On our first night in Prague we walked through the old town square to Red Pif for dinner, and the views did not disappoint. Of special note is the beautiful old astronomical clock.
daytime shot of the clock; square at night
After visiting the castle we headed down to the river for a cafe stop. Once everyone was settled I went back out to scout ahead and take more photos while everyone else defrosted. I particularly liked the ‘narrowest street in Prague’ complete with walk symbols.
tight fit; ‘love locks’ on a canal bridge
By the time we were done in the cafe, the sun had set so we next headed to the Vinograf wine bar. Once again I set out to take twilight shots.
Crossing the Charles Bridge at night was beautiful but also quite cold given the wind along the river. Along the way we tried our first trdlo (aka trdelnik) a delicious rolled pastry grilled over a flame and found at all the local Christmas markets.
We started the day wandering through the Jewish Quarter. Since it was Saturday, the cemetery and a few of the synagogues were closed, but that meant the tourist crowds were (slightly) smaller.
architectural details; Franz Kafka statue
From here we walked through the opening day of the main Christmas market, which was already becoming crowded.
We continued on to the markets around Havel and Wenclas Squares and found some jewelery and other presents for Christmas.
When Eric could take no more shopping we took a break to get a hot chocolate and warm up a bit.
After a warm-up we made our way to the river for an iconic (and windy) view of the Prague castle.
Nearby was a graffiti mural that was fairly disappointing given some of the other works we’ve seen in the last year.
Having visited several markets we were pretty worn out with the touristy crap for sale. Case in point:
there were many stores like this…
That evening we had tickets for an Advent concert in the Clementinum Mirror Chapel. This turned out to be a little tricky to find but after entering a warm-up room for the musicians of a completely different concert we finally found someone who could point the way… it was an Amazing Race moment for sure! The tenor was incredible, soprano was just okay, and organist who was part of nearly every song surely earned double pay. The setting was quite spectacular too.
The concert was near the Charles bridge so I dragged everyone to the overlook for another set of night photos.
To end our evening we returned to the main Christmas market that was now fully lit up. I had been waiting all day to order ham at the market given the wonderful smell. Every stall listed a price for 100g, so I asked for that. The woman proceeded to fill a plate with more than 400g of ham then asked for ~20E! I said I only wanted 100g and she replied that this was the “normal portion” and wouldn’t budge so we ended up walking away. Later research indicates I’m not the only one who has had this disappointing experience so it appears to be a rather dishonest practice at the Prague market. Plus, the ham wasn’t sliced just roughly chunked so it would have been rather difficult to eat on a paper plate with a plastic fork. Thankfully I had better luck with the spiral potato and the trdlo pastry.
The rest of the Old Town Square market was also underwhelming with more (!) magnets and other touristy trinkets. Overall, we definitely preferred the Vienna Christmas markets.
It still looks lovely all lit up though