My Spontaneous Solo Trip: Prague
You often find that magical spot unexpectedly, a spot where the beauty just takes over and your whole being instantly sighs ‘you made the right choice here lady, keep going’.
This came to me when I was sitting on the King Charles Bridge – yes, literally sitting on the edge of the bridge – in Prague at 5:45am, waiting patiently for the sun to come up, enjoying a rare moment when the few people cluttering the bridge were stumbling home from the clubs, setting up tripods to capture the sunrise and romantics having a morning stroll.
Prague was always somewhere I wanted to visit. Looking at the city with ‘Google Images’ it was just as beautiful in winter as it was in summer. The burning red roofs, the Castle which can be viewed from almost everywhere in the city and the beautiful riverbanks attracted me to it.
The Scottish rain and constant grey weather was getting me down. I hadn’t seen the sun since March and ‘Skyscanner’ was becoming my best dreaming partner. So when I clicked ‘explore’ and Prague was offered as one of the cheapest choices, I thought, ‘hey, why not?’
So I booked a 3-night stay in Prague.
Landing in Prague, I said by goodbyes to my ‘in flight friends’ who were still trying to convince me travelling alone would be no fun and I should join them on the ‘Stag’ (Bachelor) and/or ‘Hen’ (Bachelorette) party.
No thanks; I’ll pass on that.
Don’t take a taxi in Prague. Leaving the Airport I bought a ticket for the bus/metro for 90 minutes, for $1.50. The taxi would have cost me $20 minimum.
For someone with pretty bad navigational skills I arrived in my hostel only getting confused – I wasn’t lost, just on the wrong side of the metro station – once.
I stayed in the Hostel Downtown in an 8 bed Female only dorm – this was actually the smallest hostel dorm I have ever stayed in – it was pretty easy to find, especially using KFC as a marker, there was not a shortage of signs for KFC.
The room was at the top floor, I didn’t realize how tall the building was and made the mistake of taking the stairs. Thank god I only had hand luggage with me.
The view from the room was worth it.
The fear of not meeting people when you travel is not worth worrying about. From the moment I arrived in my hostel I met Rachel an Aussie travelling Europe for the last 7 months. Four other girls, two from Brazil, one from England and the other from New York and that night we all went out. The next day we met up with the brains behind CareBear Abroad (one of my favourite Instagram’s). We gelled so well it wasn’t awkward; it was as if I had known these girls forever yet we were all travelling Solo.
I was never alone in Prague if I didn’t want to be.
If you don’t have a lot of time in Prague, Wake up early for that City Tour. Our hostel was fantastic and did free walking tours of the city or Castle tours – depending on the day – most mornings. So for those with a limited time in Prague, this is the perfect way to see the city.
I never made it up early or got ready fast enough to join a walking tour and to be honest, ‘follow the umbrella’ walking tours with (what seems like) hundreds of other people, does not appeal to me. The pancake breakfast always took priority – they even had a piano player at breakfast, and yes, he was pretty good.
If you have time, take on the city at your own pace. Prague is one of these beautiful cities that happily, has most sites you’ll want to see in a close area, it is also beautiful to get lost in and escape the tourist trails. You’ll be amazed at the cool little places you’ll find.
Make sure you do have the time, you’ll be amazed how fast time runs away with you when you’re ‘exploring’. We ‘popped’ out to get some dinner, got slightly lost, came back 3 hours later with Thai takeaway – it was the best Thai food I’ve had so far, outside of Thailand. And Meat and Potato’s gets a bit much, after two days.
So take that free map from reception and get out there and explore the city!
I actually ended up passing on my map to a lovely Chinese lady on our last day while relaxing on the riverbank. Sharing is caring after all.
Climb the 287 steps. The view is worth it.
Prague castle is a stunning gothic creation, truly a beautiful building. If you don’t explore any other part of it, pay the 150Crowns – you get a really cute souvenir, before you even start! – And climb the Castle tower.
Even though your legs will hate you and continue to punish you the next day, at least you know you have earned that beer – and the view is pretty spectacular.
Explore the Gardens of the Castle
The Castle and the Castle Grounds are beautiful, with nice shaded areas to sit, relax and people watching, offering up some of the best views over Prague city, brilliant (if not some of the best) photo ops for selfies and a great way to recover from the stairs up to the castle – yep, Prague loves stairs. Just think how good your legs/butt will look now!
