The Charles Bridge is wonderfully mysterious at night - the statues silhouetted against the night sky, the murmuring Vltava. It almost seems like the statues shift their gaze or gesture just ever so slightly at night time - “obscure ghostly beauty”. During the day a totally different mood pervades the Bridge.
Despite many wars and fires, Prague Castle has grown into a unique architectural complex, the largest of its kind in Europe.
A visit to this medieval castle is a must for all visitors to Prague. It contains the Gothic Saint Vitus Cathedral (the most recognised landmark in Prague), a monastery, several towers, St. George's Basilica, palaces and Golden Lane.
Prague Castle was established during the 9th century, with a Romanesque palace erected during the 12th century. In the 14th century, under the reign of Charles IV, it was rebuilt to Gothic style. A further reconstruction of the Royal Palace then took place under the Jagellons at the end of the 15th century. The builder, Benedikt Rejt, also added the now famous Vladislav Hall. The castle underwent further works during the 16th century, mainly due to a big fire in 1541. The Spanish Hall, a new section of the castle, was added during the reign of Rudolf II, and took its final form in the time of Empress Maria Theresa - under the direction of the architect M. Pacassi.
After World War I, the interior and gardens of Prague Castle were renovated by the architect J. Plecnik.
Today, Prague Castle is the seat of the President of the Czech Republic, and serves as the historical and political centre of both city and state.
If the Czechs are proud of one thing....
Its their beer brewing, and, more importantly, their beer drinking! Czechs consistently consume more beer per capita than any other country in the world...well close...they usually trade off each year with Germany at the #1 and #2 spots.
And they truly believe (and I tend to agree with them) that they brew the best, highest quality, beer in the world. Granted they don't have the variety that you will find in places like Belgium. Czechs prefer to take the belief that doing only 2 or 3 things better than anyone else, is better than doing more things than anyone else.
Hence you have the traditional Bohemian Pilsner (invented in Plzen at the Pilsner Urquell brewery), the amber Pilsner, and the dark Pilsner. Simple, yet enough variety when you consider that they all taste as creamy as a frosty ice cream cone!
Their pride in beer is well deserved, and I would not suggest challenging it...because there are more of them, then you...and they pretty much have a consensus among the people that is quite hard to shake.
The smarter thing to do is simply to order up and enjoy!
You may not think that the zoo could be 'off the beaten path' but it is. It was very quiet in April when we visited.
The zoo is definately worth a visit, even if you aren't travelling with children. If you are travelling with children the zoo is a must see!
The wolves, polar bears and giraffes are worth a look. Also the inside areas with the small desert animals are good.
The floods that devistated Prage in 2002 also devistated the zoo. There are photos around the zoo showing the destruction and the rescue of the animals. Look out for the water height mark by the cafe near the entrance.
To get to the zoo: travel on the C line (red) of the metro to Nadrazi Holesovice and then change to the 112 bus. The 112 starts at the metro station and terminates at the zoo (and vise-versa).
This journey should not take you more than 1 hour form anywhere in Prague so you will only need a 12Kæ ticket (one way). Remember to buy another for the way back (available at the zoo bus stop).
"Little Venice" ??
Any area like Kampa Island because it has a few canals is coined "Little Venice". Well I wouldn't stretch as far as that (its no comaparison to the real Venice) but its still a pleasant place to stroll away from the crowds - and I got my customary reflection picture ;-)