Archive for the ‘Czech Republic’ Category

Known as the “golden city of spires”, Prague has gorgeous architecture and the Singaporean in me can’t help but notice that it’s surprisingly very clean!

Almost everyone starts their tour of Prague in the heart of the city —the Old Town Square. There, we saw Tyn Church, the statue of Jan Hus, St. Nicholas Church and interestingly, 27 crosses on the pavement by the Old Town City Hall.

Standing under the Astronomical Clock when it strikes the hour is a see-at-least-once kind of touristy thing that I wanted to do while I was planning the itinerary. The clock — one of the oldest in the world — is gorgeous and the huge crowds add to the atmosphere! It was fun watching the procession of the 12 apostles together with so many people oohing and aahing, and then clapping when the show was over~

Within walking distance is Charles Bridge, which connects Old Town to New Town over the River Vlatva…

Just follow the signs (or the crowd since everyone wants to see one of Prague’s most famous landmark) — it’s impossible to miss!

The most notable statue on the bridge:  Saint John of Nepomuk. Tradition says that by rubbing the bronze plaque depicting St John being thrown off the bridge, you will return to Prague one day! That’s why it’s so shiny~

Look at the elegant pistachio-green building of the Theatre of the Estates, where Mozart personally conducted the premiere of his Don Giovanni in 1787.

Two important monuments: Statue of St. Wenceslas (the Czech patron saint) on horseback and the National Museum behind it. The Municipal House, a national cultural landmark, is among the most prominent Art Nouveau buildings in Prague.

Havelska Market on Melantrichova street was pretty quiet when we reached in the morning. Many stalls sell souvenirs like the Czech marionette puppets and this laughing witch puppet is super cool — she emits eerie crackles when you clap!

Off to Prague Castle!

Within the castle complex is St. Vitus Cathedral and a must-see is St John Nepomuk’s tomb — covered in a huge sculpture crafted from solid silver.

Sadly, the Golden Lane was closed for construction =(

We escaped the city buzz to Kutná Hora, a silver mining town in medieval times. This became the highlight for my stay in Prague. Love how quiet and peaceful the town is~

Visiting the Kostnice (Church of Bones), is my main purpose of going to Kutná Hora. It’s all bones inside, from the chandelier and skull candelabra to chalices and a display case showing skulls with wounds inflicted by various mediaeval weapons. Amazing~ This reminds me of the Buddhist stupa (also filled with skulls and bones) in The Killing Fields which I saw in Cambodia. 

The St. Barbara’s Cathedral, devoted to the patroness of miners, is among the most important architectural monuments.

And now, the eats! Not many of my meals in Prague are blog-worthy so I’ll just mention the more memorable ones…

Food at the Grand Cafe Orient (Ovocný trh 569/19, Staré Město) was so-so but the interior makes up for it. Charming with its Cubist style design, and I can easily imagine the heydays of Czech artists during the Cubism movement.

An unexpected yummy find was Trdelnik, a sweet dough wrapped around a metal bar, spun over a flame until golden, then rolled in a sugar-cinnamon-nut mix. It’s not hard to find, we bought ours from the many stalls at the Old Town Square.

Another place with awesome ambience but average food is Klub Architektu (Betlémské náměstí 169/5a, 1-Staré Město). It’s right next to Bethlehem Chapel and housed in a medieval cellar — quite unlike anything I’ve seen in Singapore before.

And of course, I can’t not post anything on breads since it seemed that I ate more breads during my 5 weeks in Europe than a year in Singapore. We came to a general consensus that the breads here are among the worst we’ve ever tried. I’m sure that there are wonderful breads in Prague but unfortunately, those we picked were either too hard or too salty (or both)!

Just to let you know, I rubbed the plaque on Charles Bridge doubly hard cuz I wanna return to Prague one day.. I’ll let you guys know if that legend holds any water when that happens =)

Read Full Post »