Have you been to this P city? No, not Paris
We all know Paris is obviously the most romantic destination; but there's another P city which gives a tight competition to France's capital: Prague. I haven't been to Paris yet, so this was supposedly my 'First romantic destination'. So, what does this 'romantic city' literally mean? There should be a justification. Wonder what. We, along with our group of friends (9 of us) decided to go to Prague this April. Firstly, it is a must-go place and secondly it is just 450 km from my place. It was the first trip for our friends by car - so they were hyper-excited. Enjoying every minute of it.
The city welcomed us with its enchanting red-roofed houses and farms with lush green grass. The moment we entered Prague, everything was so beautiful - especially because it was rich in history and maintained its Gothic churches and castles - or maybe its my anticipation.
We kicked off our sight-seeing, by ... searching for our hostel. We girls never realized the fact and were thrilled and yelling, looking at an Indian restaurant just outside the car. We went round and round the city's streets looking for our hostel, and the GPS had lead us to some bizarre location. Just as were cursing the GPS, one of them found the hostel ! The device had actually brought us right, just that it was in the first floor - Stupid humans. We refreshed and had a cup of coffee (and our makeup), and started out brisk.
Our first stop was the New town - it was buzzing with long shopping streets, crowded stalls, street-performers (some playing music, some singing and some making huge bubbles), amazing food everywhere and fashion drooling all over the place. S and I had fried cheese burgers. I had never eaten / heard of one before. The vendor asked something and I pointed at a sauce. Oh my god, it was Wasabi! It was as if my nose, eyes and tongue were exploding all at once - Phew, we somehow finished it off ! And oh don't miss the beef goulash - Don't worry, this one was nice - its supposed to be a traditional Czech food. S loved it! All this with the Prague Castle as the backdrop. Awesome na? Yes it was. We were never satisfied with how many ever pictures we had clicked at Wenceslas square.
We then took a 45-min guided tour through the river, which showcased the grandiose of the city. My eyes absorbed as much as they could and stored the rest behind my shutter-lens. Sun was beginning to set as we strolled towards the Charles Bridge. The Charles Bridge is supposed to be extremely crowded and jammed with tourists during the day time, Good that we made it in the evening and thanks for the tip - TripAdvisor. The busy city life was deteriorating and the streets were now cobble-stoned ones. Hey, make sure you take comfortable walking shoes. I must tell you, Charles Bridge was a bliss to walk through. There were several statues on either side of the bridge, overlooking the Vlatava river. There were a band of players sitting on one side, singing and playing drums, a few artists making caricatures and instant portraits of you; and love was in the air. You could feel a sense of content and peace, with the Prague castle at a distance, and waters below - especially if you're with your loved one. Now I know why this is so romantic.
As the curtains of darkness dropped, it was even more intimidating. I still remember how it felt as we stood there overlooking the Castle! We went around the Old Town, gazed the Astronomical clock, watched horse-carriages and relished the past. We were lucky enough to see the Astronomical clock's hourly ring, with a music so pleasing. We were fresh as a flower even at that hour, and walked back towards the hostel. Probably it was fresh air all through the way that made the difference.
Worth the steps:
Alongside the next morning, came the one monument which was visible from everywhere - the jewel - the Prague Castle. We took a tram half way and then walked the rest. We rushed to the view point, from where the beautiful red city is in full display. Surrounded by so much history, there is so much to see! We were lucky enough to see the military parade switch duties - which they still follow as a tradition.
As we neared the castle, it stood tall - as if it would pierce the sky! So huge, so grand and so flamboyant! The cathedral was intricately designed with statues and Gothic figures. It was exquisite and there were lovely stained glasses everywhere. I have never seen a castle this big, ever. Felt like I was in a fairytale! If you have more time, you can take guided tours, or take your private guide and explore every part of the castle. If you go in winter, make sure you go in before 4pm - that is something you have to watch out for. We then refreshed ourselves with cups of fresh fruits and ice-creams in the numerous cafes downhill - A perfect finish.
I picked up a wooden cup with the Prague castle embossed on it and tucked in a Czech coin - a small part of this magnificent city that I could bring home with me. What was surprising was that it was much smaller and walk-able than I had imagined. I however, can't stop thinking about the spectacular view as the sun set, overlooking the Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral at a distance. I would definitely visit this red city again. Wouldn't you? :)