5 Nov 2019
Katie Newman by Katie Newman

We have just returned from a really enjoyable 5-day holiday in Prague. When we first talked to friends and family about our visit, many had been to Prague and said what a beautiful and interesting City it was. They were right, it is.

Our holiday went very smoothly thanks as usual to the excellent service of Silver Compass.  As always, we much appreciated the help and support from Kit and Katie.

Prague is a medieval city but offers all the facilities and convenience of a modern city too. The City has maintained its magnificent cityscape and wonderful skyline. From wherever you view it what you see is the skyline you would have seen for centuries. When you think of the upheavals Prague has suffered it is remarkable it has maintained its character. The cobbled narrow streets and lanes and the large City squares are what gives it its charm.

For the visitors and tourists, and it has many from all different parts of the world, its lists of interesting and historic sites, and wonderful buildings, is long. The Czech people are welcoming and justly proud of their City and happy to share it and show you around.

The sites we chose to visit included the Prague Castle and the beautiful St Vitus’s Cathedral with its wonderful stained-glass windows, Golden Lane, and it’s fascinating cottages, displaying the tools and products of the crafts done there. We also saw the official Residence of the President and enjoyed watching the impressive changing of the Guard.

Another day we took a River Cruise and saw different views of the Palaces and Official buildings fronting the River Vltava which flows through the City. Afterwards we sat in the Old Town Square and enjoyed a glass of the famous Czech lager while we watched the hustle and bustle of the square and the antics of some of the showmen entertaining the crowds. On the hour we were drawn to the famous Astronomical Clock. It tells the time but also displays the movement of the sun and the moon and the dancing statues. It was very crowded around the clock, and I think you would need to watch it several times to take in the marvel of all its activities. From the Old Town Square, we walked to Charles Bridge. Again, a great attraction with lots of tourists together with artists and craftsmen displaying their wares for sale.  Having seen the bridge from a distance several times in our wanderings, it was worth getting close up to admire the statues that line the path across.

Another day we walked through a different and less crowded part of the city to reach the top of Petrin Hill which has an Observation Tower. This is said to have been modelled on the Eiffel Tower. It has a viewing platform at its peak. I was not brave enough to climb to the top, but Nick, my son, did and took some amazing photos. He told me afterwards that our walk up through the city to the glorious rose garden that is beside the tower was a distance of 3.5 miles. Well worth the walk. Our descent was easier. We took the Funicular train down.

We stayed in a small boutique hotel quite close to Prague Castle. It is built on the ruins of a twelfth century church. They offer de- luxe rooms, or suites and a delicious and generous breakfast. Our rooms overlooked a small pretty garden. The staff were welcoming, and helpful, and the ambience was restful.

Transport in and around the City is easily accessible.  The trams cover most of the city and you can buy tickets from machines at some tram stops, bus stations and newsagents. You validate your ticket on the tram.  We didn’t use the metro, but we understand tickets are from machines in the stations and can be validated at the top of the escalators.

Prague is a musical City. There are lots of street musicians, individuals and small bands. There is also a wide choice of concerts in many different settings including churches, theatres, and concert halls. A violinist played regularly on the bridge close to our hotel. On our last day we walked past him and when putting come coins in his hat said how much we had enjoyed his music “today and yesterday”. He clearly had not understood all I said but immediately started to play the Beatles song “Yesterday”. We were charmed.

We ate out each evening and chose different restaurants/pubs. There is wide choice of types of food and prices are very reasonable. One lunchtime we tried some street food from the small market in the square close to the hotel. It was delicious.

It took a short while to understand the currency. The koruna or crown comes in notes value from 100 k, 200, 500, 1,000 2,000 and 5,000k and coins from 1k to 50k.

Nick had read up some Czech phases before we went and when he used them the Czech people seemed most appreciative and it was certainly helpful.

A great holiday.

Hilary and Nick Foord.

A note from Silver Compass – we were delighted that Hilary and Nick had a wonderful time in Prague.  Prague is on many people’s bucket list and one way to visit this historical gem is pre-or-post cruise.  Our partner, Crystal Cruises has a 3-day extension to Prague and their Eastern Danube Discovery cruise, a roundtrip river cruise starting and ending in Vienna, would be the perfect beginning or ending for a trip to Prague.   For more information on a Danube river cruise and Prague extension, please give us a call 01225 744992.