Morning in Hilton Vienna Danube Hotel
We woke up pretty early and found the streets a little wet. There were some light rains overnight. Our bus to Prague was at 8.55 am. The terminal is about 10 minutes walk away from Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront Hotel. So it wasn’t an extremely early morning bus ride and hence we had a relaxing simple breakfast before checking out of Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront Hotel. Our breakfast was the carrot cake and muffins we bought the day before and the coffee and tea we made on our own.
After freshening up, we went to the lobby to check out our room and then left Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront Hotel. We really enjoyed this hotel which was very comfortable and convenient for our purpose. Getting from the airport to Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront Hotel yesterday was very easy. Going to the bus station to catch a bus ride to Prague this morning was even easier within walking distance to the bus station nearby.
Heading to Stadion Bus Station
We reached Stadion Centre quite easily but along the way, there were police stationed at traffic junctions controlling traffic. Apparently, there was some sports event taking place this morning. There were quite a lot of people outside the stadium. We were still early so we went into the mall to check out what was there. Unfortunately, nothing was open. There were some people inside the mall waiting and also to use the washrooms in the mall. We also visited the washroom one last time before heading out to the bus bay to wait for the bus.
The bus was already there with passengers boarding the bus when we reached the bus bay just outside the mall. It was a very easy process with the bus guide checking our print itinerary and then tagged our bags for storage. We then went up the bus to sit according to seat number on our tickets we purchased online. Moments later, all were onboard and the guide came up to request everyone put on seat belt.
Bus Ride from Vienna to Prague
The bus left the station on time and travelled out of Vienna heading north west to Czech Republic. While the bus was moving along, the guide addressed passengers in a few languages including English. It was pretty cool that he was so fluent providing information about the bus ride and also hot beverages to be served later.
Wifi was available on the bus which was great. We could communicate with family and friends out of the country to keep them posted on our trip. A short while later, the guide came over to ask the type of beverages we would like and then served us accordingly. It was a really good start for the morning while we sat back to enjoy the ride.
The onboard entertainment system provided some basic programs with movies and music as well as maps and GPS location of the bus along the way. The ride was very comfortable even though this bus isn’t those two by one seat arrangement we are used to travelling between Singapore and cities in Malaysia. This two by two seats might not have as much leg rooms but we were very comfortable. The bus was very clean and looked pretty new too. There is a toilet in the bus but it was hardly used by any passenger during this ride.
After travelling a while, we entered Czech Republic. The terrain took a turn to countryside setting. Traffic was very light along the way. We passed beautiful fields full of yellow flowers so often. Of course we also passed small towns and villages along the way. So rumbling along, we soon entered the city of Prague. Traffic was of course busy by now. Soon after, we arrived at Florenc Bus Station at 12.45 pm, 15 minutes ahead of time. For just 15 Euro, this bus ride was really value for money.
Florenc Bus Station
The first thing I did after alighting from the bus and collecting our bags was to get some money from the ATM machine. We had wanted to change money in Vienna yesterday but the exchange rates were daylight robbery. There is one ATM machine right where we alighted. So I easily withdrew some cash from there safely. We needed cash because we had to take public transport to the apartment we had booked in the new town area which was just nearby.
I had already contacted the host days ago and the day before to inform her about our arrival. In fact, I had also notified her this morning before leaving the hotel via WhatsApp. I was advised to take the metro just two stations away to Mustek Station and then walked to the apartment which is one minute away. She further suggested taking the tram number 3 from Florenc to Vaclavske Namesti might be easier for us. Our appointment time was 1.30 pm so we still had some time as we arrived ahead of time.
So armed with some cash, we entered the ticketing hall. First thing was to buy some burgers from Burger King for loose change to buy train tickets. We just needed a short ride ticket costing only 24 CZK each. I managed to buy three tickets from the convenient store near the front entrance. This saved me the trouble having to figure out buying tickets from the ticketing machines.
Florenc Bus Station to Apartment
With tickets in our hands and burger meals with us, we exited from the bus station main entrance. The entrance to the metro is just right in front. I tried walking over to the road ahead but I couldn’t find the tram stop. So we entered the entrance of the metro station and walked to the platform of the yellow line. It took some effort to walk through the tunnels to reach the platform as we were not familiar with the metro system here. Soon a train came and we boarded the train. A short while later, we arrived Mustek Station and we got off.
This was where our trouble all began. Once outside the platform, we couldn’t find exit to Jindrisska. With no choice we went up to the street level. The street was very busy and we were in the midst of a very beautiful location. Unfortunately, after walking back and forth along a few streets, we still couldn’t locate Jindrisska. The street names were so difficult to read and pronounce. In addition, it was so difficult to locate the street names on the streets, which were rather tiny.
Although the whole area was exceedingly beautiful to explore, we were in no mood to enjoy the street scene lugging our bags around town. By the time we finally found the apartment, the one minute walk from the train station exit turned into an hour. Our appointment time was long over and the host was no where to be found. We rang the door bell but no one came out. A moment later, three Korean girls showed up to enter the building. So the host would be showing up soon. That was a great relief.
