First past the deserted outdoor Hard Rock cafe and the still shut outlet/indoor cafe. Then past the astronomical clock and the empty Old Town square and onwards to the Powder Gate tower. What a peaceful walk and the morning chill makes it refreshing.
Hard Rock outdoor cafe.
The still shut Hard Rock in the early morning.
The Astronomical clock from across the Old Town square.
Street to the Power Gate in the background.
The Powder Gate in the early morning.
After breakfast, we headed over to the Dancing Building … that unmistakable landmark of Prague. As famous it could be, there were still empty floors for rent after all these years.
Prague Dancing building.
Lots still available for rent.
Diagonally opposite the Dancing Building, on river Vltava, there were 2 floating restaurants.
Prague floating restaurant.
From here, we took the tram to the nearby Andel station crossing the Vltava river. On Fridays, there is a morning market selling vegetables, fruits, breads, flowers and the like right in-front of Andel station. A big supermarket at the station, would fulfill your other requirements.
Friday morning market in-front of Andel station.
Your week’s requirement can be gotten here.
Varieties of bread to choose from.
The flower section.
From Andel station, we took a tram to Ujezd to go up Petrin Tower on Petrin Hill. You go up to Petrin Hill via a funicular using the normal tram ticket of 24CZK each way. On reaching Petrin Hill, you’ll walk across a beautifully maintained rose garden to the tower. Entrance to the 63.5m high Petrin tower is 120CZK, and you can either walk up 299 steps or take a small lift for an additional 60CZK. We choose the lift up but for the descend, we walked down instead.
Petrin Hill rose garden.
Another view of the rose garden.
The Petrin Tower looming from the rose garden. A short walk from the funicular stop.
Closer view of the Petrin Tower.
Benches to relax at the rose garden.
The Petrin tower is definitely one of the best photo spot in Prague. Although we went up at 12:00 p.m. there were still mist in the far background. On a clear day, you should be able to get a beautiful photograph of Prague city.
Prague castle complex from Petrin tower.
The Charles bridge from the tower.
Close by to the funicular station at the Petrin foot hill coming up from Ujezd tram stop, you’ll see these statues. The Memorial to the victims of Communism.
The disappearing man statues by David Cerny.
Concluded our Petrin Hill & Petrin Tower visit, we took tram No. 22 towards Malostranske namesti. A short walk off the Charles bridge to the left, is Frank Kafka museum. These pissing statues will be greeting you.
Pissing statues outside Frank Kafka museum.
Towards your right, from the Charles bridge just before Kafka museum, is Prague’s narrowest street … probably Czech’s narrowest. So narrow, it has traffic lights for pedestrians. You can only walk one abreast.
Prague or world’s narrowest street. See the pedestrian traffic light?
Location of Pargue’s narrowest street. Click for bigger map.
To end our day, we had a late lunch at Istanbul Kebab, a turkish halal restaurant. It’s location is right in-front of The Palladium side entrance. It’s diagonally opposite Hotel Ibis Old town close to Republiky tram stop. Muslim travelers may want to take note of this eatery or alternatively at Nordsee inside Palladium mall’s food court.
Turkish restaurant, Istanbul Kebab besides Palladium mall. Tasty food.
Location of Istanbul Kebab. Nordsee is inside Palladium on the food court level.
Start of the 2nd day at dawn, I walk over to Charles Bridge from our hostel for some morning shots of the bridge. It a short distance taking only 4 minutes. A total contrast from the maddening mid-day crowd. At 6.20 a.m. the bridge was so peaceful, calm and the bridge lights were still lit giving that romantic mood. There were more photographers, men & women than locals passing by. Temperature was about 12 C°.
The 6.20 a.m. morning ‘crowd’ on Charles Bridge.
Karlova street leading to our hostel at dawn.
Just before 9.00 a.m. after breakfast, I headed back to Charles Bridge with my wife. There were still no crowd .. just like dawn earlier but a little more locals getting to work. From the Old Town bridge tower we walk to the other side but before reaching the Lesser Town bridge tower, we took a left turn down the stairs where there is a small square lined with trees. We are now on Kampa Island.
Tree lined square on Kampa Island.
Taking a right turn to Hroznova street, it led us to a small bridge leading the way to John Lennon wall. The railing of the bridge is packed full of love padlocks. Wonder whats the combined weight of these padlocks.
Virtually no more space for one more padlock.
A short walk from this bridge, we arrived at one of my favorite artist, ex-Beatles John Lennon wall. This wall, a tribute to him.
In memory of John Lennon.
John Lennon wall, Prague.
From the Lennon wall, we walked to Malostranska tram stop and took tram No. 22 to visit Prague Castle once again on our own. We got off at Prazsky hard tram stop and walk towards the 2nd courtyard entrance we entered yesterday. Mid-way to our left is the Royal Gardens. We strolled around for a while and proceeded straight to the Castle square viewpoint for pictures of Prague’s rooftops.
The Castle Royal garden.
Another view of the Royal garden.
Prague rooftops from the Castle square.
Stairs up to the castle main entrance (1st courtyard).
After the castle we proceeded back to Old Town and went to Hard Rock to purchase a few T-shirts for our children. Hard Rock is just nearby the astronomical clock.
Hard Rock Cafe, Prague.
Entrance to the merchandise shop & indoor cafe.
From the Old Town square, we walk over to Wenceslas Square passing Havelske street market. You’ll find fruits, handiwork as well as other products sold here. Fridge magnets are worth buying here as they are priced cheaper. And on to Wenceslas square, you can buy branded products and visit the National Museum at the other end of the square.
