Prague: my first stop on my 2019 European holiday. What a memorable place it has been. It was 3 degrees when I landed, my winterwear was ready for me to unpack as soon as I got my luggage. But what do you do when your bags don’t arrive? Well, for me the first thing was to freak out, only on the inside though, I remained calm on the outside. I was not only concerned that my luggage didn’t arrive but my luggage code, the sticker that gets put on your ticket, the one I would usually stick on my passport. I lost it. Well, so I thought, I found it that night. But the lady a baggage claim was great, I gave a great description of my case the details of my flight and she found it. Along with the 7+ cases that didn’t get arrive.
It turns out, I went to Prague, but my bag stayed in Doha. It all worked out though, my bag would be on the next flight out, 7.00am the next day and delivered to my hotel. After sorting this little drama out, I caught the airport express to Praha train station with only my hand luggage in tow.
Once I got my hotel, it was 4.30 and freezing, I decided I would go via the shops to buy some snacks and a toothbrush and paste. I explored a little around my hotel, I would have loved to have done some more exploring but by this time, I worried my limbs may drop off. So it was off to my hotel room, for some planning of the next few days. I wish I could say I freshened up, but it’s not the same when you don’t have fresh clothes to wear.
People have asked me if I packed clothing in your carry on. My answer is; I thought about but I didn’t. Kind of silly I know. But I had so many other things to pack.
And so, the end of my first day ended. I could not wait to see what Prague has to offer as well as getting my suitcase back.
My first full day was here at a chilly 9 degrees and overcast. I spent a little of the morning waiting and hoping that my luggage would arrive, only to find out it wouldn’t get delivered until 3 pm. What a bubble buster. I wasn’t going to waste any more of my day, so it was out into the cold, in my t-shirt, zip-up jacket, thin track pants and converser. No handbag, but purse in my pocket and my camera around my neck.
I am not going to lie; I was freezing in the first 10 minutes of leaving my hotel, but I kept calm and carried on. I had paid a lot of money to get here and there was not enough time in the day for me to sit in my hotel waiting for clothing.
The minute I entered Old Town Prague all my suitcase worries disappeared. If it weren’t for the cars, locals and tourists with their modern technology, I could have sworn I had gone back in time.
Cobblestone footpath and roads, the building exterior looked untouched and stunning. The light posts as if they have never been changed and remained in their original place. The streets filled with people and food stalls. The smell of food is everywhere. One minute the sweet smell of Chimney Cake sweeps through the air and the next minute the smell of wood fire. Only to see a lump of delicious meat rotating. Everywhere you look there is a potato option on the menu or sausage ready to serve.
I am also loving that I get to experience Easter in Europe. The street stalls decorated with so much colour. Traditional painted Easter eggs being sold, chocolates decorated festively. The trees decorated with ribbons and egg ornaments. Straw statues of Easter animals and traditional spiced Easter drinks sold at stalls. The festivities are in full swing everywhere, especially in the Old Town. Songs and dances performed on stage and within the markets.
My first day was me mostly taking in my surroundings and processing that I am finally on holiday. It is important I add; I was also trying not to freeze; I was entering stores of all kinds to get some relief of warmth. For lunch, I decided something warm, so I stopped by Alriso Risotteria Italiana. A 100% gluten-free restaurant so it was absolute heaven, also delicious and warm.
Later that afternoon I arrived back at the hotel and a special delivery was made to my room. Bet you can’t guess what it was? My suitcase. Once it arrived, I rugged up and went saw Prague at night.
Day two, 9 degrees, wet, cold and required an indoor activity. I decided it was the perfect day to visit Prazsky Hrad (Prague Castle). This was not what I expect. I was thinking one big lavish castle with a garden and water fountains, like the Palace of Versaille. But this was more Winterfell in Game of Thrones than Marie Antoinette. In saying that, it has got to be one of my favourite “castle” experiences to date. This was a wonderfully preserved village with so many areas to see. It was breathtaking, I’m not kidding, the climb up is a workout, but worth it.
There are a few ticket options you can choose from. There are 10 places to visit within the castle, I decided to go with circuit B (option 2) which gave me access to 4 places. Old Royal Palace, Basilica of St George, Golden Lane and St Vitus Cathedral. Besides my circuit B ticket, I brought a single ticket to climb the stairs of the Great South Tower of the Cathedral because one set of stairs is not enough. Why not climb an extra 287 in a tight confined, stone space? Well, the view at the top was worth it. Along the way, you do also get to see the bell within the clock which is neat.
