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Autumn in Prague


October 31, 2019

For a long time I dreamt about visiting Prague. My desire for Prague started to blossom when I discovered Milan Kundera's work. The latest book of him that I read was "Farwell Waltz". The first tentative to visit Prague was in September but I ended up buying tickets to Kos. But now, here I am living the dream.
I booked an early flight so, by 12pm I was already checking-in at my airbnb accommodation. I left my luggage and searched for a place to have lunch. By the way, my airbnb is located near Náměstí Míru. And in this area I found Momoichi Bistro, a premium coffee with Japanese twist. I liked here that they have also vegetarian options. Lately I avoided eating meat. I am experimenting things.
Neo-Gothic Church of St. Ludmila in the centre of Náměstí Míru
In my airbnb room I found some brochures with different walks off the beaten paths and I got inspired to create my own. You can find the brochures also online.
I stop first at the Havlíčkovy Gardens, a complex inspired by Italian Renaissance with grottoes, fountains, waterfalls, and a lake. The terrace offers views of the surrounding areas. Not to mention that the entire place creates a romantic atmosphere in the warm light of autumn.
Fairytale path 

At the top is Grotta, artificial caves, where you can get lost

Autumn colors

Grebovka vineyard and the view from the terrace

The perfect spot to bring your date. There are few people bothering you.
I continue to walk to the ramparts of Vyšehrad. This mysterious, magical place was built as a fortress in the 10th century. 
The Brick Gate, with three passages, one for vehicles and two for pedestrians 

The ramparts which offer an amazing view of the city

A street seen from the fortified walls. In the background, in the right side it's Prague Castle, which I plan to visit tomorrow
The pastel colors of the buildings give the city a particular charm.

Vltava river in the background

The gardens with Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul

I am a princess in a fairytale scenery

The Vyšehrad cemetery 
Am I a weirdo if I say that I am delighted by the view?
Alley in Vyšehrad cemetery
In Mexican tradition, today is el Dia de los Muertos, where the families celebrate the souls of their deceased relatives. It can be creepy to wander in a cemetery but here is the burial place of some of the most important Czech cultural and scientific figures and has many interesting gravestones and tomb sculptures.

Door of the basilica. 
I haven't seen before a colourful door for a church like this one. I like the combination between the geometrical pattern, the pink color and the gothic arch.

Stairs downhill from the fortress
I am really happy with the photos I have taken today. The warm autumn sunlight helped a lot.

Another street view, but this time from the ground.

@Charles University Botanical Garden
This is the last stop before I go back to the accommodation. I need to rest a little bit. For tonight I have ticket to onboard on Jazzboat!
Jazz is.. An open-ended music designed for open minds

At a table next to mine there is guy with whom I make eye contact and I find him attractive. When I leave the boat, on my way to the metro station I hear in the background: "Bouna notte!", "Bonne nuit!", "Good night!". I turn and there he is. He just says: "You are so beautiful!" and we go different ways.

November 1, 2019

I need some coffee to start the day properly. I choose La Bohème Café, rated as one of the best coffee shops in Prague. The coffee is good as advertised, but I had to patiently wait for it. Also, the interior is gorgeous. Now is decorated for Halloween.
@La Bohème Café
Now that I energised the body with coffee, I need fuel for mind and soul. First I want to visit Letna Park and from there the Prague Castle.
Prague Main Station in the background
Henry's tower, a 15th century Gothic bell tower
The Municipal House, art nouveau venue hosting classical concerts, opera and ballet

The Powder Tower, next to the Municipal House, is a city gate built in the 15th century

Autumn market in Náměstí Republiky with vendors offering mulled wine, chocolate, almonds, ceramics, candles, accessories, wood toys, postcards and pictures.
Alley in Letna Park
 Today the sun is being greedy with its presence. Some effort is required to get to the top. So far, this is the best spot with the most scenic view over the city. Guys, if you want to impress a girl, bring her here. Another thing I like about this place is off the beaten paths.
View from Letna hilltop
From here I continue to Prague Castle, which is close to this place.
First clue that I might not like it - the hordes of people
Today I get to practice patience. At the entrance of the castle I have to queue in line for security scan.
St. George's Basilica is the red building

St. Vitus Cathedral posing grandiose in the background

The Golden Gate
St. Vitus Cathedral is truly impressive. This is the only building from the complex which impressed me. I leave behind the castle and go for lunch at Vegan's Prague.
View from the castle

The streets at castle's foot are more charming
If my knee allows it I want to return tomorrow to explore this area
Unfortunately I start to experience a knee pain and I can't continue walking. I go to my airbnb to rest and I get out later, for dinner. I made reservation at Lehká hlava (Clear Head), a vegetarian restaurant recommended by Ioana. I eat one of the best burgers I have ever tried.
And it's raining! Due to rain and knee pain I use the public transport to move around. In tram they have tickets machines and they accept contactless debit or credit cards. The tickets are incredibly cheap (compared with Netherlands), for a ticket valid 30 minutes I pay 24Kč (~1€).

November 2, 2019

The anti-inflammatory cream I bought has been effective over night and the knee pain is gone. I go for a coffee and a croissant for breakfast and head to the point where I stopped yesterday. Malá Strana is one of the most enchanting and alluring districts in Prague.
I decide to buy a 24h ticket for public transport, which costs 110Kč (~4.5€). I don't want to push it too hard with the knee. 
I jump in tram 22 which takes me to Malostranské náměstí and I start to stroll around at a slower pace. 
One stair at a time
At the top is another entrance to the Prague Castle.
More stairs
 I don't have any direction in mind. I just let my steps guide me.

When I wander on the streets I feel I am a character in one of the city legends. The weather helps creating the mystic ambiance. 
I continue to walk towards Petrin Tower.
The enchanted forest from Petřín hill

The old walls of the city

Alley off the beaten track
 Prague looks stunning in the brick-red, yellow, orange shades of fall.
Hanging plants creating patterns on the wall. I see an incomplete heart
From Petřín is it possible to take the funicular down to Újezd. The ticket that I have is also valid on the funicular.

The funicular line

This alley remembers me of Sinaia

A carpet of fall leaves
I take for one stop the funicular and I am back in Malá Strana. On the side is Kampa island which is crossed by Charles bridge in the northern tip.
Striking bench in Kampa park with metal dragon-snake details

Devil's stream, the canal that runs under Charles Bridge and through Kampa
The resemblance with Bruges or Gent is astonishing.
Devil's Stream
Charles Bridge is an iconic landmark of the city. I don't dare to stroll across. I could see the army of tourist from faraway.
Charles Bridge
I continue wandering and I find this English bookstore from which I leave with "The Trial" and "The Castle" of Franz Kafka.
@Shakespeare a synové bookstore
For dinner I make reservation at  Maitrea, another vegetarian restaurant recommended by Ioana. The food is delicious. It would be nice if the American girls from the side table could talk less loudly. For almost an hour I could hear them talking absolute nonsense.
I barely see the end of the escalator. 
Maybe the escalators in Budapest are comparable in length with this one. I would fall in love, get married, have children and die before I would reach the end of the escalator.
A last walk in the old town. Tomorrow I fly back to Amsterdam.

Church of Our Lady before Týn in the Old Town Square

Prague Astronomical Clock in the same square


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