Havelske street market.
The colorful wooden tulips is a nice buy.
A lot of varieties at Havelske street market.
The National Museum at one end of Wenceslas Square.
Streets of Wenceslas square where outlets sells branded products.
We ended our day’s activity walking back from Wenceslas square to our hostel in the early evening. Unlike other locations, we stayed an extra night in Prague and have the whole day tomorrow to explore Prague further.
Our transportation to Pargue from Cesky Krumlov was again using CK Shuttle due to the convenience of being drop-off together with our luggage at the door steps of our hotel in Prague. This time, a VW shuttle van with already 3 passengers came to pick us up on time. We were the last 2 making a total of 5 in a van that can seat 8 passengers.
Again, the van was comfortable, clean and the ride was smooth all the way. We were pick-up at 9 a.m. and the journey to Prague would take 3 hours. Along the way, we passed a few scenic spots.
103km to Praha (Prague).
Passing Czech country side.
Without being told, I recognised Prague’s ‘Dancing Building’. I knew at 11.45 a.m. we have entered Prague city center. The traffic was slightly heavy but moving.
Useful Prague tram & metro route. Credit : metro.angrenost.cz
We were the last to be dropped-off and we stayed at Ritchie’s Hotel & Hostel right on Karlova Street. This is the street you would walk from Charles bridge over to the old town square. An added convenience staying here for us, there is a halal kebab shop ‘Bodrum’ just below the hostel. They serve tasty kebab & pizza. A convenience store is just besides it.
The entrance to Ritchie’s hostel is through an art gallery where at the end, is a steep spiral stair case up the hostel.
Bodrum halal eatery below Ritchie’s hostel right on Karlova Street. Tasty servings. See location on map below.
As usual, not wasting time, we sat out to walk to Palladium mall about 1.3km away. On the way, just before reaching the astronomical clock, to your left is Hard Rock cafe.
Hard Rock Cafe, Prague.
Just a short distance further up, is the old town hall & astronomical clock that strikes every hour. Come to think of the flood of crowd waiting for the clock to strike and witness nothing else amazes me. I’m sure something was malfunctioning about this clock.
Prague Astronomical clock by the Old Town Square.
To the right of the clock (looking at it) is the Old Town Square where you’ll find different street musicians performing each day. And across the square is the Church of Our Lady before Týn.
Street musicians performing at the Old Town Square.
Church of Our Lady before Týn as seen from across the astronomical clock.
Walking further down from the Old Town Square passing rows of shops will take you to the Powder Gate and turning left onwards to Palladium Mall where we had lunch at Nordsee located at the top floor food court. There’s also an Arabic/Indian halal shop diagonally across Nordsee.
Pass the Powder Gate and to your left, it will take you to Palladium.
Nordsee, Palladium food court, Prague.
Walking route from Ritchie’s Hostel to Palladium. 1.3km, 16 minutes brisk walk.
We had booked a Prague 3-hour daytime guided Photo Walk through ‘Get Your Guide‘ conducted by a husband-and-wife team of Thomas & Petra. They came over to our hostel and the photo walk started at 5.15 p.m. I was the only participant & my wife as a non-paying companion.
We first passed the Czech Philharmonic building before crossing river Vltava via Manusuv bridge. Once on the other side of the river, we turned left and headed downwards towards the river cruise jetty where there were a flock of geese and ducks with the Charles Bridge in the background.
Geese, ducks, boat & Charles Bridge.
We back-tracked to where we turned left earlier, crossed Klarov street and walked straight ahead past Malostranska tram stop and turned left to what seems to be a uphill driveway before exiting mid way on the right into the woods! This off the beaten track will take us to the castle entrance according to Thomas. About half hour of tracking, we reached the 2nd courtyard castle entrance where the castle sentry stood on guard.
Start of our trekking through the woods to Prague castle. Thomas & Petra showing the way. Or is it my wife leading them?
Through this short tunnel what seems at the end of it like pollen or dust floating around.
Part of the castle from the woods.
St Vitus cathedral structure jutting out from the woods.
At the end of wooden fence on the right (with the light pole) just before the guard, is the exit from the woods. This will be the entrance to the castle 2nd courtyard if came by tram No. 22 and dropped-off at Prazsky Hard. Credit:rogerzki.wordpress.com
Entering the castle from the 2nd courtyard entrance, we made our way to the 3rd courtyard where St Vitus cathedral is located. An awesomely huge building. Thereon, we walked to the Golden Lane and had photos of John Kafka’s former home.
Entrance to the 3rd courtyard.
St Vitus cathedral located in the 3rd courtyard.
Golden Lane with it’s rather cute ‘small’ houses.
The castle square in-front of the 1st courtyard (main entrance) at dusk.
From the Golden Lane, we made our way out through the main castle entrance, pass the castle square and headed to Novy Svet. Photographers take note – the quiet lanes here are photo spot not to be missed.
Quiet lane of Novy Svet.
Back lane of Novy Svet.
From Novy Svet, we started our walk back to our hostel passing the Loreta church, Uvoz street, Strahovská garden, the US Embassy and onto Charles Bridge which will take us to Karlova street at the other end. By the time we were at Strahovská garden, it was 7.40 p.m. and the sun has already set and it’s starting to get dark.
Uvoz street at sundown.
Prague castle alight after sundown. Shot from Strahovská garden.
Shot towards Kafka Museum from Charles Bridge at nightfall.
We crossed Charles Bridge at 8.15 p.m. and reached our hostel 10 minutes later. With our thanks of appreciation, we bid goodbye to Thomas & Petra for showing us around Prague’s photo spots.