Within the palace walls, it’s surreal. My favourite of the four places I saw was St Vitus Cathedral. It sure is a spectacular building. Cathedrals a common tourist attraction in Europe but this one is almost up there with Notre Dame in Paris, France. While I was standing there. Amongst the hundreds of people, from all over the world. Looking up and around at the incredible architecture, taking in all its beauty, I felt small. But not in a demeaning way, I was in awe not only with the cathedral but its history and the history of Prague and Europe. To be honest with you, feelings like these are the reason I love to travel.
My other favourite place was the Golden Lane. I went from feeling small in the cathedral to feeling giant in the teeny tiny homes. This is a must if you are ever in Prague, you get to see inside their homes. Walk the little street and stand in the courtyard with a beautiful tree. See the armour that was once worn and see in detail the coat of arms.
During day two not only was I engulfed in history and amazement. But I ate the perfect rainy-day meal at Svejk Restaurant U Karla. Beef goulash with dumplings; a traditional Czech meal, followed by tasty apple strudel, off an entirely gluten-free menu. If gluten-free options/menus aren’t a priority for you than their neighbouring restaurant is your perfect fit. U Fleku is next door and happens to be one of the most famous traditional restaurants in Prague. So, if you ever find yourself in Prague either of the two is worth the visit.
It was also the day I finally saw and crossed the Charles Bridge. Walking across the bridge is a tight fit, but it sure is awesome. The Lennon Wall was also on my day’s itinerary. Although John Lennon never came to Prague, you can see a very creative and bright dedication to him. Even write your name or a quote on the wall followed by a meal at the John Lennon Pub.
The third day in Prague seemed to have flown by, it was by far the sunniest and warmest days. I woke up with killer calves from all those stairs the day before, but that couldn’t slow me down. my day was to be filled in with last-minute must-dos. Before starting my day, I went to the final gluten-free restaurant on my list; the Secret of Raw. What a feast of raw foods I had; I was certainly fuelled for a day of adventure. I then headed over to the dancing house, walking through some of the cutest streets I had seen in my three days. Cobblestone roads and footpaths, trees lining and hanging over the small, tight squeeze streets and peering through the gaps of homes on my walk downhill I could see the water and trams passing through. Once I got to the dancing house, I took the tram up to Strahov library.
This is what you would call a beautiful and well-preserved library and there is a reason for such great preservation. You could not actually enter the library or take photos unless you pay to have photo permission. Again, this is a beautiful library, a sight for sore eyes indeed and preserved incredibly. From the art on the ceilings to the books on the shelves. But, in my opinion, is overpriced compared to other tourist attractions. I know, I know. You can’t put a price on beauty and beauty is the only way to describe it and I am thrilled I saw it after months of seeing images of it.
My history and architecture tour continued to the Jewish Quarters, then to climb the astrological clock, yes more climbing. This is the photo place. Everyone goes here to get photos overlooking Prague and it showed. The line was huge, but while I was waiting in line, I remembered something. About 500 meters down the road is the Prasna Brana, which you happen to be able to climb. So, I walked down the street where there was no line, it was half the price and I got almost the exact same view for my photos. It was perfect and what was better, is I got the astrological clock in my photo.
And just like that, my third and final day was coming to it end. There is still so much I have yet to do in Prague. So many more churches and museums to see, more markets to stop by and more food to eat. I guess this gives me more of a reason to return. But for now, this is it. Now its time for me to neaten up my bag and prepare for my day of travel to Vienna, Austria. Stay tuned for more adventures.
Tips for gluten-free travellers not mentioned
Gluten Free Chimneys Cakes can be found at Good Food Coffee and Bakery. You’ll see them everywhere and you will want one. The employees will also let you know what fillings are safe, just ask to be safe.
Most restaurants had knowledge of gluten intolerance when mentioned or are happy to ask. Remember to take your Gluten Free Card.
Lots of Potato options available at markets, I did not react.
Alberts had an amazing range of gluten-free foods.
*My Pinterest has the pins and blog posts that helped me not starve. Click here to see my Gluten-Free Travel Board *