Out for a hike in Colombia, South America. Photo taken November 25, 2015.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Exploring Prague

Our couchsurfing host Maria took us in her car to the subway (underground) station nearest her home. She was going into the city anyhow, so it was nice to have someone with us to show us how the transportation and ticketing system works.

We paid 24 korunas ($1.20) for the half hour ticket. This is the cheaper option, but there is also a 32 koruna  ($1.60) ticket that is valid for an hour and a half and allows lots of time for transfers if necessary. Prague is a city of about 1.2 million people, so it's not huge. There are three underground subway lines, and a very organized bus and tram system.

We got off the subway and headed straight for the tourist info center to get a detailed map of the city. Tourist info doesn't open until 10:00am, so we had 15 minutes to wait.

Ruth on the Charles pedestrian bridge.

An interesting sculpture on the bridge.

Reader Spencer made a comment on yesterday's post that he didn't enjoy Prague as much as he should have because there were too many tourists. We tend to agree with that comment. The central area was packed with tourists, in fact it seemed that virtually everybody was carrying a camera and a map. And unfortunately, we fit right in with that aspect. And almost every store was some kind of a tourist trinket shop or an overpriced restaurant. I had a feeling about this, and that's why we only planned one day in Prague, just enough to see the major sights. And it is worth a visit, because we did see some interesting things.

Kevin, in the courtyard of the Artbanka Museum of Young Art (AMoYA). Strange. We did not pay the 160 korunas ($8.00) each to go inside.

Many of the central streets are very narrow and are for pedestrians only.

That's a skinny hotel!

Ruth at an interesting puppet shop.

One of the major streets. This is sort of away from the tourist area, but I have a feeling that all of these people are tourists anyhow!

Saint Henry Tower, built between 1472-1475.

Prague is dotted with a lot of these church towers. Any we found, charged to go inside and get to the top. Also, most churches are closed, although some have the entrance doors open, but then a cage gate so you can only see through. Most also say no photos are allowed, although some do allow you to take a photo through the cage.

This odd situation with the old churches is probably due to the fact that Czech Republic is one of the most athiest countries in the world. We hear this may be due to the fact that so many Czechs were killed over the centuries, at one time because they were Catholic, and at another time because they were Protestant. So why be either?

We decided to pay the 80 korunas ($4.00) each to go inside Saint Henry's Tower. The exterior is original, but the inside has been modernized with an elevator (we took the stairs) and nine floors. A restaurant takes up three floors, and a whiskey bar and cafe take up one each. Then there is a small museum and display about other towers, and the observation floor. Interesting enough, I suppose.

This floor displays all of the other towers in Prague. Kind of interesting because the floor is actually a giant map of Prague!

From the top you can see many of the other towers.

Zoomed in on the Zizkov television transmitter tower. Voted #2 on the world's ugliest buildings list. Can you see the babies crawling up and down the tower? Strange.

Another view taken from the tower.

More tourists.

We're finding the Czech language very difficult, however in Prague just about everybody can speak some English, and we are greeted in English...I guess because we look like tourists! We did go into a decent size grocery store and bought some lunch items. It was interesting just buying items and figuring out what they cost! The cashier didn't speak English and simply pointed at the total on her computer terminal. We did thank her in Czech, and she smiled. We bought a tetrapak litre of wine for 20 korunas. Yes, $1.00. We figured if it was no good we would just throw it out, but it was drinkable wine!

We ate lunch near the central plaza.

Definitely some interesting buildings.

And another.

Metronome and shoes.

After lunch, we wandered across the river and found a metronome. This is another giant piece of "art". Are the shoes supposed to be part of the art? Who knows? lots of graffiti in that area, and the park at the top is occupied by a lot of skateboard kids.

However, there is a nice view from the metronome.

Came across this old building that was having the exterior restored.

Very detailed, time consuming work.

Made our way to Prague Castle. There was enough to see without paying the various 70 to 350 koruna ($3.50 to $17.50) admission fees.

This restaurant at the castle has been pouring beer since 1360!

The main entrance to the castle.

Prague Castle has a commanding view of the city.

The cathedral inside the castle.

Kevin, at the main entrance doors to the cathedral.

By this time, we were getting pretty tired. We had been walking all day, except for a half hour stop in a park where we lay down on the grass and just relaxed. It was a hot day, in fact the warmest in Prague yet this year. Temperature was about 32C (89F) and it was a hot sun. At this point, it was time for a cold beer!

