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I’ve come to accept the fact that I am an emotional traveller. On more than one occasion, I’ve been moved to tears by places I’ve visited. Sometimes it’s because I’m overwhelmed by the beauty, other times it’s because I’ve waited so long to visit, I can’t believe I’m actually there. Prague made me teary eyed for both those reasons.
I had been thinking about Prague since 2006, when I graduated university. It was a place I didn’t know a whole lot about, but for some reason was forever dreaming of visiting. I kept hearing many great things about Prague and its beauty so couldn’t help but be intrigued.
Even though I was fantasizing about Prague, I hadn’t been actively searching photos of it on the internet. Strange, I know. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I waste so much time looking at travel photos. In this case though, I’m glad I didn’t do a lot of image searching. I walked into Prague with no preconceived notions, no expectations for what it should look like. I got to experience Prague for the first time through my own eyes, not the lens of someone else’s camera.
When I first stepped foot into Staroměstské náměstí, the old market square, I was… well, I was at a loss for words. Even now, I’m struggling for the right word to describe how I felt. Awestruck comes close. I was trying my best to fight off the tears, not wanting my new husband to think I was crazy, but I couldn’t help it.
“What’s wrong? Are you crying?” Mike asked.
“It…it’s…just so…so…beautiful,” was all I could choke out.
I was overcome- by the beauty, by the atmosphere, by a dream come true.
Pleasant Surprises in Prague
We didn’t know what to expect in Prague, so the city surprised us in many ways- all good! That’s one advantage to not doing a lot of research on a destination- everything feels like an amazing discovery!
Here are some things we didn’t know to expect in Prague that helped make our trip a wonderful experience.
The Musical Culture
The first thing we noticed, was that Prague is a very musical city. There was always a band, or individual, playing music in the old market square. Great music too! These were talented musicians attracting a large crowd of people, who were tapping their feet and swaying to the music. It created such an energetic atmosphere, a positive vibe that seemed to reverberate off the surrounding historic buildings.
Prague also has many concert halls and opera houses. The Prague State Opera, National Theatre and Estates Theatre present a repertoire of opera and ballet throughout the year. When we were in town, Prague was hosting an international music festival and we were able to watch a free performance on the steps of the Rudolfinum music auditorium. We also took in a concert at the Municipal House. The theme was Hollywood movies and there was a special appearance by the Pink Panther!
It was such a relief to find out that English was widely spoken in Prague. We had no idea where to begin when it came to pronouncing Czech words!
Prague is such a welcoming place and everyone we met was very friendly and gracious. Hotel and restaurant staff, local vendors and artists, even fellow travellers, were all pleasant and easy to talk to.
There was one artist on Charles Bridge whose photography I just loved. Every day we walked across the bridge and would stop to talk to him. He told me stories about his photographs and let me in on his secrets about how he shot and edited them. We bought one of his prints because I knew I wouldn’t be able to capture Charles Bridge the way he did, free of people. He said that he gets his best photographs in the winter, when there are fewer tourists. Even then though, he said he only comes away with a great shot about one out of every ten times he comes to photograph the bridge.
Even though I had kept hearing how beautiful Prague was, I was expecting to see more bland, ramshackle Communist era buildings. That could not be further from the truth! The architecture in the historic centre of Prague is exquisite! I loved the colours and the attention to detail was beyond impressive. We even came across some beautiful, historic wall art.
Prague is a very clean city, and this is one of the reasons why we kept saying that Prague was more beautiful than Paris (and it smells better too!) We always saw workers out and about sweeping up the streets, keeping everything neat and tidy. Considering the amount of tourists that come through Prague, keeping the city clean is probably not an easy task, but the city workers sure do a great job!
I wouldn’t exactly call the crowds a pleasant surprise. I honestly was not expecting to see so many tourists in the middle of September. The surprising part was that the crowds didn’t bother me.
I don’t enjoy being surrounded by large groups of people- it feels too chaotic. In Prague though, I didn’t feel stressed as we merged into the huge crowd, walking down the narrow street towards Charles Bridge. It just added to the excitement and anticipation. I’ve never seen such a big group of people all heading to one place that wasn’t a sporting event!
Of course, I would have preferred if there were less people around. Walking down the narrow streets became tricky when it rained, umbrellas bumping each other as people passed. The reason why I didn’t get as annoyed as I normally would have, was because everyone was in great spirits, being respectful of each other. There was an unspoken understanding that we were all there for the same reason- to experience the wonderful city of Prague.
Final Thoughts About Visiting Prague
As someone who does a lot of research when planning trips, it was refreshing to visit a place and be pleasantly surprised by the sights, atmosphere, and culture. I didn’t know much about Prague before our trip, but I left thinking it was one of the best cities to visit in Europe!
Tours in Prague
Here is a trusted site that has a large inventory of tours and tickets for activities in Prague. You can book everything from walking tours, river cruises, concerts, pub crawls, airport transfers, and day trips out of the city.
Accommodations in Prague
For your convenience, here is a list of hotels in Prague. Please consider booking your Prague accommodations through the included link. It costs nothing extra and helps support this website. Thank you!