Now Prague is such a famous city that talking about its beauty, history & famous monuments would be like repeating the same things that are present all over the internet, thus, I would only talk about my experience & what I did there, how I was backpacking in Prague.
I took my flight from Vilnius & reached Prague at around 3 pm. My Czech friend Martin, whom I had Couchsurfed in New Delhi, had come to see me at the airport, leaving his office midway. He helped me with the map of the city & guided me on how to reach my hostel. I then took the bus, then metro & finally reached the station. Everything was written in Czech, even the announcements inside bus & metro were written in Czech language, no use of English at all. This you will find almost everywhere in Prague, very little use of English language. It might be slightly difficult initially but since Czech language is written using Latin alphabet, it will make it easier for you to recognize & read the names of the stations, places etc.
I didn’t go to Prague expecting that everything would be written in English or that everyone would speak English. It’s actually an interesting experience when things are not as per your comfort; you need to experience it to understand what I am talking about. Some things need better be felt. And backpacking in Prague was a very good example for me.
As my mobile had no local sim card & I hadn’t activated my international roaming, I was unable to use GPS to find my hostel, thus, I was relying on the map I had. I asked for the direction from two teens, a guy & a girl, they didn’t know the exact direction but tried to help me with whatever they knew. Then I experienced something I would never forget. I asked for the directions from a mother & son, they were going in some other direction. When I asked them they just said to me “come” & started walking with me in opposite direction of where they were going earlier. After walking 15-20 min asking directions from different people, they finally dropped me at my hostel. I was completely overwhelmed by this experience.
In my room, there were 9 people, both guys & girls of different nationalities. It was a different & nice experience for me as it was my first solo trip & first such hostel experience. The best part about my hostel was, it was very near to Charles Bridge. Tap water is drinkable almost everywhere in Prague. Apart from famous sights, I also visited other less touristy parts of the city. Martin used to take me somewhere every evening after work. I wanted to try Czech cuisine & since I am a vegetarian, it was a bit difficult to find. I tried visiting one Czech restaurant where the menu was written in three languages & none of them were English, plus the waiter also didn’t know how to speak English, so I had to leave. Martin told me that almost all Czech cuisines are non-veg so it’s a bit difficult to find something for a vegetarian. We somehow managed to find one restaurant where there was something in veg & thus I tried my first Czech food. You can, however, find veg meals of other countries very easily in Prague.
Once I had lost my way & was again trying to find the direction, I asked it from an Australian girl who happened to be a solo traveller herself & then we travelled together for the next 5-6 hours. We went to a park & tried some delicious Czech barbecue there, & yes I could find vegetarian food & the cook knew good English too. Later that evening I went to attend a Czech concert.
While backpacking in Prague, I used public transport & walked as much as I could just because I wanted to meet the people, integrate with the locals, & experience the whole thing by being there amongst them & not just by rushing through taking pictures of the important sights. Sometimes I would just start walking randomly in any direction without fixing my destination & used to experience things beyond the usual obligation of completing sightseeing list. Sometimes travelling without any rigid list & time limit to complete it helps you experience things in a much better way.
I really wanted to see other parts of Czech Republic as well, could have covered at least 2 more cities/countryside, but wanted to give ample time to Prague. Will visit when I am there next time!