by Erin Elaine
For the first stop on my 18-day winter break trip, I went to Prague. I had previously been there when I was a sophomore in high school, traveling with my high school orchestra. I remembered loving Prague, even though a lot of the memories had faded with time. So I decided I wanted to return with new eyes and a new perspective.
Christmas was a great time to be in Prague. The city was so beautiful all decked out in Christmas lights, with glowing trees seemingly in every plaza. I enjoyed my fair share of hot wine and hot mead, and tried Halušky for the first time. I was hoping for snow that never came, but I had a really great time in Prague.
The Old Town Square – One of the most picturesque spots in Prague, especially during the Christmas season! I loved the giant, glowing Christmas tree. It’s definitely one of the largest real ones I’ve ever seen! On one side of the square is a beautiful church, on the other is the famous Astronomical Clock, and in the middle were hundreds of happy people eating, drinking, shopping, listening to live music, and being merry.
Astronomical Clock – This clock was first installed in 1410! Its complicated and intricate workings still draw a crowd every hour when the little figures come out of the doors on top. Imagine what a spectacle it was over 600 years ago, in the Middle Ages!
Charles Bridge – Construction began on the famous bridge in 1357. The 30 famous statues on the bridge were added starting in the late 17th century.
The Food – I tried Halušky for the first time from one of the market stands, and then tried it for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th times during the 5 days I was in the city. It’s made of gnocchi, bacon, and a little sauerkraut, all cooked together in a huge pan until the flavors mix deliciously. It was so good! Yum yum. There was also warm fresh Trdelník!! A little crunchy on the outside, then dusted in sugar, cinnamon, and crushed nuts just before serving. YUM.
The Music – There was a stage set up in the Old Town Square, with free live performances. There were some Christmas carols in Czech and English, traditional Czech songs, contemporary English songs, and even an adorable Czech puppet show! I also went to a Christmas Organ Concert in an old church, no language barrier there! Just the peacefulness of the church and the sounds of the organs and string instruments.
The Castle and Cathedral – Quite a hike, but a great view and beautiful stained glass!
The Architecture – Such beautiful and elaborate architecture! I loved just wandering the streets and finding fascinating things.
The Dancing Houses – Designed by the same architect that designed the EMP in Seattle.
The Swans – They mostly clustered around a tiny island in the middle of the river accessible only to pedestrians, but they can be seen elsewhere along the river as well.
I loved seeing Prague, stuffing myself full with food, and sleeping in a lot. Not a bad way to spend a break. The rest of my pictures are below.