Quintessential Prague Experiences
After a pleasant but long and uneventful train rides from Budapest sharing a cabin with 2 old American ladies and 2 guys from Prague I arrived at Prague railway station in the afternoon. There is nothing much to do or see during the journey except exchange small talk with my cabin companions. A guy came by occasionally selling drinks and snacks but I have bought pastries and croissant for my lunch before departing Budapest in the morning.
After a short taxi ride I reach my hotel, which is located at the fringe of the Old Town. Getting a local map and some guidance from the hotel reception I went for a walk to check out the Old Town Square and to get familiarise with the surrounding in order for me to plan my next few days exploration of the city.
I purposely kept my plan free and easy except for a day tour of Cesky Krumlov so I can have more time to explore, taking photos or just chilling at some nice cafes enjoying the city’s famous beer.
The Old Town Square is a good landmark and staying nearby is convenient if you want to explore this area by foot. The Charles Bridge and Prague Castle are within walking distant from the Old Town Square. As in most of my travel trip I choose to walk a lot sometimes to the dismay of my travel buddies. Walking will give you more opportunities to capture things that happened around you, which is essential if you want to capture the motion of the city. The first evening I was walking aimlessly and ended up walking round the Old Town Square for a couple of hours but it did help me to get familiarise with these locations and made it easier for me to move around quickly to capture certain landmarks at certain time of the day according to the sun positions.
The toughest part of travel photography is you can plan everything to detail but when the weather decides to change there’s not much you can do. I woke up early the next morning planning a sunrise shoot at Charles Bridge but it rained for hours before dawn. By the time it stop the whole sky is flat and everything else looks gray. Not about to give up I decided to shoot in monotone. In the afternoon the weather turned for better and I quickly made my way to the Prague Castle. The walk from Old Town Square across Manesuv most is pleasant enough but once you reach the castle getting up the narrow spiral stairway to the top of the St Vitus Cathedral is tiring but the view from the top is worth it.
The other notable landmarks are Powder Tower, Tyn Cathedral and St Nicholas Church, which make interesting architecture photography and so are the mix of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque to neo classical buildings around the city center. But the Charles Bridge must be the most popular and crowded spot and taking pictures there can be a nightmare as hundreds of tourists lined the entire length of the bridge for most part of the day. When I went there at 5.50am for sunrise shoot I was surprised to see people already at the bridge including a group of young drunken.
At the Old Town Hall the Astronomical Clock attracted a large crowd standing around looking up the huge ancient clock waiting for the 12 apostles to pass by the window above the dial at every hour but you’ll probably not see anything if you just walk pass and I didn’t stand there long enough to wait as every time I pass by the place is too crowded.
Instead at the end of each day I rest my poor tired feet at different cafes enjoying Czech beers and just watch life goes by. This is how I like my travel photography session.