10 June 2003 - On a train in the Prague suburbs
Prague Castle

The most visible point of the Prague landscape is its castle. Like most castles, it sits on a hill and can be seen from most parts of town as long as there are no buildings in the way.

The walk up to the castle is pretty enjoyable, despite it being up a fairly steep hill in places. It's got something to do with all the shops that line the road up, making it a pleasant experience, rather than a slog. Admittedly, there was one portion where all I could see were steps disappearing into the distance, but I need the exercise anyway.

When I was walking up the Buda hills, at one point, I was doubting my sanity. In Prague, I thought, "What a pleasant walk". Being in a nice town makes all the difference, I guess.

The castle complex itself is a network of buildings connected by cobbled pathways (not to dissimilar to the centre of Prague). You can wander outside the buildings for free, but you need a ticket to get inside.

The tickets aren't that cheap. The one that lets you into all of them costs CKR220 (about RM25). There are various other types that let you into fewer buildings, at marginally smaller prices. The strategy, I guess, is to make you think that there's not that much difference in price between them, so you go for the most expensive one.

To be honest, I regret slightly buying the ticket. CKR220 buys you a good lunch (although I would have probably spent it on a t-shirt) and apart from the main chapel, everything else is basically just stones with stuff in Czech written to explain them. Would I have gotten better value from a guide? Maybe, but the guides I overlistened not-quite-by-accident to were not incredibly interesting. If you want to know who built what when, fine. But I'm at a stage where I'm interested in the whys of history and not the whats.

Probably the most disapppointing was Golden Lane. I had to pay money to go into a narrow alleyway lined with souvenier shops? Something I definitely didn't get there. There was a tower/building at what end, but it was so overflowing with tourists that I gave it a miss. Perhaps that's what all the fuss was about.

Anyway, perhaps I didn't look at things properly, and it may have helped if I had gotten a guide, but the next time I'm in Prague, I'll spend more time wandering the streets and less time inside.

posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - permalink
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