Enjoy some Street Food in Old Town Square.
Pick up a selection of delicious foods, find a spot on the curb – try not to get attacked by wasps – and enjoy a seat in the sun while soaking up (while eating) the atmosphere of Old Town Square.
Not only is Old Town Square a great place for people watching, you’ll have a beautiful view of the Church of Our Lady before Tyn – in my opinion, looks more like a castle, it’s stunning and demands attention – which is often overshadowed by the beautiful Astronomical Clock, arguably one of the most popular tourist attractions. Get here just before the hour and when the hour comes, you will see a lovely, simple, movement from the four figures that surround the clock – we never saw this happen, mainly because we didn’t realize it did anything. Oops.
Also, if you want to know where to go for a night out, head to the square, there are LOADS of companies advertising pub-crawls – I recommend The Drunken Monkey. Enjoy!
Enjoy some Peaceful graffiti at The Lennon Wall.
Once this was just a normal wall, then people inspired by the Beatles and John Lennon’s message of peace began writing inspirational messages of ‘Peace and Love’, Beatles Lyrics and painted John Lennon’s Face onto the wall.
Anyone is free to draw, paint, write etc. on this wall – But c’mon guys, be imaginative don’t ‘tag’ your name on the wall. It kind of ruins it a little –
Get here before a tour group and enjoy the photo-op and buskers (normally singing ok covers of Beatles tunes) before wandering on over Prague’s version of a ‘love lock’ bridge. It’s the cutest, littlest bridge, covered in Padlocks.
Skip Kings Charles Bridge During the Day, View it from a Distance
There is just no point trying to cross this during the day. It is a huge tourist trap.
All the typical stalls, caricature/portrait drawings, photos for sale of the deserted bridge at sunset/sunrise, jewelry for sale, buskers and HUNDREDS of people. There is no personal space, you just want to get across as quick as possible, while hugging your bag in case of pickpockets.
My Advice. View it from either one of the bridges either side of the King Charles Bridge, it’s beautiful.
Or, set your alarm early (Like, 5am), roll out of bed, and head over to King Charles Bridge. The only people you will be sharing it with at this time are Photographers setting up tripods for the sunrise, Drunks stumbling home from the clubs and other (mad) people like you, who wanted to see the sunrise (voluntary, for the first time) over beautiful Prague, while not having to battle crowds and worry about Pickpockets.
Head to Kutna Hora, there’s a church made out of Bones, Sedlec Ossuary. I heard about this place before I left for Prague, hell yes was I going to visit this creepy place.
I’m just glad I didn’t end up doing it alone.
The Internet is a very misleading place. This time it was not I – and my horrible sense of direction – that got us lost. It was the confusing Internet instructions. Long story short, we missed our stop and ended up in what resembled a horror movie town.
Arriving in what looked like an abandoned train station, with a town where people seemed to evaporate once leaving the train, banged up cars and leaves blowing around. There was not another train back in the right direction for over an hour. Thankfully the lovely lady behind the ticket desk ordered us a taxi to take us to Kutna Hora.
Arriving in Kutna Hora, no one seemed to know what the ‘Bone Church’ was. Strange.
We were still lost.
The church was 6km away – another train ride from another ‘abandoned’ station.
Once we arrive at the ‘Bone Church’ – which would have been very easy, if we hadn’t missed the stop oops – it was not what I expected at all.
The bones of 40,000 – 70,000 people had been arranged into Pyramid-like buildings, Chandeliers, Shields and hung from walls.
The information leaflet given to us when we arrived said this was done to respect and pay final tribute to those that had died from the ‘black death’ and Hussite war of the 15th Century and been buried in mass graves.
Just remember that every culture has different ways to honor the dead, it may not be in my taste, but it was very interesting (and very creepy) to see.
If I hadn’t stumbled across a blog post about Kutna Hora before I left for Prague, I would never have known this place existed. So even though we got lost, got a little nervous (scared) and creeped out. It was worth it.
Travelling back to Prague, I kept thinking how jealous I was of the other girls continuing their travels onwards. Getting to explore new countries, cities, meet new people and eat new foods. I didn’t want to go home yet.
Rachel suggested I go with her to Poland.
I laughed it off.
But, Could I? Why not? I had the time off.
So I Cancelled my flight ticket home and booked a train ticket to Krakow, with my new Aussie friend.