Prague Trip Report

Old Jun 14th, 2015, 07:04 PM
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Prague Trip Report

Rather than go through a long day-by-day account, I will mention the highlights and then less exciting parts.

Highlights:

* Prague Running Tours - If you are a runner, definitely do this. I did an eight mile run along the river, across the bridge and then all the way up to the castle and Strahov
* Charles Bridge - see above; at 8AM I had it mostly to myself and that is the best time to see it; later in the day, ugh
* St. Vitus Cathedral -My favorite site in Prague.
* Strahov Library
* Old Town Square - Despite the crowds, it is really beautiful, especially on a bright spring day.
* Jerusalem Synagogue - Pretty on the outside and with an interesting exhibit on postwar Jewish history outside.
* Prague City Museum - Good for history buffs.
* Memorial to the Heydrich Terror Heroes
* Museum of Communism - The whole place smells like cigarettes, but the exhibit is interesting.
* KGB Museum - The owner is eccentric, to put it mildly. He simulates firing a kalishnikov and throwing a grenade and provides his own sound effects; must be seen to be believed; he may even insist that you pose for a picture in a KGB hat holding a rifle
* Gastronomy Museum - extremely enthusiastic staff and free sample of alcohol
* Dancing House
* Veletrzni Palace - looks more like a mall than a palace, but a good mix of Czech and other modern art
* Petrin - Nice views, nice park and the climb of the imitation Eiffel Tower is worthwhile
* Public transport - Once you figure out how to use it, it's super efficient, cheap and with some colorful metro stations
* Costs - Cheaper than expected
* Cafe Culture - So many places for coffee and cake
* Good for solo travel - in any restaurant there will always be other solo diners; you'll never feel out of place
* The ease of getting away from the tourist crowds - The bridge, Old Town Square and the castle area are full of visitors from every part of the world; everywhere else, you are surrounded mostly by Czechs
* The people - This was the biggest surprise of all; after everything I'd heard about rude, unhelpful dishonest people, I found everyone I came into contact with - from the non-English speaking museum ladies to waiters and ice cream vendors, the people I stopped on the street to ask for directions and even the older women working and smoking at the train station - to be polite, honest, extremely helpful and indulgent toward a non-Czech speaker

Less than exciting -
*Mucha Museum - It takes less time to see the exhibit than to wait in line for tickets (which was not very long)
*Museum of Sex Machines - complete waste of money
* The Astronomic Clock - the clock itself is worth seeing, but the hundreds of people and their ipads crowding around to watch the apostle scene which lasts a total of 30 seconds?
*National Monument - Nice views, but hard to get to and most exhibits in Czech only
*Jewish Museum - some synagogues are attractive and the Maisel Synagogue's walls are covered with names of Czech Holocaust victims, but otherwise too crowded and overpriced; I much preferred the Great Synagogue in Budapest
* Teresin - Interesting but far less profound of an experience than expected; nothing I hadn't seen before at other Holocaust sites and museums
*Czech food - not bad, but not particularly good either; after sampling several, the famed bread dumplings appear to be nothing more than a piece of white bread cut into a circle with the crusts removed
* Smoking everywhere
* An awful lot of walking and climbing
* Lamberty's Restaurant - the only bad service experience where they added a "cover charge" and "service charge" without indicating that anywhere

Overall, I liked Prague. I'd rate it above Tallinn and Berlin, though below Budapest and St. Petersburg.
trebex is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2015, 11:46 PM
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nice report.I might to agree with you on everything but I do on most things. I love Strahov monastery and when I am in the city like to wander uo there on a sunday morning and sit outside the church and listen to the organ music,there is a little courtyard round the back where you can sit on a bench and hear it.
The smoking has always been a problem but there are things going on to make smoking in bars and restaurants illegal.
Dumplings , they are basically boiled bread, if you get the right amount of gravy with your dish they are a delight but yeah sometimes they are just bread.I actually make them at home.
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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Nice report, trebex. We'll be in Prague in September, and your "Highlights" are helpful. We'll also be visiting Budapest, and it's interesting that you liked it even better than Prague. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Jun 15th, 2015, 01:01 PM
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Thanks for posting.
I was in Pragur for 4 days and found it absolutely beautiful.
( bad food, good beer)

Thinking about Budapest next year....a lot of people seem to like it.
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Old Jun 24th, 2015, 12:17 PM
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I was at Terezin last month and found it quite moving.
But I suppose visiting these places of containment,and extermination might get a little old.
After all if you've seen one crematorium,you've seen them all.
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Old Jun 24th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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I miss the dark beer (Kozul Cerny) already and I was there in May!
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Old Jun 24th, 2015, 05:05 PM
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We all enjoy different things about cities, so it was interesting for me to see your highlights and less-than-highlights. I thought the Jewish sites in Prague were superb. And "An awful lot of walking and climbing" was a big plus for me!

In any case, thanks for your report on this beautiful city. I obviously need to return because I missed the Gastronomy Museum.
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Old Jun 24th, 2015, 06:28 PM
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trebex, thank you for sharing your report! Prague is on my radar for 2016 and appreciate your pluses and minuses!
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Old Jul 1st, 2015, 08:26 AM
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I'll add my appreciation for your succinct and very informative trip report. We are considering Prague next year rather than our usual Paris trip. Curious what makes you rate Budapest over Prague?
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Old Jul 1st, 2015, 10:23 AM
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Nice report.

Prague's main problem...too many people, but then that speaks highly of Prague.

I got up one morning early and at 6:01 AM I was on the Charles Bridge... had the bridge all to myself for about 7-9 minutes, then another fellow appeared.

But I took all the pictures I wanted which you cannot do once the crowd starts coming.

I too loved the Strahov Monastery, and climbed the Petrin Tower.. for those going to Prague, climb the Petrin Tower ( if you can) for those terrific views.

I loved Budapest but I would not rate it over Prague, but that is my opinion.
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Old Jul 1st, 2015, 11:17 AM
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Percy, I thought it was relatively easy to get away from the hordes in Prague, but I had over five days and therefore could mix far-flung sights with some of the more crowded ones. Prague Castle, Charles Bridge area and the area around the Clock Tower were the most jammed during my visit.

As a runner, going for jogs in the morning in Prague's beautiful parks was a fantastic way to see the city before things got buzzing.
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Old Sep 1st, 2015, 04:26 AM
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topping - thanks for posting Trebex!
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