Roadtrip Around Germany – Part 3 (CZ) Prague, The Golden City

Through the wild “Western Transsylvania”

Saturday, 01.08.2015

The best thing about a VW-bus trip is the uncertainty. We have plenty of time, we liked the tiny tip of Czech Republic we’ve seen so far, and since we saw a signpost indicating Prague only being a 100 kilometers further inland some days ago, we spontaneously decide to do a short detour to the country’s capital with all the great beer.

Since motorways are toll roads in Czech Republic, we pave our way along small rural roads through areas where time seems to have stopped a hundred years ago.


Horni Vidim

Google maps shows a scenic place along our route which we want to explore. Unfortunately no single signpost indicates the correct direction, and to top it all a crucial road is closed. Thus we continue towards Prague until we come across a signpost which we spontaneously follow.


Treehouse? No, house tree.

Of course this road leads us once again into more or less nowhere, apart from the small hamlet of Horni Vidim, which consists of a castle-like building, two churches and some few houses.


Vidim castle

We park the Didimobile and just want to take some photos when we come to the castle’s archway. Here an elderly man addresses us and indicates us to enter. It seems as if this man has been working here as a gatekeeper for decades, and he does not speak any German or English, only Czech.


Horni Vidim

The “castle” turns out to be some kind of retirement home, maybe even a home for people suffering from dementia. In former days it must have been a castle though, with a massive, enchanted and overgrown garden where ancient statues spread a breath of Greece.


Former castle garden

We spend nearly an hour here and bring a smile to the faces of some elderly people. They do not speak much, but having two young tourists from faraway countries who are interested in their site must be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them.

From Horni Vidim it is not far to Prague. We pave our way through the city maze and finally arrive at a campsite which lies at the end of a roughly two kilometres long peninsula in the middle of the Elbe Moldova river. During daytime, there is a small “ferry” linking the campsite to the opposite side of the Moldova river, at night it is a fair 30 minute walk from the nearest metro station.


Public ferry

It is only early afternoon, so we set off for a first exploration of the Czech metropolis. Along the banks of river Moldova we stroll towards Charles’ Bridge.


Paddle steamer café

On the water there are all kinds of leisure captains, mainly pedalos in all shapes and colours. On another Moldova island there is an open air concert and somehow the whole city seems to be out and about.


Pedalos everywhere

Unfortunately, Charles’ Bridge turns out to be completely overrun by tourists, just like a mix of Oktoberfest and Disneyland. It must be really beautiful here in low season, but we make sure to flee the hurly-burly and try to find the old town, which is not actually easy in Prague.


Hordes of tourists on Charles’ Bridge



But even the old town swarms with people, horse-drawn carriages and old-fashioned looking cars. Even the Grim Reaper is having difficulties in maintaining order. 😉


Grim Reaper


Old-fashioned looking cars

After this first impression we decide to have some dinner outside the main tourist hotspot. First of all it is rather difficult to find a free seat in any restaurant in the city center and secondly, prices are remarkably cheaper outside the busy center.


View over Moldova river from Palackeho-Square

Not tired yet we head back into the city which has become emptier by now and let the evening die away with a tasty beer at Wenceslas Square.


Wenceslas Square at night

By metro we head back to the campsite, and since it is still  pleasantly warm outside and not a single taxi in sight, the half-hourly evening walk to the campsite provides for the necessary tiredness.

Old Town or Ancient City?

Sunday, 02.08.2015

In a good mood we head back into the hurly-burly of the metropolis. First, we start the day at the city’s town hall with the undefinable Astronomical Clock. Under no circumstances are we able to find out what time it is, but on a holiday, “time” is nevertheless defined somehow different from home.


Prague Astronomical Clock

For a small entrance fee it is possible to climb the town hall tower. From there you have a great view over the (Old?) town where we still so not know where exactly it shall be. Old are nearly all the houses in Prague, and in an outstanding state of restauration as well.


Square in front of the old town hall from street level…


… and from atop the town hall tower.


Gallery on the town hall tower

Church of Mother of God before Týn

Church of Mother of God before Týn (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem)

From the town hall tower we can clearly see the Hradčany, the Prague Castle, on the other side of the Moldova. We haven’t been there yesterday, so off we go! 🙂



On the way to Hradčany we come along Wallenstein Palace, which today hosts the Senate of the Czech Republik. Actually we wanted to take the funicular up to Petrin Hill, but since the queue is enormous we pretend to be sporty and climb the 327m high city hill on our own.


Wallenstein Palace

Owl on Petrin Hill

Owl on Petrin Hill

The actual attraction on Petrin Hill is a kind of replica of the Paris Eiffel Tower. Josha cannot wait to climb up there to enjoy the view over Prague, due to my fear of heights I rather stay down and enjoy an ice-cream.


Eiffel Tower in Prague

The neighbouring park is quite busy, many families with children make the most of the lovely weather and have a picknick. A bubble artist pleases the children with enormous bubbles. ♥


Bubble man

Directly beneath Petrin Hill lies the German embassy, a place full of history. In 1989, more than 5,000 residents of the GDR found refuge there, and former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher announced their approved departure towards Western Germany from the embassy’s balcony.


German embassy with “Genscher-Balkony”

It is not far from the German embassy to Hradčany, the Castle District. Through small old town alleys (no, the “real” Old Town is said to be on the other side of the Moldova) we walk up to the former castle complex.


Uphill to the castle

The castle complex with the enormous cathedral in its center is really impressive. Unfortunaltely it slightly starts to rain, and the cathedral itself is not actually photogenic due to the limitation of space here and the sheer impressive size. 🙁

As the evening nears we walk back towards Wenceslas Square, find a relatively affordable Italian restaurant where we have dinner and let the rest of the day pass by with a beer at the banks of river Moldova.


Selfie-mirror. 😉

Definitely, Prague will see us again one day, for me it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But if we come back then only in spring or autumn, when the roads and squares are not as overcrowded as in high season in summer.