Prague Week 2: Touring Like Crazy

Our second week in Prague: jet lag had worn off, we’d gotten the lay of the land in our neighborhood, and we were ready to play tourist. Jim’s mom Lia came to visit this week, so it was perfect!

We did a little recon the weekend of Lia’s arrival (her flight was delayed by a day so she stayed overnight in NYC – Delta took great care of her).

Important things we learned:

  • Don’t hike UP the mountain to the castle. Brutal, especially in 97 degree weather. Especially don’t walk up the stairs.
  • Charles Bridge is overrated. It’s so crowded with tourists and caricature artists, there’s no way to savor the walk. I read a blog that said to only walk it in the wee hours of the morning. I think that’s great advice.
  • Food costs about twice as much in the tourist area, and isn’t nearly as good as what we can get at our neighborhood places. Well, yeah.

All right. Duly noted. We felt ready to see the sights, and we had prepared Lia for the cobblestone streets and hills. I’m not sure she was quite ready for the marathon shopping trip I dragged her on as I frantically searched for a dress to wear to the theater, but she was a trooper. Mission accomplished, and we headed out on a beautiful breezy evening to see Macbeth at the National Theater. An amazing experience. I’m only ever sitting in box seats from now on!

The next afternoon, we took a two-hour river cruise on the Vltava River, the lifeblood of Prague. Absolutely beautiful and restful, with gorgeous scenery. We saw Vysehrad (the photo below that looks like a mountain…it is…) from the boat, and decided to head there the next day. It’s a huge public park that includes the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, a historic graveyard, plus several beer gardens and stunning views that made the climb worth it. We’ll head back there for sure. Earlier in the day (which just happened to be July 4) we grabbed lunch at a kitschy ’50s American-style hamburger place called, oddly, Sad Man’s Tongue. Funny story: we were the only ones eating our burgers and fries with our hands – everyone else was using forks and knives! They must have thought we were barbaric, LOL.

Our adventures continued the following day at Strahov Monastery. This time, we took the tram up the mountain, to Lia’s great relief. We saw two amazing libraries, the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and had lunch at a beer garden with one of the best views in Prague.

Our last big stop, on Saturday, was the Historical Building of the National Museum. What an incredible place. The government spent several years doing a complete renovation and it just reopened last fall, on the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Czechoslovak Republic. The main exhibit, called 2 x 100, is a seemingly random but beautifully curated sampling of some of the most interesting and significant items from the over 20 million objects in the museum’s collections (such as the Kwan Yin statue from the Chinese Song Dynasty of 960-1279, shown in the photo gallery below). The National Museum actually has 9 major sites throughout the city. We’d better get busy!

Lia was sad to leave but we definitely wore her (and ourselves!) out with the marathon of tours. There’s just so much to see! We feel like we have barely scratched the surface. On to week 3!