking tours going on all day long every day and that's what that was all about.  I also noticed that there are lots of bachelor parties going on there.  Prague must be quite the party city, and if I'd had the energy I would have done one of those bar crawls they had people soliciting for in the square.  I really wanted to, but the most I could muster was wine at every meal.  We also bought a mini bottle of Absinthe home, because I've never tried it.

St. Vitus Cathedral

The next morning we went to the hotel breakfast and set off to explore Prague Castle.  It was hot.  I know I keep saying that in every post, but I have never been so sweaty on vacation in my life.  I truly didn't realize what a sweaty person I am until I sweat my way through 6 European cities!  We didn't do any research on what to do.  And really, that's because we simply didn't have an agenda for this trip.  We crammed a lot of travel into a month, so I think my idea was to take it easy and enjoy each city.  Our first European vacation was so frenetic that I wanted to experience it a little differently this time around.  If either one of us had been so inclined to want to do a specific thing we would have, but we were fine, just taking it as it comes and seeing where we ended up.  For starters, we used the hotel map and circled all the places that Trip Advisor said was a must see.  Agenda done.

We rushed to make it to the changing of the guard at 12pm.    There were a lot of stairs to reach that castle, and as you already know, it was hot.  We were late, and it was still going on, but I was not interested in fighting the crowds, and angling for a view among the bodies in that kind of heat, so I didn't really catch much of it, but that was okay.  There is a lot to see in Prague Castle.  We bought tickets right there, and it allowed us into enough places so that we were there for hours.  We found a place for lunch right next to the river, with a really nice view and a nice breeze, because HOT.

View from lunch : Manes Bridge


Spending money in Prague was kind of different, because in general I didn't know how much anything cost or how much I was spending.  Everything on the menu was like hundreds of dollars, and you have to do a little bit of math in your head to convert it to I usually didn't bother.  The Czech Republic has it's own currency, the Koruna, and it's worth significantly less than the Euro.  So, for example our lunch cost us 974 Koruna, but it was only €38.  MJ took out about 4,000 Koruna when we got there, but every place was fine with taking Euro.


The other order of business in Prague was to eat a Trdelník.  Nope. Still don't know how to say it, but it was good.  Trdlnik is a sweet pastry cooked around a stake over an open fire.  The newest thing that started in Prague is to fill it with ice cream.

That night we made a big, big mistake.  We fell asleep in our room and didn't wake up until around 8ish.  I was so mad at us!  It felt like such a waste of precious Prague time.  We woke up and went to dinner at a place down the street from our hotel.

Tavern U Krale Brabantskeho

Prague is the the kind of city that you really just want to take your time enjoying, so without an agenda, there was lots of meandering.  The next day we spent all day walking to Mala Strana and back.  Mala Strana is the oldest part of Prague.  It is not an all day walk, but we made it an all day walk.  We walked through Jewish town.  I took pictures.  We ate lunch.  We searched for a bathroom, and found one for 0.50.  We wandered the streets.  We admired the buildings.  We had time to just be, and I loved it.  The day before we'd seen a dark hole in the wall looking medieval tavern near the castle.  I didn't want eat there, but I really wanted to sit in a real tavern and have a drink.  We found a seat at a wooden table near this lovely older couple from Sicily.  The guy just wanted to eat his dinner, but he smiled for the camera anyway, because his wife wanted pictures.  I didn't even have to tell MJ that would be us in 15 years.  Tavern U Krale Brabantskeho was awesome.  It looked just like I imagined it must have looked 642 years ago.  The place has been around since 1375! 

After that we went to the museum of torture.  It was just another thing that we saw along the way and decided we wanted to check it out.

We walked over the Saint Charles Bridge every day

Saint Charles Bridge
Old Town Square

On our way back there was a jazz band playing in the square, so we joined the others sitting on the ground and listened for a bit before heading back to the hotel.  We ate dinner at the hotel, and then way too soon for my liking even though I was exhausted, it was time for bed.

The next morning we went to breakfast, checked out and then hit the road for home, so even though we were there for four days we technically had about 2 1/2 days to explore.  Travel time is a bitch.  Praha, also known as Prague, is a really beautiful city.  There is a cherub, angel, priest, gargoyle, or something hanging off of almost every building.  Not only is it nice to look at, but it's a really fun place to be.

So that's it.  Four countries, five cities, and 18ish nights in hotels in about a month.  That's what I've been up to and I haven't even mentioned the fun stuff we did in Stuttgart.  I've been living the dream for the past six weeks.  Truly.  You know, that thing where you get an extended amount of time off during the summer?  It's called Summer vacation and I finally got one. 

Related:  10 Things to do in Paris


Mrs. Pancakes said...

Love this! You just made me think of the bachelorette this season when she went to Prague. European countries are truly magic aren't they! Glad you enjoyed!

Amanda @ said...

Great photos! I love following along with your travels, because I hate flying and will likely never see these places myself :)

Faith said...

Seriously, a dream vacation. Looks like a fairytale. Oh the goosebumps I'll have to see this in person. Love that you made sure to have a drink in a medieval tavern. Looked so cool! And the cute couple would be me and Sean in the future too, haha. Although Sean won't be smiling for the pic. I have loved following along on Instastories and seeing all the places you've been able to visit. Truly a real summer vacation!

R's Rue said...


Laura Darling said...

That's so awesome that you got to spend all that time together! I've heard about the parts of the Autobahn with no speed limit - crazy! My husband would love that but I think I'd be a little nervous!