Thursday, July 5th, 2012
15.5.12 16 °C
My flight from Paris, France to Prague, Czech Republic took off at at 8:25am on the morning on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 and landed at 10:05 am of the same day, meaning that I had to be packed, fed, checked out of my hotel, and at the airport by 6:00am. It was a fairly long wait at the airport, but I was too busy day dreaming about all that I had done and seen in the days prior to be irritated by the airport experience. We boarded the plane, and to my surprise I had another window seat, which I loved. My travel agent back home certainly had my back! I was slightly less impressed when two young children sat beside me on the plane, and made sort of a ruckus, but it was only an hour and fourty minute flight, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. We were flying on a Boeing 737-700 narrow-bodied jet, and my ticket had cost me only 78 Euros.
Once we landed, I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel, the Euroagentur Hotel, located in downtown Prague. To stay the night, it cost me roughly 98 Euros, and is located in the Nove Mesto neighborhood, close to Czech National Museum, Prague State Opera, and Wenceslas Square. I really enjoyed my room at this hotel, because upon jumping on to the bed, I discovered that this was certainly the comfiest mattress I'd encountered on the trip so far, along with the pillows. A good night's rest makes a world of difference while traveling. Once I settled in to my hotel, I set out on my exploration of the wonderful city of Prague, Czech Republic.
The first site I set out to see was once again, another zoo. Entrance into the Prague Zoo was €8.75, and it's home to over 450 different species of wildlife! I absolutely love experiencing the different atmosphere of zoos all over the world, and while one would think there would be a great deal of difference from the species that are inhabited there, or even simply the enclosures, I've found that zoos around the world are generally the same, but perhaps seem to be getting more and more exquisite with each one that I visit. The Prague Zoo is the oldest in Czech Republic, and offers many different interactive activities for kids and adults alike! I had a great time at the Prague Zoo, although I wished I could have stayed a little while longer, and brought all of my younger cousins along with me, to share in the experience.
A short cab ride took me toward what is known as the Castle District of Prague, Czech Republic. It homes more than 116 beautifully restored cathedrals and castles, and the great thing about visiting the district is that it's absolutely free to roam around. The architecture found in this area struck me as obviously very intricate and gorgeous, but slightly different than that of any other European destination I had visited thus far. There were opportunities to climb various observation decks and towers in order to achieve the best view overlooking the area; all of which I took full advantage of! My camera's memory card was getting fairly full after only a short visit to the Castle District, and I had to restrain myself from snapping photos every time something caught my eye. There was just too much to see, it was slightly overwhelming.
Literally about a five minute walk from the famous and glorious Castle District of Prague, the State Opera is found. Due to the fact that the restored building is continually used for various performances, the interior of the opera is generally not open to the public for tourists to crowd and snap photos of. The exterior of the opera was nearly as striking as anything I had witnessed on my dream trip around the world, thus far, and because I knew that I would never have the chance to be there again, I (sort of) snuck into the main atrium of the opera house. The interior is comparable to that of the world famous movie theatre I visited only four days ago, with gorgeous carpeting and tapestry, along with far too expensive decor all around. I wish I could have been able to go to an opera and experience the full effect of the stadium, but even being in the main atrium of the State Opera of Prague was enough to get my misty-eyed, simply due to the beauty and intricacy of it all. 7
I was really looking forward to my next stop of the journey. I was headed to the spa at Mandarin Oriental, located only about one kilometer from where I had just come from. I felt that although it cost me roughly €107.00, it would be well worth it to experience the world-renowned skills of the masseuses at the Mandarin Oriental. At this point in the trip, I was in dire need of a massage, as my back and entire body was aching from trekking around Europe for nearly a week. This was probably one of the smartest things I decided to do on this trip, because for the next two hours I experienced nothing but pure bliss and relaxation at the hands of a kind and very talented masseuse. Feeling absolutely revitalized and ready to take on the rest of my dream trip, I left the Mandarin Oriental and knew that I would probably be aching for another massage in about five hours, haha.
A short walk from the spa lead me to my next site of interest, Petrin Hill, which is home to a miniature Eiffel Tower, with roughly 266 steps to get to the top. I learned that the tower was built in 1891, for the Prague Exhibition, and has since become a fixture within the city, and known for it's beautiful view. Once I reached the top of the tower, I realized why this tower is such a popular tourist spot in Prague; the view truly is unbelievable. Just South of Petrin Hill is the Prague Museum of Music, which I certainly wanted to squeeze into my sight-seeing in the Czech Republic. Entrance into the museum was €12, and it is home to more than 70,000 artifacts pertaining to the history and development of music in Prague. I took a guided walking tour of the museum, that was translated into English headphones, and because of this, I learned more than I ever thought possible about the prominence and importance of the musical culture found in the Czech Republic.
By this time, I thought it was about time to grab an early dinner, and decided upon a local restaurant, situated not far from the heart of the city, called the Bellevue Restaurant. Here, I ordered the grilled monk fish in mustard crust, ragout of tri-coloured lentils and curry, scented with martini, and I must say, it was probably my favourite meal thus far on the trip. It cost me a total of €21, but for the quality, as well as presentation of the food, and the overall atmosphere of the goregous restaurant, it was well worth it.
With a full stomach, I headed to my final Czech destination for the day, the Museum of Miniatures, which homes nearly 6000 miniature appropriated pieces from the likes of Salvadore Dali, and Leonardo Davinci, all which must be viewed through a large magnifying glass. It cost me €8.50 to enter the museum, and once there, I took a guided tour with a very small group, there were 4 of us in total, which made the experience that much more intimate and exciting. The tour guide was fluent in English, and explained everything in great detail, from the life and works of the artists themselves, to the intricate process of miniaturizing a figure. I was blown away at how precise every tiny detail was, and kept thinking, never again will I complain that I can't do something, considering the lengths these men and women went to to create something they felt was important.
After a long day of Czech exploration, it was nearly time for me to return to my hotel, wash up, and fall asleep for the night. I was beginning to feel slightly homesick, but that was immediately stifled when I started to think about all the adventures I was sure to face the next day!