Early April was for me the perfect time to be in Prague. Winter was over and it was cool without being too cold and the summer visitor crowds had not started pouring in. Just yesterday, a friend tells me that she was barely able to walk in Prague when she visited in July. We stayed in a small hotel very close to the lovely Charles Bridge – the clerk at the counter sternly advised us against buying a travel pass. “You can walk everywhere,” he said. And we did. We did hop into a tram going up to the castle but everywhere else, we walked.
The Easter market had just opened that day and the entire city sported a carnival look. Festoons, balloons, street stalls, people blowing bubbles, performers and buskers – the city was a fairy tale. No, really. Remember those Russian fairy tales you read as a child – the Old Town Square brought it all alive for me. The square dates back to the 12fth century and was a central market for the entire town – it also hosts some of the most famous and prettiest sights in town, The Tyn Church and the Astronomical Clock, to name just a couple of them. And as with all self-respecting town squares in Europe, it is ringed with cafes and restaurants, all of them with tables out in the fresh spring air.
And then the Easter market – an open stage with performances through the day, dozens of stalls selling Czech craft and Easter goodies and all kinds of food and drinks – brightly painted Easter eggs, traditional glassware from the country, wooden toys and souvenirs and local wines. And on one side, a tent holding workshops for children and next to it, a pen with fat sheep and piglets for them to feed and play with. The best thing about the market was that there were as many locals walking around the shops as tourists.
Prague was our absolute favourite among the cities we visited. More posts coming up on charles Bridge, the Lennon Wall and all the rest of it – watch this space!