23 February, 2017

Praha part I - A dream come true

Why Prague
I'm not quite sure, but some time last year, the idea began to grow somewhere in the back of my mind. At one point, the idea of spending a couple of days in this wonderful city was underlined by images in my head, daydreams and wishes. And once it grew beyond the threshold of a dream, I slowly started browsing for ways to get there, places to stay, and searching for an exam-free period in my calendar. 
Once the main plan was created, it was time to start annoying asking mom to come with me. Surprisingly, that part didn't take much effort, but to get her on a plane turned out to be impossible once again. As it still turned out to be the fastest and easiest option for me, mom would have to face another of her great fears: ending up alone in an unknown enviroment.

After the organizational committee was through with dates, tickets and reservations, I began making plans on where to go and what to see. While one might certainly want to check out the usual sites as tripadvisor for details on the attractions, I found a duo that turned ou to be a true revelation: Janek Rubeš & Honza Mikulka aka Honest Prague Guide, who made the city super familiar to me before I even set foot on Czech soil. Full of tips, suggestions and warnings, their informative videos turned out to be the best Prague-preparation one can imagine :)
In the end, I discovered I could get ourselves a Prague Card that would give us a great combination of using the city's public transport for free and having free/reduced admissions to a number of tourist attractions. What more can one wish for?

Finally in mid-October, it was time for our Prague adventure to begin. Mom was instructed to find the big old cupola of Prague's main train station and wait for me until I arrive by plane and pick her up. Unlike her - spending most of the day on the train - I would only start my journey in the evening and arrive about the same time, but of course the drive from the airport would take some time. 
And even though it was already dark when I took off... 
... The clouds cleared up for a glimpse of a spectacular sunset
Somewhere on the way towards the Czech Republic, we even managed to leave the cloud layer behind before we dived into the night. (And yes, I do consider the position of the sun when choosing my seat. Uhm.)
Golden Prague
Having watched the Honest Prague Guide videos numerous times, the trip from the airport to the main train station (Praha hlavní nadraží) turned out to be a piece of cake. As for the building itself, you might want to have a look at it even if you don't arrive by train. Renovated in the past years, it's a great combination of old and new, a busy and yet a very clean and manageable place, and according to some, one of the most beautiful train stations in Europe. 
And above all, you just have to love a train station that starts its announcements with the harp sounds of the opening sequence in Smetana's "Má vlast".
For the two of us however, the main task was to get to our hotel for a good night's sleep. Choosing tram over metro seems to be the slower option at first glance, but it certainly makes it possible to soak up the first impressions of the city in passing ;)

~ to be continued ~

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