travel

[TRAVEL] Český Krumlov & Prague, Czech Republic

dscf0484

From Salzburg to Prague, we travelled using the Daytrip service. This company does private transfers between European cities using local drivers which means you get a door-to-door transportation service. You can even add side-trips to nearby sightings (depending on your location) that is on the way to your end destination. That’s how we managed to do a quick stop at Český Krumlov before arriving in Prague.

I would really like to recommend Daytrip to those who are travelling in large packs, with children or generally those who just can’t be bothered with the hassle of getting around through other means of transportation because of these reasons:

  1. The driver picks you straight up at your hotel and drops you off at the hotel in another city. Which means you don’t have to lug your bags and luggage around, you don’t need a taxi to transfer your bags to the train station or airport etc.
  2. You get to travel comfortably. The van that we rode in was super huge and there was ample of space for everyone to sit in. They even provided a baby car seat for us!
  3. You don’t have to worry about your luggage. While doing side-trips, your luggage will be stored safely in the van. Otherwise you would need to find a storage space to keep your luggage while you go around sightseeing. Super tedious.
  4. All the drivers speak English. Our driver, Martin, of Czech Republic nationality spoke perfect English. He was also very nice and funny, and is apparently a Chelsea fan (much to our despair… lol). Even though it was only for a short period of time, we really bonded with him and felt really safe and secure under his care. Apparently we were his first ever Muslim passengers, and he was very diligent in trying to get us Halal food when we were at Český Krumlov (although we didn’t ask him to). He made his own initiative to Google for us. He also helped us to get a refund when my FIL wrongly bought a souvenir as the cashier did not speak good English. Highly recommend him if anyone wants to try Daytrip (not so sure if you can request for drivers though).
  5. You have the option to pay by cash at your end destination. If you are not convinced and afraid that Daytrip is some shoddy European scammers, you don’t even have to pay a deposit. We paid the full amount once we arrived in Prague.
  6. You get to add more places to visit in your itinerary. Traveling from one city to another can sometimes be difficult, especially when you are in large groups or traveling with a child. It’s fairly easy to choose your side-trip with Daytrip. Just put in your destinations, and they will suggest a few places you can visit that is nearby (with an extra fee of course).

img_7740

My FIL with our driver, Martin

Our trip from Salzburg to Prague via Český Krumlov with 5 passengers was €380 in total. We were really happy with their service, so give them a try if you are planning to go for a Eurotrip.

Český Krumlov

I have been to Czech Republic a few times, as my sister was a medical student at Charles University in Prague. It was my second trip to Český Krumlov and because I loved it so much I decided to bring Nazeef and my in-laws there since it was their first time in Czech Republic. The last time I was there was during Spring time when the sun was out shining, birds chirping gaily and it gave a different kind of atmosphere. This time around it was very cloudy and the weather was quite cold, but still not enough to cloak the whimsical atmosphere that the town emits.

Český Krumlov is a small town with Gothic, Renaissance and baroque-inspired buildings, bisected by the Vlatva River. The town literally looks like it was taken out from those fairy tale storybooks, with its 13th Century castle. You get to see panoramic views of the old town and the river from the top of the castle’s round bell tower. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes, because of the uneven ground.

First day in Prague

We arrived in Prague at around 8.30PM. The accommodation we stayed at was booked from Airbnb. The apartment was tastefully decorated with modern interiors, very spacious and the owner Ina was quick to respond to our messages. It’s also situated right behind Wenceslas Square with access to the subway and train (a minute away by foot). Coincidentally our apartment was a block away from where my family stayed! So it was all perfect, I give it five out of five stars.

img_7746

Wenceslas Square

Second day in Prague

We had to attend my sister’s graduation at 10.00AM, so we decided to head out early to go to the famous Astronomical Clock located at the Old Square. Here’s what you should have prepared coming to Czech Republic: They accept Euro (but not all shop does) but they will give the change in Czech Crown (which means the value might not be accurate). So be sure to change some money into Czech Crown for smoother transaction. Also, make sure to have coins(!) because their subway ticket machine is so old school, it only accepts coins. The ticket counters apparently cannot provide small change, nor can we make purchases there (for some weird reason, I think they don’t accept purchase of single-day tickets). We actually wasted almost half an hour trying to buy the tickets… yup. Not so much fun.

