I got to spend a few days in my hometown, catching up with my family, my friends, my cats, and with cheese and wine (joke). But it is now time to say goodbye for a new adventure! 😉 Prague - Dresden - Berlin! Three new cities on my list (and one new country)!
We are extremely lucky to discover Prague under a beautiful blue sky! On Saturday morning, we went for a walk in the old town, on the East side of Vitava river. We were amazed by the pretty architecture.
We quickly reached the impressive Old Town Square, the oldest square of the historic centre, with its famous astronomical clock. The Pražský orloj (in Czech) was installed in 1410 and is still operating! 😀
The astronomical clock is located on the Town Hall. We noticed some people at the top of the building, and decided to get some tickets to enjoy the panoramic view as well. Good news... check the tip section! 😉
What a view! 😀 Time for lunch now. We stopped at the terrace of the Prince U Hotel to enjoy some delicious cocktails, some good food, some comfy seats, and a beautiful view for at least an hour.
Our next stop is a bit... questionable. But, before that, we took a few tourist pictures! 😉
Did I say questionable? Hmm. We visited the Sex Machines Museum! It was indeed a bit dodgy... I forgot the accurate price of the entrance (around 100 for students and 200 for adults), does not really worth it.
Let's forget this and eat a Trdelnik! Do not ask me how to pronounce this. It is a kind of spit cake that one can find everywhere in the city. The classic one (see on the picture) is made with cinnamon and costs Kc 60. They can also be filled in with ice cream and then cost around Kc 120.
Next step? The world famous Charles Bridge (Karlův most in Czech), established in the 14th century by Charles IV! It is 621 metres long and 10 metres wide, and is nowadays pedestrian and full of tourists.
L'autre côté de la ville (Mala Strana) est différente en architecture mais également très jolie et très vivante. Nous avons donc continué notre promenade sous un beau soleil, avec quelques pauses. Wait, I have just noticed I used the wrong language in my last sentence haha sorry! 😉 Channel fail. Anyways. Une image vaut mieux que mille mots, comme on dit dans mon pays... See in pictures the other side!
We started to notice a big building and thought it was the Prague Castle (we discovered the next day it was not lol). We thus decided to walk towards it, and we enjoyed an amazing view on the city.
Arrived at the top, we discovered a restaurant called, with reason +++, Bella Vista. We had dinner there. Note their Czech rosé is absolutely disgusting, I did not even finished my glass! 😉
After our dinner, we took the tramway to go back all the way down, and to cross the river. Note there are some great public transport passes in Prague. We bought a 72-hour unlimited ticket for Ck 310! 😀 We then enjoyed the view on Charles Bridge, listened to some life music, and headed back to our hostel.
Dobrá noc Praha! Good night Prague! Come back later for more travel stories and pics! 😀
I kind of slept in on Sunday morning - I woke up at 10.30! 😉 Emilie did not want to wake me up lol. For our second day in the city, we decided to start with the Strahov library and the castle (the real one, this time), both on the other side of the river. We took the tramway to get there. When we reached the library, it was already 11.45am, and visits stopped for lunchtime. We went for a brunch at a good restaurant, Sv. Norbert.
Strahov Library is the largest monastic library in Czech Republic, with two magnificent baroque halls dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. You can peek through the doors but, sadly, you cannot go into the halls themselves – it was found that fluctuations in humidity caused by visitors’ breath was endangering the frescoes. Entrance ticket costs Ck 120 for adults and 60 Ck for students. Photo permission costs extra Ck 50.
Our next step is the castle area! Impressive, UNESCO monument with a tradition of more 1000 years.
We did not enter the castle (expensive and long queue) but definitely enjoyed its outdoors. As we walked down towards the tramway, we also discovered some great points of view on the beautiful city of Prague.
Once on "our" side of the river, we went back to the terrace of the U Prince Hotel for a delicious Ferrero Rocher ice cream. Gourmandes, nous ? Non ! 😉 Then, we separated as Emilie wanted to go to the torture museum and I wanted to discover the John Lennon wall. Since the 1980s, this normal wall has been filled with Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from The Beatles' songs.
