Truthfully, I spent most of my week in Prague inside of the Hilton hotel; in meetings, in symposiums, in hospitality suites. In, in, in, in! But on Thursday the conference ended around lunch and I was free for the afternoon with a flight first thing Friday morning. I had to get out, out, out in a hurry!
I had about 5 hours time to visit/experience the important things in Prague. I did my best.
1. Took a boat tour ($12US). The Vltava river flows directly through the city of Prague and many beautifully ancient bridges cross it. The boat tour picked up about two blocks form my hotel. The tour provided a beautiful view of the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, and the metronome that marks the former location of the Stalin statue (imploded in 1962).
2. Caught the tram to Old Town Prague ($1US). We took the tram just on the other side of our hotel into Prague’s “Old Town”. I think it’s funny that this particular area has been deemed “old” because with the exception of a few modern buildings here and there the whole city is pretty old. We saw the astronomical clock, the colorful Jewish Synagogue, a handful of torture museums (dude!), the State Opera, and an authentic Czech outdoor market (where I bought Ike an authentic handmade slingshot, $2US).
3. Ate Czech Beef Goulash ($14US). I was told shortly after arriving in Prague that I’ve not had proper goulash until I had Czech Goulash, so obviously I had to make that happen. And, after 5 days of nonstop Americanized hotel food (very good Americanized hotel food mind you) I was ready to have some authentic cuisine. At the recommendation of a co-workers wife who had spent the week sightseeing while we were in meetings, we ate at a small, halfway underground restaurant/pub. The goulash was AMAZING. If you’ve never tried it, you should go to Prague and get some immediately.
Happy Goulash Girl right here. By the way, Goulash is a traditionally Hungarian dish of stewed beef and vegetables seasoned with sweet paprika. Mine was served with super savory potato cakes.
4. Shop for some crystal. ($0US, if you don’t count the noncrystal souvenirs I picked out for the kids in the crystal shopping district). I didn’t know before I arrived, but Czech produced crystal is some of the finest in the world. And buying it from a place as inexpensive as Prague makes it a very budget friendly shopping item. There were endless shops selling crystal vases, glasses, jewelry and more along the streets in Old Town and downtown Prague. If I had an extra day there, I would have spent some time trying to replace the various wine glasses that I’ve broken over the years.
While I would have loved to have more time to explore Prague, I feel content in seeing the major landmarks, and of course trying out the local food-fare. I hope to go back again someday, the city is beautiful and the people are very nice and friendly and generally helpful.