Trip to Czech Republic – Prague

DAY 1: Journey to Liberec (24th October 2014)
Transports:
Flight Lisbon to Prague (TAP): 108€
Prague airport to Cerný Most (bus + metro): 32 CZK (± 1.16€)
Prague to Liberec (Student Agency Bus): 3.5€
Bus station to students’ hostel (bus): 20 CZK (± 0.73€)
Accommodation: Students’ Hostel of the Technical University of Liberec – 2440 CZK/4 nights/2 pax (± 11.20€/night/pax)
DAY 2: Zittau, Görlitz (Germany), Zgorzelec (Poland) (25th October 2014)
Transports: Libnet + (trains and buses in Liberec region) – 320 CZK/4 pax (± 2.95€/pax)
Restaurant: Dornspachhaus restaurant, Zittau (11€/pax)
DAY 3: Hike from Liberec to Jablonec nad Nisou (26th October 2014)
Places visited: Janov nad Nisou, Jablonec nad Nisou
Transports: train (Jablonec nad Nisou to Liberec) – 70 CZK/4 pax (± 0.64€/pax)
DAY 4: Hike from Karlovice-Sedmihorky to Turnov (27th October 2014)
Transports: Libnet + (trains and buses in Liberec region) – 320 CZK/4 pax (± 2.95€/pax)
Restaurant: Bílý Mlýn restaurant, Liberec – 797 CZK/2 pax (15€/pax)
DAY 5: Prague (28th October 2014)
Transports:
Liberec to Prague (train): 437 CZK/3 pax (± 5.50€/pax)
Malostranská to Prague airport (metro + bus): 32 CZK (± 1.16€)
Flight Prague to Lisbon (TAP): 109€

28th October 2014, the last day of our trip to Czech Republic, as well as the National Day of the Czech Republic. This holiday commemorates the independence of Czechoslovakia, in 1918.

There were no free seats in the Student Agency buses departing in the morning from Liberec to Prague. Therefore, we had to go to Prague by train.

At about 8 o’clock, we caught the train to Turnov, where we were going to catch the train to Prague. However, due to some work on the railway, we had to catch a bus instead. The bus took us to another train station where we caught the train to Prague.

We arrived in Prague at about 10:40. We left the train station and walked towards the historic center.

Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Clock

We were trying to be in front of the astronomical clock before 11:00, to see the mechanical performance that occurs every hour, but we were 6 minutes late.
The Prague Astronomical Clock, also known as Orloj, is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square. This astronomical clock, constructed in 1410, is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still working. Every hour, as the bells chime, statues representing the Apostles move into view. Other figures, on each side of the clock, also move.

Old Town Square

Old Town Square

There were throngs of tourists in the Old Town Square, which made it a bit difficult to walk in there and to enjoy the beauty of that place.

We left that place and went to another crowded site, the Jewish Quarter, known as Josefov. We just did a quick visit, walking by the Old-New Synagogue and by the Old Jewish Town Hall.

The history of Josefov goes back to the 12th century, when the Jews moved there. Over time, lots of things happened and Josefov underwent several changes. It was converted into a ghetto; in 1389, about 3000 Jewish were killed in there; in the 16th century, several synagogues were build and, in the end of the 19th century, the Jewish Ghetto was demolished.
Fortunately, the most significant buildings were not destroyed. Nowadays, there are 6 synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery, the Jewish Ceremonial Hall and the Old Jewish Town Hall. All except the Old-New Synagogue are collectively known as the Jewish Museum.
Old-New Synagogue, dated from 1270, is the Europe’s oldest active synagogue as well as the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin-nave design.

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

We followed Križovnická street towards “Karluv Most” (Charles Bridge), which is the main pedestrian connection between the two sides of Prague. Along the way, we looked for a geocache. As we approached its hidden place, we saw a group of people that was also looking for it. We waited for them and then it was our turn to find it.

Charles Bridge is protected at both ends by beautiful towers and it is decorated by a continuous alley of statues.
There was so much people in there! The majority of them were tourists, who, like us, were crossing from one side to another and who were enjoying fairy-tale views of Prague. As usual, in a place like that with so many tourists, there were also several persons trying to earn some money. There were street artist sketching portraits, musicians playing their instruments, street vendors selling souvenirs and there were beggars too.

IMG_8952We found very curious the position adopted by the beggars. They were in a kneeling position, leaned forward, their heads were buried between the hands, which were holding a cap to receive any donation.

On the other side of the river, where the celebrations of the National Day of Czech Republic were taking place, it was even more crowded. There was some military parade and people were gathering to see it.
At the time we were in front of “Pražský hrad” (Prague Castle), there was a volley of cannon fire.

We wanted to find a calm and nice place to sit and to eat our lunch, but it was impossible. We had to sit next to the tram line, which was the quietest spot we found.

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

After that, we went back towards Malostranská metro station. We made a last stop at “Valdštejnský palác“ (Wallenstein Palace). There was a very long queue to visit the Palace, so we just wandered through its beautiful garden.

We arrived at the airport very early. Our flight was at 17:15 and we were at airport before 15:00. We even had to wait some time for the check-in counters to be open.

Once again, a meal was served during our flight. That time the menu was composed of duck rice accompanied by a lettuce salad with hazelnuts. For desert there was a sweet of egg.

I confess I was not expecting to like Czech Republic so much. It is the hikers paradise! I had no idea Czech Republic is one of the countries with the largest extension of marked hiking trails. It’s really nice to see so many people hiking, special families with small children. I hope I can return to visit more of this beautiful country.

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