Escape the crowds – visit Prague in Winter

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Charles Bridge

Prague has always been a city I have dreamed of visiting, and I am so glad we are finally here, walking these historical cobblestone streets.

We arrived with the GPS driving me ‘smack bang’ through the old historical town, and right up to the hill overlooking the city.  Oh, it was so beautiful.  We were staying in a brand new boutique hotel called the Golden Key. A stunning boutique hotel where we were able to drop our bags at the reception quickly as we drove up Nerudova, and then park the car at the top of the hill.

We checked in and then later that evening went out nearby for a traditional Bohemian dinner.  I am not sure if this gentleman is the waiter, the owner or both, but he was so helpful, giving us great information about Prague.  In fact, we ate here two times during our stay, but sadly both times I was so tired I forgot to find out the name.  All I can tell you is that it was way better than the service we had at a cafe near the hotel. This one was opposite and slightly downhill and set back through an archway.  But the service was 5 star, it was traditional and the prices were great too.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Bohemian Restaurant

The next day we wanted to explore Prague old city and headed towards the Charles Bridge.  There are a lot of old cars that can tour you around town. We declined as we had various tours already booked, but we saw many happy people rent these by the hour, and drive through the city in style wrapped with a fluffy lap blanket to keep warm.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – touring in the vintage cars

Prague has the oldest library room in Eastern Europe (possibly Europe) and it is opposite the main library.  We had more fun in the main library, and this is free.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Book Tower in the library

Here this pillar has top and bottom mirrors inside and the illusion of eternal books.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – reading is an eternal source of knowledge

We headed to the area of the famous Astrological clock, and this is probably the most crowded area in Prague.  You may have read that Prague streets are narrow and old.

It is one of the few cities that escaped major bombing in the second World War, so the external facades are pretty impressive.  However, there is the argument that when Communism ruled, the city buildings were used for army barracks and headquarters, and other national buildings were even used to house the farm animals like pigs.  The buildings were not cared for, and some fell into disrepair.

However, the buildings now are beautifully restored in about 70% of the cases.  The main meeting place is under the Astrological clock, where at the hour figures pop out of the doors.

We had fun with a fairly ‘special’ man, who was selling trick wire puzzles.  As it was also our friend’s birthday this day, we bought two from him, and we will turn one into a Christmas decoration.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Astrological clock

One of the few great ways we suggest to see the city is to use Climuziny Limousines.  They can take you to places most cars or tour buses can’t get to, and well worth a group of you hiring one for an hour or two. And the service makes you feel a bit like royalty too.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – movie-star service – book a limousine ride

Escape the crowds and visit Prague in Winter is my suggestion.  The streets are not so busy.  The biggest danger is being run over by the Segway Tours which seem to be everywhere.  There is fantastic public transport too, and we got ourselves a Prague City Pass Card which gave us free tours both by the minibus and the boat on the river.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – old tram cafe

We walked to the information booth to collect ours, and as we did so we enjoyed seeing the grand buildings and ducking in and out of the many shops.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – heading towards the square where many free speakers and demonstrations occur

The great thing too is that in winter there is room to take photographs and a lot of them. No fighting the crowds for the best spot, you can move about freely.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – town center is not busy in winter

So as evening came upon us, we headed back over the Charles Bridge again.  We decided then and there that we were going to do a sunset boat tour tomorrow if we could.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Charles Bridge

Next day we were off wandering the streets again and discovered this incredible building built in the 1980’s.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – wonderful modern architecture

We then used our Prague City Pass Card to take a tour around the city for two hours. This was fabulous as really our legs did ache after yesterday’s walking.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – take a city tour

We arrived on the minibus for a half hour break at the palace, and just as they were marching by. In fact, as I tried to take a photo, a soldier just about marched right over me.  It is a straight line no matter who is in the way!

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – visiting the Palace

We then used our Prague City Pass Card to take the afternoon river cruise.

This was a fair walk down to the other end of the river, but it seemed to go back to back with our tour time, so that was great.  Again it wasn’t packed even though the sky was blue, so another reason for visiting in winter.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – River Cruise

The service on the cruise was great – you could sit in the sun on the roof, out the front, or inside, and no matter where, you are served food and drink.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – enjoying hot chocolate on the river cruise

Another great reason to get the Prague City Pass Card is there is a heap of free entries into various museums.  Then there are discounts to a lot of attractions too.  We used ours to get into the larges Lego display in Europe, and boy-oh-boy was Exploramum happy.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Lego Brick display

Then we walked to the Communist Memorial. Here we had a powerful moment where I felt my body chill with as the plaque explains about how Communism was the cause of so much death and decay of human life here in Prague, and Eastern Europe. We talk a lot about this, and how we choose to do all we can not to ever let this decay of mankind happen again.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Communist Memorial

From here we walk along a short way, and it isn’t too far and quite well lit.  We had a ride on the Funicular up to the top of the hill and by now it was dark.  We were glad to walk through the park with the nice people we shared our ride up with.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Funicular

We get discounted entry with our Prague City Pass Card and enter a pretty cool maze.  This is right next to the tower to the right.  We head to the Petrin Tower after this but it closes at 8:00 p.m. in winter.  We were a bit miffed, as we had asked someone earlier, who told us it closed at 10:00 .p.m. – we are less than five minutes too late.  Oh well, we will come back tomorrow.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Mirror Maze

I wake that morning feeling a lot more relaxed.  This is our last day to explore, and it is also on a Sunday. Explorason grabs me and we stop together and listen at the window and stare out at the church at the top of the hill. The prettiest bells are ringing in a melodic tune.  It was a really special few minutes as we just stood with our arms wrapped around each other feeling how much we loved each other, and how glad we were to be here.

So after another fabulous breakfast at Golden Key Boutique Hotel, we decided to take a walk through the park back to Petrin Tower.  We sat in the park and watched the birds feed. It really was a relaxing Sunday. No crowds or noisy groups, just peaceful serenity.  I have no idea how long we relaxed here – maybe half an hour or an hour.  We have been traveling fast, and moments like today are important.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Birdwatching

We climbed the Petrin Tower, again using our Prague City Pass Card to get free entry.  We were going to pay for the elevator, but the lovely ticket lady said the walk is better up the stairs as you see so much more, and so we decided to do this.  As we headed to the top it does start to sway near the top and this freaks Explorason out a bit. And this is not a windy day either!

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – Petrin Tower

We headed to town for a lovely morning tea and a bit more shopping.  As we headed back to the Golden Key Hotel Explorason stopped to catch some bubbles.  Prague in Winter is perfect.  So uncrushed and uncrowded.

We enter the hotel and the very polite receptionist looks at me funny and asks if I want the hotel room cards reprogrammed.  So I ask why.  I discover I have my days mixed up.  We are not meant to be here but at our booking in Munich, and Explorason bursts into tears. It is a five or six-hour journey.

It is 3:00 p.m and we have not yet had lunch.  We race into the cafe next door and eat. In half an hour we are packed and the hotel staff has sent an email to our hotel in Munich, Germany to say we will be late.  We walk so fast up the hill (we feel like we will bust) getting the car. The longest part was the one ways streets that took us forever to get back to the Golden Key Hotel so we could collect our bags.

By 4:35 p.m. we were on the motorway to Munich.  Prague may not be busy in Winter, but we are!

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Exploramum and Explorason – Czech Republic – Prague – catching bubbles in the street

BOOKINGS and ENQUIRIES: Book this hotel here

 

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