Apartment in Prague New Town
Outside the apartment building was very busy. Next door was a moneychanger doing brisk business. There was a long queue of customers waiting to enter the premise to change money. About ten minutes later, the host opened the door from inside the building and let all of us in. Our unit was on the first floor, one floor above the ground level while those Korean girls went up another floor complaining because there were no lifts.
The host opened the door to our unit for us to enter and told us to wait a moment while she went to attend to those Koreans. So we entered this apartment and sat at the dining area next to the entrance to wait for the host to return to brief us on the apartment. So it was time for us to get a bite into our very late lunch we bought from Burger King earlier. The burger was no longer hot but still tasted good, especially the ribs burger.
Nice and Comfy Beautiful Downtown Apartment
The host then returned to speak with us. This apartment was pretty clean with basic Ikea-like furnishing. After the entrance was the kitchen and the bathroom with a shower stall. Further in was the living room where the sofa bed would be where our son would be sleeping. Next to the living room was the bedroom which was quite sizeable. There was no door between the living room and the bedroom.
The kitchen came with full cutlery, microwave oven and even a coffee maker plus coffee capsules. We were given information around town and were told we could actually walk around to explore and needed not purchase a day ticket to travel around the city. A list of restaurants where the locals frequent was also given to us and she highly recommended we try out some of these restaurants.
She also told us she could help us book a taxi to the bus station on the morning when we leave should we so desired. The cost would be slightly over 110 CZK and taking public transport for three of us would cost 72 CZK already having to lug our bags around. All we needed to do when we checked out would be leaving the keys on the dining table and then closed the door and leave. It was that simple. This host was really friendly and helpful and the apartment was good enough for us to stay two nights. So after briefing us, she left us to enjoy Prague on our own.
Finally, we were free on our own to explore Prague. From our apartment, we could see the trams passing below, which was quite a busy street. Our main complaint would be those customers queuing below to change money who smoked and we had to close our windows. Of course some street noise due to passing trams and vehicles were expected but we were not too troubled. So having settled down, we got ready to leave the apartment to start our tour of Prague.
Amazing Prague from Apartment to Palladium Mall
Once out on the street, we turned right to walk towards a very nice church building. Next to the church was the Henry’s Tower. It was so nice with a clock up there. It was then we realized it was already past 4 pm. We had already had a mini tour around the area earlier while looking for the apartment. The buildings here were really unique and nice.
We then walked through a neighbourhood with open air café. This place was so peaceful and pleasant, very quiet during this afternoon. We were thinking of looking up such places perhaps to have breakfast the next day. A place like this reminded us one of the neighbourhoods in London UK.
After emerging from this courtyard cafeteria area, we found ourselves at the Hibernia Theatre. This was another nice area. Over here, we witnessed a police car stopped a classic car at a road junction for traffic violation. It was quite an interesting encounter with the police car blaring its siren to order this classic car to stop. Nearby was a very long eye-catching limousine, no doubt an advertisement for some entertainment in the area.
Also nearby was the Powder Tower, very impressive with a castle-like top connected to another building. This was the Municipal House, with artwork-like architecture and a painting on the top main entrance of the building, really very nice. The buildings we had come across were truly so beautiful and we were simply blown away at every corner with surprises of more remarkable beauty of the city that captured our attention.
Walking a little further, we reached the Palladium Mall. However, we decided it wasn’t time for shopping yet as we would like to head to the Old Town Square. This area outside the Palladium Mall was very pretty as well with trams running regularly, a very busy area in Prague. So we walked on entering some side streets and not long after, we emerged into another very pleasant open area that was pretty crowded with visitors.
Stunning Old Town in Prague
So we had arrived at the Old Town Square. This place was truly lovely and awesome. So many visitors were congregating here and there enjoying the sight in this Square. The weather was fantastic, just nice for us to explore the city during early summer. It wasn’t cold like we had experienced in Vienna the day before. It was so pleasant to spend time outdoor to soak in the sights in this Old Town Square.
The buildings here were indeed stunning, exceptionally beautiful. The sunlight reflected from some buildings gave a coat of golden colour, very majestic and pretty. People were everywhere. A musician was playing at the Square attracting some crowds. Everyone here looked so happy and so busy trying to capture the moments on camera at every corner with all sorts of pose.
We were actually looking for the famous Astronomical Clock in Prague at the Square. After walking a little further to one end, we found huge crowd gathering. It was there that we found this famous clock. It was close to 5 pm and the crowd was waiting for this famous clock to perform its hourly chime. So we walked nearer to the crowd but staying far enough to avoid pickpockets.
Everyone was straining to look at the clock and waiting for something magical to happen any moment. We didn’t know what to expect as well as we waited with everyone. Part of the clock was covered as renovation works were ongoing. At the fateful moment exactly 5 pm, there was some chiming and some rotation of wheels inside the clock which we could hardly observed as we were positioned at a distance. It came and went so quickly and likewise the crowd. It was rather amusing.
