Prague | Snapshots of a story book city

This blog post is well over a year late, but I have good reason. Also, what’s a young Thursday without a little throwback, right?

When sharing stories of my European summer with Topdeck around this time last year (over the course of 18 days, 22 of us were whirled by bus around nine European countries, including Italy, Switzerland, France and the Czech Republic and it was literally THE BEST almost-three-weeks of my life so far. In case you missed it, you can start reading about it here too), I skipped out writing about the Prague leg of the journey because I was REALLY ill when I was in that city.

I’d had minor cold/flu-symptoms throughout most of the trip (having left South Africa still slightly ill and refusing antibiotics – sorry mom). As is expected after weeks of non-stop travelling, my health quickly deteriorated and I had developed a nasty cough by the time we reached the Austrian Alps. In spite of this, I threw caution to the icy wind and still went on the mountain biking tour through the Austrian Alps that I’d already booked and paid for. Anyway. That was the worst idea ever. I couldn’t breathe afterwards and felt so weak, like someone was constantly sitting on my chest. That awful feeling continued for the next two days, by which time we’d crossed into the Czech Republic.Β I was really disappointed at the time because Prague was one of the cities I was most looking forward to experiencing. But, I kept getting so tired after walking just a short distance, felt constantly light headed and was generally a miserable-looking human being. This sounds sooo dramatic (because it is), but I was so sick and “out of it” for those 48-hours, in some kind of daze, that it almost felt like I wasn’t there.

But! On a recent scroll through some older photos, I came across the snaps I’d taken while there and it got me feeling so inspired. It also got me thinking – part of the reason I felt so “spacey” is that Prague is a city out of a fantastical dream (at least the small part of it that I was fortunate enough to experience, mostly the Old Town). Like a fairy tale, Prague is all Disney Princess-esque castles and gothic architecture and statues of Catholic saints that watch over you as you cross over Charles Bridge. I stood in the Old Town Square, the centre of “the City of a Hundred Spires” and watched as a horse-drawn carriage clattered past, while someone blew bubbles that floated through the open space and up into the crisp blue sky.Β The toasty smell of trdelnik pastries cooking over open fires constantly hangs in the air as you wonder through narrow roads, past marionettes and stores selling sweet treats and Bohemian glass.

Here’s the visual story.

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Under archways and onwards we go along narrow, cobbled roads, in the direction of Old Town Square.
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With flower boxes, window seats, yellow walls and blue accents, these buildings had me ready to bust out into song like the Disney Princess I never was.
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Look closely and you’ll see the Prague Coat of Arms, a shining emblem on the Old Town Hall.
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I was as fascinated by those bubbles as those little kids on the left.
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There’s no bad angle to the Gothic and Baroque architecture of Old Town, Prague.
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Waiting with the crowds for the Prague Orloj (Astronomical Clock) to chime.
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The Prague Castle, fit for a Disney Princess.
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A bridge full of love locks.
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The many colourful layers of the John Lennon wall, which took us an absolute age to find (it’s not hidden or anything, we were just being useless).
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An Aussie and a South African and the John Lennon wall.
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A quiet garden setting for lunch, perfect for getting away from the crowds at tourist attractions.
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It’s a yes from me when a restaurant has pretzels on the table, ready and waiting to be snacked on.
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Catholic saints stand guard over Charles Bridge, their golden halos catching the sunlight.
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The Vitava river, over which Charles Bridge crosses.
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Artisan Czech puppets and marionettes are traditionally carved out of wood, and you can buy one as a souvenir from many little shops throughout Prague. Puppetry began here in the Middle Ages, with comedic performances in the markets. With the arrival of staged theatre ensembles from neighbouring European countries, marionette performances became an important part of Czech culture as they spread word of the national revival in the first half of the 19th century, in a way that was easy for large audiences to understand.
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Trdelnik, a traditional sweet pastry that originates from neighbouring Slovakia, is possibly one of my favourite things about this part of Europe. The dough is wrapped around a stake and cooked over an open fire. You can find them at street stands throughout Prague and their sugar-y cinnamon-y aroma permeates the air at almost every turn. While many stalls have updated them to become trdelnik cones filled with ice cream, I preferred the plainer variety, with the simple addition of Nutella spread on the inside.

Hope you enjoyed this visual journal and that you’re feeling inspired to put Old Town Prague on your travel bucket list.

On a side note, writing this post has got me SO excited for my upcoming month-long trip, including three full weeks in the Seychelles (can’t believe I’ll be there in just four weeks time!!). Follow A Bucketful of Sunshine to keep up with my shenanigans (I’ll be heading to Durban and the Southern Drakensberg while I’m away, too) and you can also find me on Instagram.

Until next time. xx

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