Czech Republic is the number one country in the world for beer. Beer is cheap, between 25 to 65 korunas ($1.25 to $3.00) for a half litre glass in a bar or restaurant. This time, I had heard about a monastery that produces and sells it's own beer! So that's where we went.

Enjoying a glass of cool lager! 

We took the bus back to Horomorice where Maria's apartment is. We were exhausted, and made a late supper. Asleep by 10:30pm.

Not sure where we will end up tonight! We had a couchsurfing host agreed upon in the town of Kolin, but haven't heard back from the host with her address or anything. Strange, but I guess these things happen. Now, we think we are going to take the train to Kutna Hora, about 45 minutes train ride from Prague. There, we hope to find some accommodation for a couple of nights. We have some phone numbers to call, so will try and set something up before we leave here. So, we are in a strange country and don't know where we're staying tonight. Fun!


  1. For cheapish accommodation check out www.hostelbookers.com you can get dorm beds or double rooms through them and they have places in most tourist visited towns.

    1. Thank you Glen, Kevin had already had that site in his favourites but thanks for mentioning it. Don't hesitate to send any other info that you can think of though.

  2. Like the picture of Kevin having a cold one, I sure enjoyed him & I having a few when you guys visited, when you get back to the States we want another visit.Those houses with all the smokestacks are sure European, when every bedroom had a fireplace.Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

    1. He sure enjoyed that one Sam. It was great after a hot day exploring Prague. He would love to have another with you some day soon.

  3. Another wonderful day of exploring, ending perfectly with a cold brew. Travel safe.

  4. well, hopefully in October when I plan to visit there will be fewer tourists. Nice to get your thoughts on the city. I have heard it is truly beautiful from some folks who have been there. Maybe I have fewer expectations and won't be disappointed.

    1. We think October would probably be a much better time to explore Prague. We really did enjoy it but there were far too many tourists for our liking. Would be nice to spend a little more time there but knowing it was full of tourists, one day was enough for us. I am sure that you will enjoy your time here and be able to spend more time exploring it, there is definitely lots to see.

  5. I really love all the strange art - the guns, babies, and shoes. I love those quirky type things. But the buildings are beautiful - so different from what we have here in the west.

  6. Calvin and BrendaJuly 26, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    Some very beautiful and interesting buildings, looks like a wonderful place to be. It seems every country has their own distinct style even if only a few hours away. Good to see you are getting some warm weather, always makes the trip that much sweeter.

  7. Beautiful architecture but we agree, it would be more enjoyable without all the crowds.

  8. Hello, Kevin and Ruth! I am Praguer and I am happy to read you like my city :) Anyway I have to say you a few things...

    "Prague Museum of Modern Art" you took photo in is not the "real" one, it is only one of many galleries with a modern art, where you can buy some pices from young, promising artists... If you are interesting in modern art you should visit: http://www.museumkampa.com/en/ Muzeum Kampa and http://dox.cz/en/ DOX...

    Your photo of "One of the major streets." It is not a street at all, but Wenceslas Squere, bolevard very, very important for Czechs, place of Velvet Revolution demonstrations... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wenceslas_Square and you are right, during summer holidays (schools are closed in Czech Republic whole July and August)is Prague crowded only by tourist and Czechs are on the countryside in their summer second houses...

    Metronome just looks like a real one and Praguers used to call it Metronome, but it is "Time machine" by artist Vratislav Novák installed in 1991 on the place, where Stalin Monument was... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin_Monument_(Prague)symbolize time changing...

    I think you missed the most beautiful places of Prague, gardens, churches, restaurants.. hopefuly next time :)))!!

    P.S.: And sorry, but tetrapak wines are really atrocious, maybe you were tired because of it too :)))) You should try some of our wines http://www.wineofczechrepublic.cz/en.html

    Greetings from Prague

  9. Hello Marcela, thank you for taking the time to comment with us. You are correct that the picture of Kevin and the guns is not the Prague Museum of Modern Art, that was an error on our part and we will go back in and correct it and also for letting us know the name of the square and it's importance to the Czech Republic.

    We may have missed some of the beautiful churches and gardens but we did see many but we can only put so much info into our posts before they get to long winded and people loss interest and don't continue to read on, plus we only had one day to visit your city. We have to admit we prefer smaller towns and cities to big busy ones.

    As for the wine, we are not wine connoisseurs and we have a budget to keep to, so as long as we find it drinkable that is usually good enough for us.


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