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Today, our 30-day trip around Europe takes us from Krakow, Poland to the beautiful city of Prague.
To get to Prague from Krakow, Shannon and I booked an overnight train – hotel and transportation in one!
Since we are cheap, but not that cheap, we splurged on a 2-person sleeping compartment hoping to get a little rest without worrying about our belongings (something that is apparently an issue on trains in this area). And since we both enjoy an evening cocktail, we also picked up a bottle of wine for the ride.
The train departed Krakow at 10:15pm with a scheduled arrival in Prague at 6:54am. We had no idea what to expect from our sleeping compartment – the last time I slept on a train was in Vietnam and that wasn’t the most pleasant experience. Needless to say, my expectations were low.
However, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that our little cabin had two bunk beds (each with soft pillows and duvet), a little closet and a small vanity with a sink. The bathroom was just next door in the hall.
All in all, not too shabby. Nothing fancy, but comfortable and certainly functional.
As the train departed the Krakow station, we popped the cork on the wine and settled in for the ride.
I had an article to finish for a deadline the next morning and Shannon climbed up to the top bunk with a book. An hour later, the wine was gone and we turned in for the night hoping to catch a little shut-eye.
The beds were comfortable enough, unfortunately, the train made multiple stops at brightly lit, noisy stations throughout the night so neither of us got much sleep.
Since the air-conditioning wasn’t great, we had the window cracked to let in the cool air outside. The downside of that clever solution was having to leave the window shade up. This meant every time we pulled into a new station, the cabin was flooded with light.
Arrival in Prague
We arrived in Prague exhausted but right on time a little before 7am.
We found our hotel (the Radisson Blue Prague Charles Square) on foot after getting our bearings. It was early, so the room wasn’t ready yet but they offered the use of the spa’s shower facilities to freshen up and then access to the lounge for breakfast.
After hot showers and a hot breakfast, we were ready to take on Prague.
It was Shannon’s last day on the trip so even though we were tired, we were determined to get out and see as much of Prague as we could in 24 hours.
Things to Do in Prague
Our first stop was Prague’s historic Old Town square. It’s large enough you could spend a whole day exploring just the square but since time was short, we hit the highlights. A stop to admire the Astronomical Clock (the first of its kind in 1338) and a hike to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower for the best views over the square and the city.
Next, we walked along the Vltava River to the famed Charles Bridge. The stone Gothic-style bridge connects the Old Town to the Prague Castle neighborhood (Lesser Town). It’s lined with 30 unique Baroque statues and limited to pedestrian traffic only.
It’s also a great place to shop for souvenirs and watch local artists at work.
We crossed the crowded bridge and began the steep hike up the hill to Prague Castle.
The weather was sunny and beautiful but also quite hot. We did the obvious thing and got cold beers for the walk. Prague is, after all, known for its beer and we didn’t want to miss out on anything.
The cold beer was a big help and fueled our climb to the top of the hill. Magnificent views awaited over the red-tiled rooftops of Prague. Simply fantastic and well worth the extra exertion in the mid-day heat.
Later, we had dinner on the square and enjoyed our last night of people-watching before attempting to find a fun bar or club to end the evening. The one we found was filled with drunk 18 year-olds so we gave it a pass.
Next door to the club, however, was a restaurant right on the water with a stunning nighttime view of the Charles Bridge and the castle aglow with lights. We sat there for a while enjoying the view and had one last glass of wine before heading back to the hotel.
Sadly, the next day it was time for Shannon to head home and back to the real world.
That night I returned to the restaurant along the river to watch the sun set behind Prague Castle. It was a picture-perfect sunset and a great way to end this leg of the trip.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Dena and Shannon for joining me on the first 2 ½ weeks of this trip through Munich, Rome, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Budapest, and Poland.
They were both excellent travel buddies and are welcome to tag along on my trips anytime!
Now begins the final leg of the trip, Scandinavia, which I will conquer in my usual solo fashion.
Next stop, Helsinki…