The weather in Prague was gloomy, that not even a sliver of sunshine can be seen. Puffs of dark, ominous cloud hovered low menacingly. But there were still a lot of tourists at the Astronomical Clock, all anticipating for the clock to hit the next hour to witness the sculptures around the clock moving. This clock was first installed in 1410, making it the oldest astronomical clock that is still operating.

After taking a few pictures, we went to my sister’s graduation place to meet with my family. My sister is a certified doctor now (easier to get mc yayy lol jk), congratulations! After the graduation ceremony, everyone had lunch together. After parting, we headed to Charles Bridge; the Gothic-style bridge that crosses over Vlatva River (remember this river?) and was the only means of connectivity between the Old Town with Prague castle until 1841.

dscf0453

The bridge was laden with a myriad of different groups of people. Tourists, artists, musicians, lovers, beggars… it’s amazing to observe each and every person’s unique personality. People watching is one of my favourite thing to do, and I’d come up with thousands of possibilities trying to guess how strangers live their life. A catchy beat played by buskers serenaded passersby – instantly lifting the dull ambiance.

We walked passed Charles Bridge and proceeded through hidden passages and corners to reach John Lennon’s wall, a monument dedicated for the Beatles’ star. A busker parked himself in front of the wall, singing Lennon’s songs passionately. The wall was heavily decorated with colourful graffiti and inspiring quotes – mostly pieces of lyrics from Beatles’ songs. A bunch of flowers scattered on the floor – some already dead and wilted, some still fresh and fragrant – left by people as a sign of tribute. I traced each and every quotes etched and marked as motivation to myself.

When we left, we could smell the damp scent of rain, so we walked hurriedly to take the tram. We stopped directly in front of the Dancing House. The building, strikingly modern among the historic buildings around it, has a daring, curvy outline and was built after Fred and Ginger (a legendary dancing duo). After taking pictures, we rode the tram and headed back to our apartment to rest.

Third day in Prague

Our first destination for that day was to go to Prague Castle and then take a walk around Lesser Town. We took the subway, made an exchange to ride the tram and walked for about 20 minutes before reaching the entrance of the castle. I used the Rome2Rio app to decide on which train and tram to take, for easier navigation.

You get to see panoramic views of Prague from the castle’s premises. The weather was still pretty much the same – the sun was still out of sight, and it was quite foggy so not all of Prague was visible. There’s a fee to enter Prague castle, you can check this website to look up on the opening hours and price of the tickets. We didn’t go in, so we only took photos of the exterior.

We walked down the stairs leading down the path towards Lesser Town. We took our time walking around looking for souvenirs, getting ourselves amused by street performances, taking photos with yet another cathedral (among many), laughing hard at funny t-shirts and eating what Nazeef insisted to be ‘the best kebab he has ever tasted’. We walked past Charles Bridge again, and this time we just lingered, listening to lively music being played and admiring artworks drawn by local artists.

At night, Nazeef and I went for a stroll along Wenceslas Square to look for souvenirs and dinner. The square was very beautiful at night. Adorned with magical fairy lights, the sweet smell of cinnamon, twinkling giant seasonal ornaments – it was a pretty sight indeed. With my hand in his pocket and his arm around my shoulders, we strode in small steps talking about everything – our dreams, our needs, our goals, our fears. Although we didn’t even get to buy most of the things we wanted (I wanted Indian food, but couldn’t find any), it was one of my favourite moments and I remembered it preciously.

Prague is a lovely, beautiful city. It feels very homey to me. It might be because I have been there more than twice, but I’d like to think it’s because of the overall ambiance the city exudes. I suppose if I lived there, I would challenge myself to explore its crooked passages and streets that lead to an unknown area I’ve never stepped foot at. I could sit on the Charles Bridge all day to immerse myself in the lively surroundings and never get bored. Prague is a city that entices you to look beyond the surface, and to continuously delve deeper to discover newfound experiences. If I have the chance, I would go to Prague again and again, that is indefinite.

dscf0546

Český Krumlov and Prague, checked! Up next on the blog: Füssen and Munich.

Advertisements
Standard

2 thoughts on “[TRAVEL] Český Krumlov & Prague, Czech Republic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s