Prague

Ten years ago I visited Prague for the first time. It was an exciting trip - I was abroad on my own , without my parents for the first time. I don’t remember too much except for the fact the food was great.

Since we moved to Paris, I was a bit sceptical of Prague: it’s so popular among Russian tourists, a company that I don’t enjoy too much; besides, what’s so interesting about Eastern Europe anyway? What an idiot I was.

We finally went there for Anna’s birthday. It was absolutely awesome. We were mostly doing the standard tourist stuff - sightseeing, walking, eating way too much. I’m not gonna bore you with the details, but here are the main highlights that are not the obvious tourist attractions:

  • Elixir Mystery Escape Game is probably the best escape game I’ve ever been to.

  • Museum Kampa has a pretty nice collection of modern art, and had a great temporary exhibition “Office for eyes, nose, mask, tongue, heart, hand and mouth”.

  • Konírna had some of the best food we had in the town, surpassing, in my opinion, even the excellent U Pravdů

  • Pedal boating on Vltava was an amazing experience. We took a regular pedal boat and soon realized we could’ve walked a bit further and gotten a much cooler swan-shaped boat.

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This was clearly not a photography trip - I tried to spend as much quality time with Anna and our friends as possible, so I packed a fairly minimal kit of RX1R II and a FlashQ Q20.

I always worry if I won’t be able to get the shot when I pack small like this, but I gradually learn to put more trust into the “pocket rocket” that the RX1R II is.

Once again I was impressed with how much variety in shots I could get with just a fixed lens, a flash, a panorama stitcher software and a high resolution sensor.

They went over the top with the black pepper, but otherwise it was an excellent shawarma.

They went over the top with the black pepper, but otherwise it was an excellent shawarma.

We had quite a bit of fun with the compact off-camera flash - no regrets there!

We lived right next to the Manifesto market. It’s a hip food market with a dozen of food stands.

We tried the mini pancakes (pretty good!), the shawarma station (too much pepper, but otherwise good), the ice cream stand (service is a bit slow, but worth the wait) and the cocktails (not bad at all).

The ice cream was worth the wait.

The ice cream was worth the wait.

Overall, this place is worth the visit if you’re in the area and are hungry for some street food, but not much of a tourist attraction in itself.

We visited the Jewish quarter, where in the Spanish Synagogue you can find a beautiful interior but also historical photographs telling you the story of the Jewish community in Czechoslovakia and specifically in Prague.

One of the things that amazed me in Prague is just how much open space there is. The streets and the sidewalks are wide, and you don’t feel claustrophobic with a wide river and big green spaces all around. You really don’t need to go that far to get to a nice park, with no buildings towering above the trees wherever you look. There is something very human about this. It’s just easier to breathe than in London or Paris or New York, where the city spans many kilometers around the city center.

Pretty nice view from Letna Park!

Pretty nice view from Letna Park!

An improvised photo shoot using a FlashQ off camera.

An improvised photo shoot using a FlashQ off camera.

In Letna park, located on a hill, we enjoyed the view of the city. There is a funny Stalin bar that stands on the place where a Stalin statue once was - it played some very loud techno music :)

There are many pubs in Prague, and it was a pleasure to come back home and have a well deserved pint of cold, light liquid bread.

Enjoying a pint after a long day of sightseeing

Enjoying a pint after a long day of sightseeing

The pedal boat was a surprisingly great experience. Would totally do this again!

We spent almost a full day in the botanical garden. Of course we came on the one day of the week when the greenhouses were closed, but the park is absolutely worth a visit by itself.

Thank you, dear friend, for your unlimited patience.

Thank you, dear friend, for your unlimited patience.

Of course having a flash in my bag led to a bunch of experimental pics. Most of them are the flowers in the carousel above, but we had this impromptu photo session in a huge hollow stump. Turns out, tiny radio triggers don’t work so well through 20cm of wood. I’m happy with this result though :D

On the last day we went to Vyšehrad - I’ve seen the castle on our way from the airport, and I thought we just had to go. It offers a beautiful view of the city, and the St Lawrence Basilica is phenomenal.

I have to say that the public transportation system is awesome in Prague. The Soviet-era metro is clean, quick and efficient; the buses and trams run on schedule, and it’s extremely easy to go around.

This is a vertical panorama of three images. The golden hour sun peaks from the clouds and hits the church for extra dramatic effect.

This is a vertical panorama of three images. The golden hour sun peaks from the clouds and hits the church for extra dramatic effect.

So in conclusion, this was a great trip, and Prague is a fantastic city. I will definitely go there again, once I’m done losing all the weight I gained in Prague’s delicious restaurants. Even the Game of Thrones e05s08 couldn’t make it a poor experience.

Happy Birthday, Anna! Thank you for regularly bringing us together with our friends :)

Already looking forward to seeing you next year!

Already looking forward to seeing you next year!