We're coming to CR ... rookie tips appreciated?

Discussion in 'Travel Tips & Advice' started by Reverend Cindy, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. I love this site! It is so full of great information. I won, yes won, a trip to Prague and my husband and I are coming April 21st through 25th. We are staying at the Palace Praha Hotel. I've been to Germany once 10 years ago, my husband has never been to Europe. So this is a BIG deal to us.

    From the locals, what should we not miss? And where is the inexpensive shopping? I know tourist areas usually have higher prices, but if you can get out of that and into where the residents shop it is less expensive.

    Also, we have a four-year old and a three-year old. We've not left them this long before. How much is it going to cost me to call them in the USA for 5 minutes while I'm there? :shock:

    Anything that can be offered about our first trip there will be appreciated. I have already started a file and printed about half of the site :lol: So I can study it on the plane.
  2. Me again. We were told about the bone church at Sedlec, but I can't figure out how far that is from Prage ... or how to get there. Can someone please help. Thanks much!
  3. fabik317

    fabik317 Well-Known Member

    Sedlec is an outskirt of Pardubice which is (according to wikipedia) 104km (65 miles) east of Prague. The town of Pardubice lies one of the major railway routes it's very easily accessible by train although bus connection is also available.

    Good choice btw, it's been a long time since someone mentioned the ossuary around here, how did you get the inspiration?
  4. Thanks for the info. It looks like we could do the ossuary in a half day trip. A friend of my husband had seen a documentary on our cable television History Channel about it. When he found out we were going to Prague he mentioned we should find it. I found some more detailed information, and even the official site for the church. It's really strange from an American point of view, but I think very worth taking a few hours to go see.

    We (Americans) have such a young history that I can't wait to see all of the things that existed 100's of years before civilization hit the Americas.
  5. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

  6. fabik317

    fabik317 Well-Known Member

    I'm very sorry - for some reason I wrote that Sedlec is in Pardubice but in fact it is in Kutna Hora - the town is more or less in the same region but the train/bus connection may not be as direct as I thought.
  7. SMZ

    SMZ Well-Known Member

    Hi, Rev!

    I would suggest that if you want to see the Ossuary you take a half-day tour with one of the local companies. It's relatively inexpensive and you don't have to deal with figuring out bus schedules or worrying about missing a connection. Also, on the same trip you'll get to see the mint (I found this part of the tour really fascinating) and St. Barbara's, which is simply gorgeous. Finally, you'll get some commentary about the sites, rather than just walking around wondering what the heck you're looking at.

    As far as shopping, it really depends on what you want to purchase. If you're looking for souvenir-type stuff (glassware, garnet or amber jewelry, tee-shirts/sweatshirts) then you'll find decent prices and good selection in any of the touristy areas (Old Town Square, Wenceslaus Square, etc.). The prices are actually kept somewhat competitive by the fact that there are so many shops in each area, so you won't find huge variability in prices, from what I've seen. Two of my step-daughters just left here after a week-long visit, and we selected the shop to purchase from based on the lack of ear-splitting music blasting from the stereo, unlike several other places. :D (An aside: Many of the shops appear to be owned and/or run by Arabs... even those selling beautiful crystal menorahs and similar items in the Jewish area, which I found quite... um, surprising.)

    Regarding the telephone calls, I can't tell you how much it will cost, but you may want to consider dropping in to an internet cafe that offers Skype calls. I think the Bohemia Bagle near Dlouha does this, and it's cheaper than calling from a "regular" phone.

    If the weather is nice, I think the ride up Petrin Hill on the funicular is nice and the view from the top of the tower (299 steps up!) is terrific. I would suggest walking down the hill on one of the many paths that wind through the park, rather than riding down. If you want to take a break, there are two restaurants in the park that have stunning views of the city. Both are about halfway up (or down) the hill.

    Hope you find this helpful!

  8. frosken

    frosken Member

    Hi Rev,

    I actually just got back on Saturday from Prague...

    Ossuary: I actually passed right next to it last week. We wanted to visit Kutna Hora, more specificly its Gothic Cathedral. Unfortunately, we missed our train to Kutna Hora in the morning (by ONE minute) and we has to wait over 2 hours to catch the next one...by the time we got to the cathedral (by bus and walking a bit), it was 3:58pm and it was closing at 4:00. We decided to head back to the train station and waited some more.

    It is WAY cheaper to plan your own trip to Kutna Hora (train ticket was about 6US one-way!), but an organized tour would have saved us some trouble. It is a 1-hour train ride and you may need to switch trains in Kolin. The Kutna Hora train station is actually in Sedlec...you can either take the city bus to go to the ossuary or walk for about 10-15 minutes.

