We awoke tired but happy to have had a bed for the night in the lovely Courtyard by Marriott Airport Hotel with an extra day with absolutely nothing planned. We enjoyed the complimentary breakfast which included a spicy Asian soup as well as your standard European offering. It was lovely and nice to enjoy given we hadn’t had breakfast included in our other hotel booking. We made the most of the free room and check-out just before the allotted time before taking an Uber into town and our first sight of the day.
After a quick flick through the Lonely Planet book we decided to head to the Loreta first. The building is now a pilgrimage site within Prague and consists of a cloister, church of the Lord’s Birth, the Santa Casa and a beautiful clock tower. We hadn’t done much research and so arrived to a quiet, beautiful building set a little out of the main centre of the city. We took one audio between us and made our way around the multitude of different cloisters and chapels. As I was repeating the audio I could already hear the ‘and here we have another chapel which is important because’. For those religious buffs this is definitely the place to visit. Otherwise, it is nice to see and has a few famous liturgical objects but the beauty is in the carvings and building. For £5 entrance + the audio it isn’t the cheapest of attractions but it made for a nice peaceful few hours and the buildings were definitely worth seeing. For those less interested in the chapels and historical aspects you can see the main structure and the famous clock from the outside without paying the entrance fees.
Our next stop was the Jewish Museum and one of the most visited museums in Prague. Prague was at the centre of the Nazi occupation during WW2 and before which resulted in the extermination of millions of Jewish citizens. The museum was founded way back in 1906, and charts the rise of the Jewish population and the stigmatisation faced by those of Jewish faith within the Czech Republic and Europe more generally centuries before Hitler’s policies came into being. The museum is made up of a number of different sites throughout the city and was a great opportunity to understand more, not only about the WW2 era, but about Jewish history and beliefs from a wider context. The museum is made up of the Maisel Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery, Klausen Synagogue, Ceremonial Hall, Spanish Synagogue and finally the Robert Guttmann Gallery. The Pinkas Synagogue particularly stands out, even now, painted completely stark white with millions of black names printed on the walls detailing all of the Jews who perished from the city. It also contained an exhibition of children’s drawings detailing daily life in the Terezin Ghetto which were absolutely heart-breaking, particularly after learning that almost all of the children who undertook the drawings perished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Despite the tragedy the museum provided an insight into a religion plagued by horror and really allowed me to get a better understanding of some of the people affected. Definitely worth a visit when in the city.
It was a cold day and we wandered from the Loreta back down to city, passing the famous John Lennon wall (hello again crowds). The wall is a symbol of rebellion against the former communist regime in the Czech Republic with people using the wall to air their grievances. John Lennon – who inspired so many to fight back against the regime is the inspiration behind the wall and a portrait of him appeared centre stage before being gradually painted over with everyone’s own messages of peace and love. We wandered around the area and enjoyed a nice walk over the famous Charles Bridge with some money honey wine to toast another successful Christmas Market trip.
We were conscious of missing another flight so decided to enjoy one last meal in the city before making our way back to the airport. We opted for Lokal Dlouhaaa since it was nearby and had been recommended by our food tour guide the day before as being associated with the much more expensive Le Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise. It was a bit of a strange time to be eating around 3p.m so we managed to get a table and ordered some of the local fruit beer while waiting on the food. I ordered the spatch-cock chicken which was beautifully seasoned with the traditional Czech fermented cabbage and some of the potato dumplings (much more flavourful for me than the bread variety) with a creamy mushroom sauce. It was lovely and hearty, a bit like all of the Czech cuisine and a lovely finish to the trip. I am really glad we had the additional day to explore the city as we probably saw more on the final day than all of the other 3 put together. It really is a lovely city, definitely somewhere to return to, perhaps just at a less busy time of year.