Hiking to Prague Castle and Everything Along the Way

The next day, I was more confident in myself. Mind you, I still didn't know a word of Czech, but I had some korunas in my pocket, and I had a speech to give (and even knew how to take the train from my hotel to the Prague Congress Centre.) The conference had terrible wifi (I swear that's the last time I complain about connectivity in the United States) and so my Prezi fizzled and I had to default to the dreaded PowerPoint. Tech dramas aside, it went well and I was done with work by around 2pm. Now, what to do with the day?

The day before, I had seen Prague Castle up Petrin hill in the distance and thought it was pretty. But, I had to meet colleagues that evening for an event, so I figured there was no way I'd make it to the top. But I figured I could fit in a stroll across the Charles Bridge so, I dropped my laptop at the hotel and set off on a gorgeous, sunny spring day:
Me, basking in a sunny day on the Charles Bridge.
I wasn't the only one with the idea, so the Charles Bridge was packed with tourists and locals, musicians, artists and jewelry makers. The bridge has a long history in Prague. It was started in 1357 by King Charles IVand until 1841 was the only means of crossing the Vltava River. I loved the towers on either side and the statues that lined the bridge.
Walking across the Charles Bridge
Once you cross the bridge, you are delivered into Mala Strana, the marketplace and village around Prague Castle. The winding stairs that lead to the top make the Exorcist Stairs look like a stroll in the park.
Heading up to Prague Castle...
I was fascinated with the intricate doors.
Prague Castle stands as the largest coherent castle complex in the world. Since I was speedwalking through the experience, I didn't have time to explore the castle and cathedrals, but it is still the Office of the President of the Czech Republic and is open for tours.
St. Vitas Cathedral at Prague Castle
At the top, you can see for miles and really take in Old Town Prague across the river:
The stickers on this mirror reminded me of Cape Patton Lookout in Australia
I'd love to while away the day at the St. Wenceslas Winery where people were picnicking and sampling the local wines.
St. Wenceslas Winery at Prague Castle
Alas, I had to head back down and get back to meet my colleagues, but along the winding stairs, I encountered more musicians...
 ... and more places recommended by friends, like Vinograf, a wine bar in the shadows of the Castle.
Vinograf Wine Bar
My iPhone died shortly after this, but Prague kept going. I met colleagues and we got to see Bohemian dancers perform at the Prague National Theater. For dinner, we scored a patio table at CottoCrudo overlooking the Prague Castle and settled in for an Italian feast. I know, I know, I didn't immerse in the local... I didn't have cabbage or meat or dumplings or absinthe & Sprite... or get drunk on local beers and wine... but it was one hell of a first impression, Prague, and I'll be back one day.

[NOTE: If you missed day one in Prague, catch up here.]

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