Prague – First Look

We traveled to Prague by train from Bratislava. It is a four hour train journey, but entirely comfortable in first class. Actually the first class accommodation is reminiscent of the Hogwarts Express – six seats in a saloon with overhead storage. Dining options were limited by entirely acceptable. We both enjoyed our toasted “somethings”.

Disappointingly the taxi drivers at the Prague station are as crooked as those in Budapest – probably more so. We were met at the taxi rank by a chap who told us a fare that was more than we expected. When I said that sounded expensive he shrugged his shoulders and turned away. At that point we realised how few options we had and accepted the fare and were assigned a cab. The hotel later confirmed my belief that 200CZK would have been the correct fare and that the 500CZK charged was robbery. They also provided a hotel limo for the return journey for 290CZK. Free enterprise is wonderful but if your first experience in a new city is being ripped off then it is not a good start.

After, checking in we had to go for a short stroll to get our first sense of the city. From our hotel we passed the new city hall and walked down to Wenceslas Square (yep, this is where the Christmas Carol comes from). We were expecting an old town feel in the square, but that is somewhere else. Wenceslas Square is restaurants and night clubs and apparently one of the less safe areas of Prague at night. Nevertheless, our biggest overriding impression of Prague was fabulous and interesting architecture. We later learned that Prague wasn’t bombed during the war, and so all of its original buildings are still standing. Before WWII perhaps other major European cities were as good.

Back at the hotel it was a pleasure to discover a rooftop viewing platform that was perfect for viewing the sunset while looking across to the palace and sights in store for the next day.