This post is part of the Around the World in 8 Days trip. Here are related posts:
Today was MY one full day in Prague! I wanted to make the most of it so I began it in the best way possible: I went out running!
It was 8 am and the city was sleeping, I had Old Town and the Charles Bridge, and all the beauty of Prague and it’s 1,000 spires, all to myself! As the streets and sidewalks are almost entirely cobble-stoned, and I had to stop every two seconds to take photos (the beauty had overtaken me), I wouldn’t say I ran far or fast. But I was out there loving every second of it.
This might be one of my most memorable runs ever.
I returned to my hotel and had breakfast with a capital B (see Lavish Breakfast: Radisson Blu Alcron, Prague). I then showered and took to the streets again. I’d thought of going on an organized walking tour but instead did the wander (with a capital W). Prague had woken up and was already bustling, despite the rather cold and windy weather.
My first destination was the The Jewish Quarter. The Jewish people thrived in so many European cities, until, of course, they were chased out, or worse. I visit the Jewish neighborhoods to pay homage to these people. To my ancestors. In the Jewish Quarter, there are a number of old synagogues, including one that is still a working synagogue as well as the Jewish Museum. I visited the museum over 20 years ago when I first visited Prague, so I decided to just explore the area, rather than visit the museum. Honestly, while I am happy that these places have been preserved, I was put off by how the Jewish Quarter had been commercialized. It felt more like a tourist attraction than anything. I even asked to go inside one of the temples just to say a prayer, and I was told I could not do so without paying a fee. This was rather bothersome.
So, I walked around. This is the Jewish Cemetery behind the Jewish Museum.
This statue was right near the Jewish District. Talk about contrast. But then again, isn’t Prague all about contrasts between old and new?
I continued on my tour of Prague, primarily in the Old Town, seeing everything from streets with designer shops no different from 5th Avenue, to stopping to listen to street musicians, to walking down swirling streets with shops selling bohemian crystal. It was cold and a glass of hot spiced wine, while looking at the Astronomical Clock, was just perfect!
Time flew by, and it was evening. I ate dinner at the BeBop bar at the hotel The bartenders, Jan and Jan (seriously!) suggested a traditional Czech dish svíčková, beef with a creamy cranberry sauce — it was quite good (it tasted much better than it looked). (I had traditional goulash and a local beer for dinner the night before at a well-known pub restaurant, U Tří Růží).
And so ended the day and my lovely short visit to the Czech Republic. The next day, I would wake up early, go to the train station and take an Airport bus back to Václav Havel Airport, where I would take a flight to Amsterdam for one night before continuing on to Tokyo, Japan.