Some advice for travel and photography in Prague
In march my wife and me spent some days in Prague (Czech Republic). Maybe some of you also read the german version of my blog; I already published there a little diary of our trip. This current blog entry is for those who don’t understand German. The pictures will not always be the same in the different blog entries but maybe you want to have a look on my homepage? There are more pictures about Prague.
As mentioned above we were there in early spring, which has some pros and cons. Pros: It’s low-season so the tourists are not as many as in high-season. Cons: The weather conditions are capricious, we even had some little snow. Good footwear also is important, because in the whole historic centre there are cobblestones. Normal sneakers or loafers are painful if you are on the way all the time.
Duration of the trip
There are many cultural attractions and historical places of interest in Prague, so we suggest to spend at least one week there.
Public transport always is the cheapest way to get from any airport to the city, but normally not very comfortable especially with luggage. Where is the bus stop? Where to get the tickets? Which ticket is right for you? Which bus-stop is the nearest to your hotel? And so on…
Much more comfortable are taxis but as taxi drivers in Prague do not have the best reputation, we decided to book a privat transfer. I can recommend Prague Airport Transfer www.prague-airport-transfers.co.uk. Same (fixed) price as a normal taxi, reliable, on time, clean car and friendly driver. As an extra benefit we got a voucher for a free 4-hour guided tour.
If you are interested in cultural events Prague will be a paradise for you J. Every evening there are some cultural attractions: Theatres, chamber concerts, operas and so on.
It’s impossible to give some definitive advice about “cheap” or “expensive”. That will hardly depend to where you come from. I try to compare prices between Switzerland and Prague and give you some concrete examples. Some will find that helpful, for some other it will be useless…
Price level in the historic centre of Prague (which normally is higher than in the suburbs) I guess 30% lower than in Zurich/Switzerland. A typical dinner for two persons in an Italian Restaurant with salad, pasta/pizza, desert and mineral water costs about CZK 700.- (CHF 32.-, EUR 27.-, USD 35.-). We rarely paid more than CZK 1’000.- (CHF 47.-, EUR 39.-, USD 50.-) even in “better” restaurants with meat dishes. All prices are without tips, which are usually at least 10%. I don’t know if price level is growing in high season.
There are also plenty of facilities to eat on the go (no, we didn’t test McDonalds…). Typical Czeck “fast food” as Trdlika, wafers or other Bohemian delicacy costs between CZK 50.-and CZK 100.-.
There are so many points of interest it’s hard to pull your camera off your eye… J. The historic centre is very well restored and with the gothic churches and the baroque style buildings results a spectactular ambiance. And don’t forget your tripod! In the evening all the historical buildings are illuminated, which give really atmospheric pictures.
Many of the historical towers are accessible (subject to charge). This gives you fantastic panoramic views over the city.
Early birds can benefit from empty roads; no one will bounce your tripod, no tourists with dazzling raincoats will ruin your picture and the face of the buildings are clearly visible. To get the best photographic results I followed a daily routine (not every day indeed): I woke up in the dark to catch the sunrise and the beautiful morning light (in march this means at 5:00 a.m.). At 9:00 a.m. returned to the hotel to have breakfast with my wife. On our daily excursions I just carry my Pentax 645D with one lens; one day I take the 90mm Macro, the other day the 55mm and so on. No tripod, no flash, no other accessory. In the late afternoon we returned to the hotel, I picked up my tripod and all other stuff and we got out to benefit the twilight hour.
My photographic equipment: Pentax 645D digital medium format camera with 2.8/55mm, 2.8/90mm Macro and 2.8/150mm, tripod, flash, polarizing filter, ND gradient filter. The telephoto lens was nice to have with me but not essential. Very useful is a wide angle (which unfortunately I do not have…). Very important to me was the macro-lens; there are plenty of details to discover.
Please note that the above advices are highly subjectiv. Other people will get other conclusions…
As mentioned above, more pictures on my homepage.