My Top Five of the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic! What an awesome country; beautiful, rich in history and culture, and we can’t forget the great beer! It was tough to narrow down my Top Five favourite things/places in Czech because we had so much fun. I didn’t even want to start delving into how much I loved the food and beer, because that would never end. But I did my best, so without further ado, my Top Five of Czech!
Predictable as a first choice, but what can I say? I love Prague! It’s an incredible city! I can’t say enough amazing things about it. It’s gorgeous, the public transport is great, the people are friendly, and it’s so alive! Walking along St. Charles Bridge is a must, especially in the evening because it looks magical in the setting sun. St. Vitus Cathedral was my favourite part of visiting Prague Castle, the stained glass windows are mesmerizing and I really liked detailing on the outside as well. Try a free tour, we really enjoyed ours and with such an old city your guide is bound to have loads of great stories to share.
The Drinking Cure, Karlovy Vary
We had so much fun exploring Karlovy Vary while doing the drinking cure. Whether or not you believe you’re gaining something extra from the (gross-tasting) geothermal spring waters, a little hydration and light exercise never did anyone any harm. It was a bit tricky to find information online or at the Tourist Office about exactly where all the fountains were (there was a large map in the Tourist Office, but no takeaway ones), but the majority are easy-to-find along the main walking street beside the Blatenský Canal (we easily visited 11 in an afternoon). Finding the different fountains will take you to beautiful promenades, colonnades, and gazebos while giving you a relaxed little tour of Karlovy Vary. Kiosks selling drinking cups in every shape you can think of are all along the street, so grab a cup and fill er’ up!
Sedlec Ossuary, Kutna Hora
The Sedlec Ossuary, aka the Bone Chapel, is as creepy as it is cool. I mentioned the history in ” A Family Adventure in Czech!” but the gist is after an abbot returned to Sedlec with “Holy Soil” suddenly everyone wanted to be buried at the Sedlec chapel. By 1870, the build-up of bones had reached a point where a woodcarver named Frantisek Rint was appointed to find a solution. His solution? A creepy, creative masterpiece of a chapel, complete with chandeliers and a coat-of-arms made from human bones. An easy train ride from Prague, so don’t miss out!
Cathedral of St. Barbara, Kutna Hora
This was another great area in Kutna Hora, Cathedral of St. Barbara and the surroundings. A short bus ride from the Sedlec Ossuary will drop you off near the front of this beautiful cathedral. The ceiling is full of small paintings which I felt gave this pretty, whimsical effect that I liked. After exploring inside the church, check out the views of the valley behind it (including a carved face of Jaroslav Vrchlický in the hillside!). Then finish your afternoon on the cobbled promenade lined with statues leading away from the cathedral and back into town.
Loket Castle, Loket
Loket is a beautiful little town set in an oxbow with the funniest little castle we have visited to date. From the exterior, the castle is pretty, perched up on a hill overlooking the town. Walking inside, it was as though all the people in charge of setting up displays had their own ideas on how to make the tourists love the castle, but were so excited they forgot to tell each other. In the basement of the tower there’s a dragon! Though we weren’t quite sure why it was there, it was still fun because it had glowing red eyes. Next, you have the cheesy/gruesome torture museum. Imagine that after walking through a graphic (well, as graphic as animatronics and old plaster models can be) series of displays, you find yourself coming across one last room, but it’s totally dark and there are no signs. How strange, you think to yourself, maybe there’s nothing in it? You decide to turn your camera flash on and take a picture to check. BAM you have been scarred for life as the most disturbing display yet jumps out at you in the brief flash of light. Heading down the stairs, you come to an area that seems as though it was meant to be kept closed to the public, but someone forgot to put up a sign (again). The steep steps are dark and the ceiling is low. Exploring, you casually look through the cell windows you are passing by, UNTIL SUDDENLY YOU SEE THE MOST TERRIFYING HOBBIT-CREATURE EVER STARING AT YOU THROUGH THE WINDOW AND YOU ALMOST DIE. You get the gist. This castle was fun to wander through, and I bet we didn’t manage to find all of the surprises that it had tucked away.