We then entered this building housing the famous clock. The tourist information counter was there and we approached the friendly staff and were given town maps and other information in the city. The walls and ceilings inside here were actually very nice paintings. So far, we had been thoroughly impressed with this city. We didn’t expect Prague to be so beautiful.
Beautiful Scene from Old Town to Charles Bridge
After visiting this beautiful part of the city, it was time for us to move on towards the famous Charles Bridge. As we continued towards the river, we passed very pleasant outdoor dining establishments. They were so crowded. Business was really good. The mood and the vibes were great this summer afternoon. We also chanced upon the many places selling specialty ice cream. So we likewise indulged ourselves with this special ice cream. We observed the process and the ice cream tasted very good!
We then walked along with ice cream in one hand like some other visitors and continued to enjoy what this fabulous city had to offer. The walk along these beautiful streets were very pleasant and enjoyable. We saw quite a few classic cars as well. Soon we reached a very crowded spot. We then realized this was the vicinity of the entrance into Charles Bridge. No wonder this area was so crowded with visitors sitting around some snapping pictures of this very nice place.
There were padlocks on the metal railings before the entrance to the bridge. It seems to be trendy to leave padlocks in famous touristy bridges and spots the world over. We saw this in Salzburg in Austria, Huangshan in China and other locations as well. We planned to cross Charles Bridge the next day so we just hanged around this side of the bridge. Hence, we only went up on to a short stretch of the bridge to snap some pictures from there. There were vendors on the bridge. This area was so touristy but so beautiful as well. The views from the bridge was simply gorgeous.
Charles Bridge to Old Prague House for Dinner
We then returned to shore and explored along the riverfront. The views along the river were very nice too. This was indeed a great day for us on the second day of our Europe Tour. We knew Prague is beautiful but we didn’t expect this city to be so beautiful. It was a really lovely day in this lovely city with happy people all enjoying this beautiful medieval city.
It was already past 6 pm and about time to look for a restaurant for dinner. Our lunch was the pathetic fast food burger from Burger King consumed only after the long search for the apartment. So we were really hoping to be have a great meal this time. So we walked back into town from the riverfront. We seemed to have walked into a quieter part of town that was less touristy. We then came across a very charming café at the Old Prague House. The restaurant was empty so we went in for dinner.
The restaurant had pretty nice countryside setting in Prague style. Perhaps it was still too early for dinner so we had the whole restaurant to ourselves. We ordered the local dishes and rested our tired feet. Our food came and they were delicious. They were not as dry as the lunch and dinner we had in Vienna the previous day. Cost for the dinner was very reasonable, much lower than in Vienna. We were glad we had a wonderful dinner here in Prague.
Explore Wenceslas Square in Prague
After this very nice dinner, we walked back in the direction of our apartment at Vaclavske, the modern side of Prague. We passed a quiet mall with an interesting deco outside this mall. It was a turning metallic human head where layers would rotate at different speed. We then walked on and soon we were back to where we were lost at Mustek Station looking for our apartment.
This area was much quieter now compared to early afternoon when we were here. Notwithstanding, this area was still pretty charming. Under the late afternoon sun, the buildings reflected their shinning coat of paints in different colours. This place known as Wenceslas Square contrasted a little with the Old Town in Prague.
The middle of the Square was like a small park with an exhibition area with old pictures of Prague on display. An open air café is located in the middle of this Square as well. There weren’t many diners while we were exploring. Further ahead is the museum area next to the main train station in Prague.
It was still a little early to retire during summer. So we spent some time window shopping and surveying prices of souvenirs where we would buy some before leaving this beautiful city. There were many souvenir shops and other retailers for clothes and such as well as toiletries and cosmetics. Before returning to our apartment, we went to the supermarket the host told us about just at the corner of the street.
Winding Down to Retire in Prague
This supermarket is just right at the basement area from the entrance before descending to the platform of Mustek Station. We came up from another exit and that was why we couldn’t find the apartment. This supermarket was so convenient for us. We bought muffins, cakes, fruit juice and of course drinking water. We were trying to buy still water but we bought the wrong type ended up drinking gassy water. This was because of the non English labeling of the water bottles.
With shopping done, we went back up to street level and the apartment was just a few steps away within a minute’s walk. The host didn’t lie about the distance but we were not told which exit to come up from Mustek Station. From the other exit, we couldn’t find Jindrisska at all. This apartment was really so strategic and convenient.
Back to our apartment, it was time to unwind and rest. The big TV in the living room wasn’t very useful at all because all the channels were in European languages. Even English movies were dubbed into some other European languages. It was pretty much the same over in Vienna. In fact, this is quite standard across Europe. Years ago when we were in Germany, we watched Home Alone in German. So we weren’t very disappointed knowing what to expect.
So we while the evening away and had coffee time before going to bed. The sun only set near 9 pm. So far we hadn’t seen dark night skies in Europe yet. Summer offered so much opportunity to explore unlike those times we usually came during Christmas period. Other than the trouble finding this apartment, this second day of our Europe Tour was simply fantastic. We would have the whole of next day to further explore Prague, so we went to bed looking forward to greater time to come in a few hours’ time.
Continue to Day 3 …