Prague is an interesting city, beautiful and charming, although it’s people weren’t necessarily the most welcoming to us. Our hotel, Augustine was a former monastery and had a quaint, old-world charm. Ariana was thrilled with the birthday cake that greeted her in the room! Our first stop was the Prague castle, and the churches, views and stately rooms were impressive. The kids particularly enjoyed the “golden lane” where they got to see various armored costumes and tools. That evening, we celebrated Ariana’s birthday at a Japanese restaurant near the old town.
The next morning, we took the tram (which the kids loved) to the Petrin lookout tower, which offered spectacular views of the city, castle, river and orange roofed houses across the city. The kids were thrilled to ride the nearby carousel. Next, we made our way to the old town and after a quick lunch, we joined a three-hour walking tour of the city. Our guide, Katerina did a fantastic job of helping us understand their history of the city, bohemian culture and King George’s empire. We learned about the significance of the astronomical clock, the town hall, the Jewish quarter and several stories about how Prague was impacted by the world war. The kids did remarkably well, walking and soaking in most of the tour (not unusual for them, they were the only kids on the tour). Tired from all the walking, we retired early after a dinner of doner kebabs at a nearby stall.
On our last day in Prague, we walked the Charles bridge, soaking in the musicians, artists, sculptures and views of the river below. We decided to take the Prague Venice boat tour and the kids were pleased with the lemonade and ice cream offered aboard. The tour itself was quite interesting due to the audio guide and we got a view of some of the cities epic sights from the banks of the river. After lunch close to the old town square, we were strolling back to the hotel when we came across a “world tour” basketball tournament, likely for high schoolers representing their countries from the world over. The kids were entralled by their first live experience of basketball, and at their insistence, we watched three games!! I marveled at how these unplanned, serendipitous experiences always turned out to be some of the very best. That evening, we explored the Kampa neighborhood where the children played along the banks of the river while I enjoyed Prosecco and music on a lounge chair. We enjoyed a steak dinner at a restaurant along the river before retreating to the hotel.
The next morning, we ate a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and following a soaking bath (what??), we boarded the train to Dresden. Since it was close to lunch time, we decided to sit in the restaurant car which brought back many memories for me of train trips around Germany as a teenager with my dad. The kids wrote stories of their travels in their journals, and we enjoyed lunch on our journey to Dresden.
Dresden was a pleasantly charming city that exceeded my expectations, with a large, lively square with live music (accompanied later by dancing), beautiful fountains, churches, palaces and bustling restaurants alongside the river. We visited a church, and took the larger Ferris wheel to enjoy aerial views of this city along the river.
The next morning, we rented a car and drove to the Konigstein Fortress. We took a mini train up to the top, and were extremely impressed as we learned that the fortress complex comprised a mini town rather than just one structure. It had multiple interactive experiences, several of which were geared especially for kids. The experiences were a mix of history, games, and puzzles and the views overlooking Saxon Switzerland were unparalleled. We were disappointed to learn that the national park was closed due to forest fires and we couldn’t visit the Bastei bridge but the incredible experience at Konigstein definitely made the stop in the Dresden area well worth it!