The Czech Republic is interesting! The standard greeting is "Ahoy" as if they are pirates, but the country is actually landlocked. In fact, water is so scarce that it's cheaper to buy beer.
I went without anything planned but joined an AirBnB experiences walking tour, made some friends, and learned a lot about the city that I otherwise wouldn't have known.
Prague and the rest of the Czech Republic have a very colorful history and have prioritized the preseveration and restoration of their historical architecture. I love Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
The coolest architecture in Prague is OLD
- Prague Castle (870)
- St Vitus Cathedral (930)
- Charles Bridge (1357)
- Astronomical Clock (1410)
Prague Modern History
On top of the Renaissance influence, Prague was taken control of by the Third Reich and then the Soviet Union in the 19th century as part of World War 2. The soviet brutalist architecture influence is apparent in government buildings and the Jewish Quarter is lined with history and stories of Hitler's atrocities.
It was my first time being so physically close to the European side of WW2 atrocities. I've read about them in books and seen them in movies, but it is bone chilling to be on a street where those events occured less than a century ago. It's emotionally heavy in a way that I've experienced only with the 9/11 Memorial in NYC and the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.
Karlovy Vary is a spa town a few hours west of Prague by bus or train.
Casino Royale and The Grand Budapest Hotel are two of my favorite films of all time and both of them have scenes shot in (or inspired by) Grand Hotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary.
Unfortunately, the hotel was setting up for a secret Forbes 500 CEO party and I wasn't able to get any good pics or see any Forbes 500 CEO's.
Fortunately, Karlovy Vary was in prime fall foliage. Taking a lift up to Diana Tower and seeing leaves fall in the wind was one of the more magical experiences I've witnessed.
I booked a drive from Prague to Hallstatt and stopped here for a few hours on the way down. This is a beautiful and historic village with an awesome castle. I really enjoyed wandering the castle and the gardens but can't say much else about it.
- Karlos, the San Diego solo traveler I met on the walking tour who joined up for a trip to Karlovy Vary
- Monika, for being a kind host at the Prague international meetup.com gathering
- Cooper, Max, and Phillip. Prague locals and cocktail afficionados that took me around different cocktail bars