On a Friday afternoon we hopped on the plane towards Prague, the first destination of our multi-city journey across Eastern parts of Central Europe. What we usually do in city breaks is walk, sit down for a beer/coffee/meal… and repeat until the day is over. Prague was no exception and in between walking for hours each day, we spent also quite some time just sitting around tasting the local beers, and oh boy there where tons of them. I personally do prefer wine over beer but when in Czechs you just have to try the beer, and so we did. The beer culture in there is just amazing, prices are ridiculously low and the selection is so huge that no wonder there were so many British groups having the bachelor parties there. And really, the beer is significantly cheaper than water in restaurants, so coming from a country where a pint of a crappy local beer costs over 5 times more than in Prague and where the water is free, the whole setup is just absurd.
The first sunset in Prague, my iPhone camera did not do a really good job here though…
The days in Prague went quickly by and we walked miles each day exploring the city. And it indeed was a lovely city. We did see all the essential tourist attractions; the castle, Charles Bridge, the old town square with the astronomical clock, Petrin hill with the funicular and Vyšehrad. All definitely worth a look, but all information of these also available in thousands of tourist guides, so this time, I will not go into details about the places. I loved the city for all the old buildings and lively streets. The best part of the visit for me was all the little stops we had around the city: the riverside terrace on the first night where we watched the sun go down behind the Prague castle on the other side of the Vltava river, the Letna beer garden high above the city (highly recommended on a beautiful day, unless you are not keen on walking up and down a rather steep hill) and Střelecký ostrov, a small island in Vltava river where a live music event was taking place when we passed by. Even though not understanding a word of the local language, it was still really nice to just sit down in the park, have a drink and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, watching people pass by.
Strolling down the hill from Prague castle, right through a tiny vineyard.
After three days of intense sightseeing, we hopped on the train towards Bratislava stopping for a day in Brno. The Prague train station was some kilometers away from our hotel so we took the tram. The distance would have been easily walkable but as I had kept spotting and taking pictures of the cute old trams every day, it was more for the experience. And oh boy was I disappointed when we saw the tram approaching the stop and it was the brand new type…
Anyhow, we found our way to the train station, bought the tickets to Brno and headed towards the platform. When travelling with train in Europe, it is rather common that your ticket does not include a seat reservation, so the boarding of the train reminds you strongly of a Ryanair boarding where everyone is trying to get the banana (there must be bananas for the first on board, because otherwise the shoveling just does not make any sense, right?). So if you are travelling on a budget, be prepared for a little chaos if you are taking a popular connection. Another option is to just reserve a seat when buying the ticket, usually the additional cost is really only pennies, and you can just take your time when boarding and let others do the fighting.
One of the many beers in Czech I had. No, I’m not an alcoholic or a beer lover even though it might seem so from this post, but beer is just the thing when travelling in Czechs..
So we managed to find our seats in the train. The ride to Brno was a nice and short one, even though scheduled two hours turned into three hours due to a locomotive problem that left us standing in the middle of nowhere for an hour. Browsing through Lonely Planet and some online articles about the city on the train, I could not find anything super interesting about the city, but still wanted to go and have a look as we had the time for it. In Brno we left our backpacks in a locker at the station and continued towards to city center. We spent some nice hours walking around the city center, had lunch at the StaroBrno brewery and continued our way to Bratislava. As for Brno, there is not much to say about the city. The city center is rather nice and I loved the central square that was full cafes, people walking around and as a curiosity, a tram line going right across the whole square without anyone being disturbed. By now you might notice I have this thing with public transport and trams especially (I know, I’m weird). However, it does tell much about the city that the only photos I took were from the brewery restaurant.