When I flew into Prague in spring 2015, I was drawn to it for its reputation as having a magical combination of wonderfully well preserved architecture in its historic Old Town, but otherwise wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. It was just one of those destinations that “spoke” to me. To say that I was blown away would be a major freaking understatement! If you love history, architecture and food as much as I do…buckle up, Prague does not disappoint.
I had the opportunity to stay in a wonderful boutique hotel, The Iron Gate Hotel, which is just around the corner from Prague’s historic Old Town Square, the world famous Astronomical Clock, and within walking distance of just about anywhere you want to be. Think modern boutique luxury in a stunningly preserved 14th century building. My suite had carefully preserved hand painted ceiling beams and partially exposed fresco’s, juxtaposed against beautiful modern furniture, colorful accents, a large bathroom with soaker tub and thoughtful touches throughout. A treat not to be missed!
Once ensconced in Old Town, you feel as though you have somehow slid back through time, or perhaps journeyed to a place outside of time. I was awestruck by how incredibly intact the marvelous mix of architecture still is, ranging from Romanesque and Gothic, to Baroque and Art Nouveau, with everything in-between. That coupled with the street performers, markets and traditional food create a special sense of place, one that is distinctly Prague. While strolling the cobbled streets soaking in the atmosphere, I paused to watch a magician do a trick for a young girl on the steps of Prague castle, and couldn’t help but feel like I was in the midst of a fairy tale or fable of old.
Even the early spring weather during my stay, mostly grey and misty somehow seemed fitting, adding another ethereal layer of mystery. As I sipped hot mulled wine in Old Town Square while taking in the Easter Market, the unmistakable scent of wood burning fire hanging in the air as twilight settled in, I decided a return visit would be a must. My return will not be in late spring or autumn, which is when most travel guides would recommend, but in December.
After my first visit in springs earliest days, I now crave to further experience this beautiful city in the seemingly eternal dusk of winter. There is something magical about the thought of exploring the twisting cobbled streets bundled up against the elements, or warming myself with hot wine while shopping a Christmas Market lit by millions of twinkling lights, perhaps reflecting on my travels in a cozy restaurant with a soul warming meal of roast duck, braised cabbage and dumplings, or happily tucked away beside a roaring fire with a drink and my dreams. Prague has cast its spell, and I am powerless to resist the call to return.
Note: These pictures were taken with a less then spectacular phone camera during my visit in 2015, so they are not high quality but represent a few vignettes of old Prague through my eyes. Enjoy,