    Another day-trip that could be interesting is Cesky Krumlov. It is a 3-hour bus ride (or 3-4 hour train ride) to get there, but the beauty of the town and castle make the trip worthwhile. The only 'pet peeve' we had is that we didn't know that the castle's interior is closed in March. We were able to check out the 'outside' (still a pretty site!) and visit a 400 year old brewery (Eggenberg).

    For souvenirs, you have 2 options: either the near-hundred tourist shops in the main square-Josefov-Charles bridge area, or for even better prices, there's a flea market near the Florenc bus station. Although we were disappointed in the selection last week (not many booths open...and the weather wasn't too nice either), 2 years ago we saved quite a bit of coin on the 'touristy t-shirts, soccer shirts and coffee mugs' compared to the tourist shops in town. Most (if not all) booths are owned by asians.

    If the prices don't change next month, you can get a t-shirt for about 8USD, a sweatshirt for less than 20USD (shop the sweatshirts).

    There are many things to check out in Prague...we spent 5 full days there and we didn't see everything that we wanted to check out. Some of the 'musts' (in my book) are:

    - Charles Bridge (climb the stairs in the bridge tower to check out the view!)
    - Prague castle
    - Main square
    - Vysherad castle (really nice!!! not as touristy and for a real treat, go to the brick gate and visit the casemates...and see 6 of the Charles Bridge's original statues..)

    - the main square (Astronomical clock is really cool!)

    I also suggest that one day, you keep your city map in your pocket and 'get lost' in the Stare Mesto and Nove mesto areas...you never know what you'll find on the next corner...we found a great place for lunch and 2 yrs ago a church that had incredible detailed artwork and sculptures that we didn't even see in the guidebooks!

    Hope this helps!

  9. WOW :!: So much great information. :D We are going to plan on taking a guided tour to Kutna Hora and the Bone Church. And I love all the information on the places to be sure to see. It helps to have an insiders view when it is so out of our realm of knowledge. :wink:

    I've also been reading through the language section. It's very helpful. Especially the pronunciation area. Knowing how to pronounce the words makes it easier to read them and tell people where we want to go.

    28 DAYS AND COUNTING :mrgreen:
  10. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    I completely agree with you, even I as a native Czech living in Prague sometimes do this. Just start at Oldtown Square and go, don't look at the sign with name of the street and don't look at the map. Sometimes you'll find VERY nice things. You don't have to walk long time, just do it for an hour or two. Actually today I had free hour between my school lessons and because my school is near Oldtown Square I decided go to the Oldtown Square and then just walk. Not knowing where I am and where the next street takes me. Unfortunately sometimes you find messy and dirty street.
  11. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Cindi, if you are interested in seeing churches..... You will go absolutely WILD in Prague with no need to travel anywhere else. Most of them are free and they are just spectacular! Don't plan/reserve any trips before you get there. It is no problem to get the tour after you arrive.

    If you don't have travel experience in Europe, you will see the most beautirul city you have ever seen.............just walking without any destination as mentioned above ....is fantastic.

    If you are planning on more than walking get Metro Pass at the airpport for few days, get on street-car to rest your footsies...take no.22 to the Prague Castle area and hold on to your purse (pickpackets!). Perfect all day long outing.
    You will have a great time.
  12. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Cindy, I just noticed that you are in Prague for incredibly short time. I think it would be real pitty, if you would plan to travel out of the Prague. You will hardly have time to see major sights. You will actually have to spead up a little to take in what you shouldn't miss.

    I will be in Prague at that time and plan on getting out and about with visiting friend. If you are interested, you can join us for night walk, Czech traditional dinner or just quick orientation. PM me if interested.

    Of course, if there is anyone else to get out of hotel and join us, there is plenty of space on the sidewalk to walk with us.
  13. kitty46

    kitty46 Well-Known Member

    Hi Cindy, just wanted to tell you I live in Minnesota and will be going to Prague in a couple of weeks. A travel agent here told me the best way to call home is with my Sam's club calling card. I didn't know I could use it out of the country. You call the information number on the back and it gives you detailed instructions for calling the U.S. from the Czech Republic. I listened to it several times and wrote it down. I then asked how much it cost and it is 11 times the US rate per minute, so between 50 and 55 cents a minute. I don't personally belong to Sam's club, but a friend bought me my calling card several years ago, and now I just add minutes by phone and credit card.
  14. frosken

    frosken Member

    Although I didn't try it, to call back home, you can check those Internet cafes which will let you do phone calls to the US (Voice over IP...err...through the Internet for the non-techies) for a less than a dime a minute!

    Have a nice trip!


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