You are spoilt for choice for campsites, within easy reach of the city, around Prague. Arriving from the west we chose Prague Camping Džbán as it would be the easiest to navigate to off the motorway and the washing machine was €2. A bargain.
All settled in we ventured into Prague on the underground Metro, a ten minute walk from the site. Another ‘contactless’ machine for the tickets. Easy peasy. 24Kč (84p) for a thirty minute ticket. I’m not really a fan of the contactless system as it seems to me that you can waft your card here and waft it there and before you know it you have just spent several hundreds of pounds which you conveniently forget about until your monthly statement comes in. Or, more importantly, someone else spends several hundreds of pounds on your card. But I can’t deny that it does make it very easy not having to fumble about with the correct change in an unfamiliar currency with a queue of locals breathing down your neck.
Not having done much research beforehand, which is the norm for us, we set about a walking tour of the city. As a capital city it’s actually not too large and pretty easy to navigate. We started with Prague castle. The hillside west of the Vltava river is dominated by the castle, the largest castle complex in the world, no less. It’s huge. Palaces, three cathedrals, museums, galleries and gardens. It still serves as the headquarters of the current Czech President.
The grounds give a panoramic view of the city and river below.
Then over to the Petřin Lookout Tower, a sixty metre iron tower, erected in 1891 as a mini Eiffel Tower. We’ve not been to the Eiffel Tower but I would hope that it’s more impressive.
Down the hillside then to Charles Bridge, completed in 1492, and brimming with people, artists, tat sellers and the like but strangely quiet away from the noise of the traffic.
We finished up our tour with a look at the Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock where wooden statues of the twelve apostles parade each hour.
We were too early, or was it too late, to see them and feeling tired called it a day on our explorations heading back to the campsite for a meal in the restaurant next door.
For our second foray into Prague we decided to buy the 24 hour train/tram/bus/ferry ticket for 110Kč (about £3.74) as we wanted to experience some of the old trams and the funicular railway. Tim offered to look after my ticket but I gave him one of my ‘I’m not a child’ stares much like I used to when he would politely suggest that using the strimmer whilst wearing flip flops or leaning on the rusty railings when there is a 100ft sheer drop the other side is not a good idea. I do now, at the tender age of 49, heed his safety advice but it took many years to get to that point. I felt, though, that I could be responsible enough to look after my own ticket.
We took the tram overland this time into the city getting off not far from the river.
We spent most the day ambling up and down the river just soaking up the ambience whilst people and boat watching.
Looked at some interesting sculptures.
Up the funicular railway. Coffee. Down the funicular railway.
We ended our walk in the Jewish Quarter where, aside from tracking down the six synagogues, we spent some time window shopping commenting on the ridiculous prices.
I felt much as Julia Roberts probably did in the film Pretty Woman when she goes shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. If you aren’t familiar with it you can see the clip here. I saved myself that up and downer look by not venturing in to any of the shops.
Whilst wandering back towards the river we saw Gayl and John, a couple from New Zealand, who had parked up next to us in Český Krumlov. Originally from the UK they emigrated to NZ twenty years ago. We’d spent the evening in Český Krumlov grilling them on all things NZ. Small world. Hopefully we’ll see them again to leech more information from them as New Zealand is on our list of possible places to visit in the future.
Having had enough of walking we decided it was time for a sit down. One of the vintage trams would be the ideal place. After rummaging around in all my pockets for several minutes, my ego was somewhat dented when I discovered my ticket was nowhere to be found. I can only surmise that on one of the numerous occasions I pulled the street map of Prague out of my pocket, the ticket, unbeknown to me, fluttered to the ground. You see, I never did settle on one dedicated pocket for the map and one for the ticket which would, on hindsight, have been wise. Tim’s ticket was safely tucked inside his wallet. No chance he was going to lose it from there as his wallet very rarely sees the light of day. I had to fess up to my loss of course. To his credit Tim didn’t say a word, just gave me a knowing, smug look. Mmm, touché.
As it was getting late anyway we decided to head back to the campsite. So, contactless card wafted once again I purchased a second ticket.
As beautiful as Prague is, two days in a city is as much as we can manage in one stretch so we went off seeking pastures new.