We spent the evening at our hostel, where we tried (failed) to take a final selfie... 😉
I reached Dresden around noon and took the tramway (a single ticket costs €2.40) towards Neustadt (the area of my hostel). I bought a salad and some watermelon in a shop and had lunch in the Alaunplatz Park. After checking in my hostel and dropping my backpack, I got ready to explore the city! 😀
I got a city bike with... backpedal brake. My plan: be super careful - as you may know, I have a love story with bike accidents and other clumsy stuff lol. Conclusion: I survived! 😉
I started to cycle back towards the Old Town area, and stopped for a few pictures on the way.
On the other side of the bridge, I discovered the Theaterplatz, the most important square of Dresden when talking about history of architecture. It is surrounded by a rich in contrast conglomerate, composed of the architectural styles Baroque, Renaissance and Classicism.
On this square can be found the Zwinger Palace. The art gallery was closed today (Monday), however, we could still visit its impressive outdoors. The sun hit very hard this afternoon (around 30-32 degrees), I thus tried to look for shade - and I really wish I brought my Crédit Agricole 72 cap! 😉
After my visit, I kept on walking and cycling around the old town, impressed by the architecture.
I ended up in front of the massive Frauenkirche, a Lutheran church. Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed in the bombing of Dresden during WW2. It was rebuilt after the reunification of Germany.
Time for a snack/drink/Wi-Fi/toilet break... at McDonald's! 😉 As soon as I felt renewed, I got back on my horse and cycled back to the Elbe river and to Neustadt, the place to be for graffiti and other street art.
Time for a chill evening/night! Heading to Berlin tomorrow. Stay posted! 😀 Tschüß!
I forgot to talk to you about my feelings. I will start with Dresden as this is fresher in my mind. At the beginning, I had mixed feelings about the place, as it looked pretty empty after busy Prague, and less beautiful / less clean. But I very quickly discovered and enjoyed the unique charm of this city... Not many tourists but a lot of students. People with tattoos and piercings and dreadlocks, dressed in a Boheme/hippie way. People enjoying life in parks, playing music, reading books, drinking beers. A relaxed and unique atmosphere. So different from the Chinese lifestyle, which I do not get. I love this city. Also, everyone seems friendly, from the hostel staff to the shop vendors to random people saying Hallo or Morgen in the streets. My friend Victor (coucou Victor) told me he would describe Berlin with one word: tolerance. I believe Dresden is similar. Let's see! 😀 What about Prague? Well, I think I can say that both Emilie and I fell in love with the Czech capital! The weather and great company probably helped! ;) An amazing architecture; a city full of surprises. However, now that I think about it, waiters and other shop staff were not friendly - at all.
Last night, I booked a Flixbus from Dresden to Berlin for €10. Departure was expected at 11.30am, so I went to the coach station right after my breakfast. I was supposed to reach Berlin at 1.30pm, thus my hotel around 2pm. However, the coach was delayed by an hour, and I had then some trouble to understand the tramway/train system. I thus made it to Dahlem (South West of Berlin) around 3.30pm. My first plan was to stay in my hotel and prepare my presentation for tomorrow morning (QoMEX conference)... But I discovered that Berlin Botanischer Garten was only 4 stops away from me! 😀 The presentation will have to wait... #Priorities!
Okay, time to work now! 😉
When I got up this morning (quite late, to be honest! 😉), the sky was grey and a strong wind was blowing on the city. I thus decided to start my tour by some indoors activities, and headed to the DDR Museum.
No improvement with the weather, let's continue with indoor visits! Good news, the Berliner Dom, which was on my bucket list, is located opposite the DDR museum (only need to cross the Spree river).
350 steps later...
Lunch and break time. The sun is coming back!
Another thing on my bucket list: the East Side Gallery (yes, I do like street art).
For those of missed history classes (or for the Chinese - I am not being mean, but they do not have Google)...
I finished my afternoon walking around the Reichstag and the massive Großer Tiergarten, a 210 hectare park.
According to my phone, I walked 8.8 kilometres today. No wonder why I feel a little sleepy! 😉 And to that need to be added the 350 steps of the cathedral, and the steps of the subway. Series and bed time now!
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