As soon as the school summer break starts most of the families living in this part take home-bound flights to their respective home country. With a recent visit in April I was not going to be travelling to India. The search for the summer trip destination started with many countries being virtually visited, and somehow until the end of June it was still not decided where we were heading for our holiday, some respite is a must from the scorching UAE summer. But during the Eid break it finally got decided to apply for a Schengen Visa and if obtained then go visit a few countries in Europe. Thus the summer in Europe happened in reality, and we visited Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. It is easy to tour these neighboring countries, see the many places as the rail and road network is very good and if we plan our sightseeing tour before landing in the country then it can be easily managed by ourselves (no tour operator is needed).
- Plan your destination and then go through the sightseeing places online before landing.
- Book hotel/accomodation near major sightseeing attractions, so as not to waste time and money in commuting.
- Keep luggage to basic and minimum, we have to carry our bags ourself and be prepared as some accommodations may not have elevators. If using the metro, then at some stations it is a bit of hassle to haul big suitcases up the stairs.
- Check for the day passes of the train/metro/trams, and plan your sightseeing for the day so that you can make maximum use of the day pass and cover the attractions along the route for which the ticket is purchased. (more on this in my upcoming Vienna tour post) Do check the various ticket options sold before buying any tickets.
The trip started from Prague, our first destination. We were here for 2 days,which I felt was sufficient to visit the many attractions in the city. Most of the places of interest are in the Old Town Square, so it is very helpful if we book out accommodation/hotel in the neighborhood. We landed in Prague in the morning, had arranged for the hotel pickup and by 9.30 am or so were at the hotel reception. But, as the rooms are allotted only after 2 pm, we had kept our luggage in hotel reception and straightaway started with the city walking tour. You will find offices of the walking tours in Old Town Square (they are free, but we should be tipping the guide) the guides tells a lot of history of the country, gives us a feel of the neighborhood and provides all the information about the monuments nearby. He covered the small guided tour of the monuments in and around the old town square, a stop-over for catching some coffee/ sandwich/ or a quick-lunch and then moving onto the Jewish town, the University and again back to near the square. The full tour usually lasts 1.30 hr or so. I had my first Bagel ever at the coffee shop, it was the best and now I have found a new favorite food 🙂 .
The Old Town Square and the nearby monuments and landmarks:
The umbrella holding people seen in above picture are the tour guides and the walking tour to Old town Square starts from here.
The walking tour proceeding towards the Square, seen above is the side view of Church of our Lady of Tyn. The front part of the church has two other buildings covering its view.
The above picture shows us the Old Town square and its numerous landmarks-in the center and all around it. It is a very big square, and full of many locals as well as tourists, we get to see lot of attractions and people showing their art here.
Seen below is the Jan Hus Monument.
It was very interesting to see the soap bubbles being made using the sticks and fun to see kids run and catch the bubbles. By the end of this Eu tour I noticed that we see the soap bubbles being made at every square, it is a very common sight, in other cities too.
It was funny to see this man suspended in air, the Genie from the Chirag!
The blue under renovation structure seen above is the Old Town Hall, and has the Astronomical clock.
Seen above the tall (behind the front two buildings) Gothic architectural structure is the Church of our Lady before Tyn.
The above two pictures show the Astronomical Clock, the most famous attraction of the Square. At every hour the small windows seen in the clock open, the apostles seen in the picture move, lot of crowd gathers and is seen waiting patiently in front of the clock to see this happen.
As we move ahead from the square, we come face to face with this below landmark.
Seen above is the St. Nicholas Church.
The few pictures seen below is the route we walked along with the walking tour, further away from the Old town Square,
The Tram cables seen hanging in the above pictures.
We see numerous cafe and tourists relaxing and enjoying snacks, lunch, coffee, beer, and other drinks everywhere as we walk ahead with the tour guide.
The Jewish town
I do not have the close front view of the clocks seen in above picture. The wall clock on the Jewish Town hall has Hebrew numbers and the hands of the clock goes counterclockwise (see the second from top), the one seen at top goes clockwise.
The cafe picture shows the Cubist architecture.
Finally the walking tour ends at the Old Town square, the tourists tip the guide and he bids everyone goodbyes. We roam around for some more time and explore this new city and marvel at the architecture and click loads of pictures, and finally return back to the hotel to go to our allotted accommodation to freshen up and rest for sometime before starting again to go and see the Charles Bridge.
It has taken up an exceptional long time to complete this post, it was a quite a difficult task for me to go through the numerous photographs that were clicked by all of us in the tour and separate a few to include in the post. Hope you enjoyed a glimpse of the Old Town Square of Prague through my pictures 🙂