My mom always muses that when I plan something, there’s no changing my focus. I was humouring myself with those thoughts to get over the loss of our third pregnancy. For those who can relate, you can just imagine the hurt, anger and disappointment I felt with myself. I was wallowing in grief, confused but trying to keep strong for those who were concerned around me. Little did they know that I was showering in my own tears as I locked the bathroom door for those weeks. No choice but to move on with my chin up. I had my kids and husband to fend for and the sooner I healed myself, the better mending. Travel was always good for the soul. It was an escape and a recharge. And so within my two months Maternity Leave, I decided to get away ASAP.
Prague was an excuse to delight my senses. I was engrossed in research that I would sometimes forget my depression – especially the scenes from my induced labor I again had to bare for at least 20hours, only to meet a lifeless child. I just needed to flee. Even if it meant soul-searching alone. But my supportive husband was worried, he ended up leaving with me in a whim. It was good his colleagues were like family. In a way, they knew we both needed to heal.
Leave it to NAIA to create chaos and comedy. Our departure from Manila to Amsterdam was delayed by 2hours which left us dashing (while I was still recuperating from D&C) from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 to catch our flight to Prague. Our luggages of course didn’t make the sprint so we arrived at our destination with nothing but our outfits since we left and our hand carry. We had to use the Euro Sized bath towels as make shifts pajamas as I hand washed our clothes. How glamorous!
This upscale hotel is a 2-minute walk from a metro station, a 5-minute walk from Wenceslas Square and a 12-minute walk from Old Town Square. The modern rooms feature wood floors, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, as well as desks and living areas with sofas. Parking and a breakfast buffet are free. Additional amenities include a casual restaurant and a lobby bar serving snacks, as well as a gym, a sauna and a steam bath.
Nevertheless, our spirits were unfazed by this hiccup. We were determined to make the most of our trip one day at a time. Deciding to hail the positives so far, we first noted how happy we were with our hotel of choice. Falkensteiner Maria Prag along Opletalova Street was a strategic location. Conveniently close to Old Town but away from the buzz. Our rooms were comfortable and I really did like the chic interiors. Complimentary Breakfast was always excellent as well.
Day 1: Prague City and Palace Complex Walking Tour
Availing of an airport service also included a free walking tour around the city. We met our guide by the Astronomical Clock and spent a good 2.5hours learning about the city’s history and interesting trivia as we admired the sights around Old Town, Lesser Town, Jewish Quarters until we crossed the Charles Bridge to explore the famous Prague Castle Complex.
Prague Castle, founded around 880 AD, is the largest medieval castle in Europe and was once the seat of the Kings of Bohemia. Today, the President of the Czech Republic rules from here. And it is also Prague’s premier tourist attraction. Prague Castle is located in the Castle District (Hradčany), which is above the Lesser Town (Malá Strana). The Prague Castle complex covers over 7 hectares and is centred around three great courtyards. The dominant building within the complex, and the most recognisable landmark in the city, is St. Vitus Cathedral.
In the afternoon, we decided to savour more time around the Palace Complex with a cappuccino pitstop by one of the cafes relishing how people used to live in those Medieval times. We enjoyed the panoramic views by the Vltava River and headed down to the Church of our Lady Victorious in Mala Strana to pay homage to the Infant Jesus while inserting a little request that he send our luggages soon as well. It was of temporary relief to rummage through the posh Na Prikope Street. Did it mean, we should just shop for new clothes? (rolling my hands in delight) Well, after a bag of “necessities” that I was to file a refund for, we arrived at our lobby with a surprise. Finally! We could now move on with fresh clothes and toiletries!
Arriving on a Friday night while heading out the Tuesday after gave us an ideal time to discover the city and its surrounding areas. It was my intention to extend our stay as well, as the flights were cheaper mid week. Some discouraged that we might get bored, but the extra days were definitely worth it.
Day 2 – A Day trip to Karlstejn Castle. A monumental castle built by Emperor Charles IV to become a treasury of the crown jewels and holy relics.
The rest of Day 2 was at leisure around the city. A cold Pilsner Urquell at a local pub, another stroll along Na Prikope – shopping district, pleasant finds in a Sunday Flea Market, A Czech feast for dinner and revelling the party scene along Wenceslas Square with a Klobasy in hand.
Day 3 – Day Trip to Cesky Krumlov. A significant town in southern Bohemia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site composed of three hundred buildings from its historical center.
It was one of those trips that we felt we exhausted the place. That we could leave content, having experienced most of the highlights in this enchanting place. Should we not see Prague again, it would be fine, as our senses were filled to the brim.