There's more to Prague than the Charles Bridge
So you’ve crossed the famed Charles Bridge (Karlův most) - well, now what?
Fret not, because the surrounding area is one of the most beautiful in Prague. Here are some of the lesser-explored areas right at the feet of the Charles Bridge.
The John Lennon Wall:
The first time I came to the John Lennon wall over a decade ago, it was just me and a woman from Japan, that is to say, quiet. She saw my Let It Be tattoo and insisted on doing a make-shift photoshoot with me as the subject. Needless to say, it was strange to be on the other side of the lens, but those images are some of my favorite of any of my times in Prague.
Now, coming back to the wall all these years later, it is a much different atmosphere, with a constant wave of tourists, but no less good will and feelings of love.
I treasure the images I have of myself at the wall, and I am happy to be able to offer to others the same experience. Rather than leaving with only selfies, shots of actually enjoying the experience and contributing to the living art are something which can be treasured in a more intimate way.
Cobbled streets and canals
When one thinks Europe, this is what they are picturing.
The tiny cobbled roads packed with cafes and canals, just beneath the Charles Bridge, feel straight out of a story book. One can easily get lost on these winding roads, but its a lost that feels fulfilling and magical.
Small courtyards are easy to come by, as well - and one finds themselves channelling Alice going down the rabbit hole. When traversing the area, it feels as though time has stopped - a part of Prague which truly gives Paris a run for its money.
Prague has a higher percentage of green space than any other city (around 57%!) What better way to enjoy the shade and breeze of the Vltava River than at Kampa Park.
This is not your basic park, though. Far from it! With gorgeous bank-side views of The Charles Bridge, Saint Francis of Assissi Church, and the National Theater (Národní divadlo) - this park makes a perfect backdrop to any photo.
Take a few steps further into the park and you’ll find yourself amongst the surreal sculptures of Museum Kampa. Look toward the river and you will find 34 brightly colored penguins in a line. They’re made of recycled plastic bottles, and are a welcomed reminder of what may come from recycling.
Maybe even more eye-catching are the famous and controversial Žižkov babies by artist David Cerny. While potentially contentious, no one can argue that they will certainly cause discussion and a smile.
Shakespeare & Son’s
Need a moment of peace? Make your way over to Shakespeare & Son’s, a charming bookstore and café with not only an incredible selection of English books, but also those in other languages.
Comfy chairs are flanked by tall book cases stocked with every topic you can imagine. Treat yourself to a novel by a local (perhaps Kafka or Kundera) - or if art books are more your thing, you’ll be sure to find at least one photo book from Czech-born photographer, Koudelka.
While getting lost amongst the cobbled streets gives one a certain level of relaxation, there’s something to be said about finding oneself surrounded by rows and rows of books.
Whether one is looking for a reprieve from the masses congregating on the Charles Bridge, or is feeling a bit more adventurous, there is something to be found just steps beneath the most crowded spot in all of Prague.