About to catch the Dubai metro to the airport. The start of the Eid weekend so a few other people with their luggage off to the airport too to start their travels.
Ground side at Terminal 1 just before midnight about to check in.
I originally booked direct flights to Prague (DXB-PRG) on Czech LCC, SmartWings (QS) for a super cheap $300. They unfortunately cancelled all DXB flights 2 months out though so I had to scramble for an alternative. Emirates had the only other direct DXB-PRG flights and were ~ 3 times the price at >$1000! I finally settled on Aeroflot (SU) flying via Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) for a much more reasonable $550 per person. The new flights also meant we got to stay an extra 14 hours in Prague so worked out well in the end despite the higher cost.
Getting a drink airside before our 2:15am flight to Moscow.
Our Aeroflot A320 waiting at the gate.
Chicken and rice with shrimp salad before trying to get some sleep on the red eye flight.
At Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) where we arrived just before 7am.
A couple of cappacino's and a chocolate brownie to share for breakfast to refuel and recharge. Our connecting flight to Prague wasn't until 10:20am so we had a bit of time to kill.
Our A320 for the flight to Prague. SVO is a hub for Aeroflot so lots of their silver and blue planes about.
Catching up on the latest news after boarding.
Soon after take-off from SVO.
Sandwich and drink for the ~2 hour flight.
The beautiful Czech countryside as we approach Prague's Václav Havel Airport (PRG).
Using the EU passport e-gates I was through immigration in literally seconds, and after getting some Czech crowns from the ATM we headed out to catch the Airport Express bus into town.
The bus stopped at Prague Central Train Station (Praha hlavní nádraží), where we caught the metro for the short journey to the Old Town.
Changing lines at Muzeum station.
After reaching the Old Town, we walked the short distance to our hotel, Hotel Leonardo. Situated in the Old Town and a short walk from Charles Bridge.
It was about 2pm, so after quickly freshening up, we went out for some lunch at a reastaurant beside the Vltava River, where we had some delicious beef goulash and roast duck with bread and potato pancakes and red cabbage.
We then went for a walk to get a taste of central Prague.
Charles Bridge, a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river and constructed in the 14th century.
We then went back to the hotel for a nap and crashed out for a few hours.
After a decent rest and shower, we went out walking to see some more of the Old Town and find some dinner.
All the world's a stage! An Aussie enthralling the crowd in the Old Town Square.
By the Vltava River at dusk.
Quite a relaxing place to have a stroll in the evening.
Enjoying the warm summer nights.
At Meet Burger for some much needed dinner.
Where we had a mouth watering pork burger (left) and a very tasty white rabbit burger (right) with beetroot leaves, tomato, red onion, french dressing, pear poached in red wine and a side of fries. A great way to end our first day in Prague!
After going for a morning run along the Vltava River and enjoying a decent breakfast at the hotel, we walked over the Charles Bridge to Malá Strana on the western side of Prague.
And then walked up the hill to Prague Castle.
St. Vitus Cathedral.
And the very beautiful interior.
Vladislav Hall. Built between 1493–1502 , the hall was used for banquets, receptions, coronations, and even tournaments between knights jousting on horses!
One of the very photogenic royal palace guards.
A military display in the Prašná věž building.
We then went for a lesiurely walk in the Royal Palace Gardens and enjoyed the cool summer air.
Looking south over the Czech Parliament buildings and down to the many bridges over the Vltava River.
We then walked over the river back to the eastern side over into the Jewish Quarter.
The Old New Synagogue. Completed in 1270, it is Europe's oldest active synagogue.
We then stopped for lunch at pub and had juicy chicken breast stuffed with Hungarian sausage with broccoli and roast potatoes.
Dancing House. Designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in co-operation with Frank Gehry.
Dinner at the Hotel U Prince, with succulent lamb chops and pasta.
And Caramel Sundae drenched in Baileys for dessert to share.
And back to our hotel after a relaxing second day in Prague.
Breakfast in the cellar at our hotel.
A hearty breakfast for the start of day 3.
Our hotel pickup for our planned morning activity wasn't until 10:30am so we had a relaxing stroll around the Old Town again.
I had booked a morning at a local shooting range for day 3, getting to fire the following weapons (from left to right):
1. Akdal MKA 1919: A Turkish made gas operated, semi-automatic shotgun, built to resemble a M-16 rifle. We got a fire a full magazine of five rounds.
2. AR-15: The classic American assault rifle we got to fire ten 5.56×45mm NATO rounds with the red dot sight.
3. Kalashnikov AK-47: The famous Russian assault rifle for 15 rounds.
4. CZ Scorpion Evo 3: A Czech designed and made 9mm submachine gun. Again with a red dot sight we got to use for 10 shots.
5. CZ 75 Shadow: A 9mm pistol used by the Czech Police force. 10 shots with the iron sights.
6. Škorpion vz. 61: An old school Czech submachine gun for 10 shots.
Our instructor showing us the AR-15. My first time firing with a red dot sight.
With the Akdal MKA 1919 semi-auto shotgun. My first time also firing a shotgun, so was a little apprehensive with the recoil, but was quite manageable.
The AR-15 with the magazine freshly loaded with 10 rounds.
And the CZ Scorpion Evo 3, quite a 'sci-fi' looking weapon.
Our instructor showing us how to properly brace and hold the weapon while firing to control the recoil.
Rianda firing the MKA 1919 shot gun, quite a formidable looking cannon!
Our targets at the end. Not too bad for the 20 metre range.
After the adrenaline filled morning, they dropped us back into the centre of town where went to a riverside pub and shared some sausage and potato pancakes for a light lunch.
We then walked into the New Town area, where a protest/demonstration was beginning to form.
After a bit of searching, we then went to the Museum of Communism.
The museum was founded by an American businessman, Glenn Spicker, in 2001.
The museum was a great insight into recent history of the Czech Republic and life under communism rule.
Spicker gathered much of the museum's collection of artifacts at flea markets and junk shops in the Prague area.
After the museum visit, the demonstration was now in full swing, with a guy giving a speech on a megaphone and the crowd cheering him on.
We then walked back into the Old Town area and had some Trdelník, a traditional Czech/Slovak pastry sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
After having a rest back at the hotel, we then went out for dinner and a concert.
Dinner was al fresco at an Italian restaurant.
Anti-pesto for the starter.
I had the Chicken Carpaccio with Spaghetti and Rianda had the Risotto.
The classical concert was performed by the Royal Czech Orchestra in the same building where the film 'Amadeus' was shot. We were treated to 70 minutes of amazing music, from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Beethoven's No. 5, Mozart, Bach, Dvořák and much more.
The Soprano giving an amazing performance. The venue was quite small and only a smallish crowd, so really added to the intimacy and energy of it all.
The violin soloist. His performance was also really breathtaking. Click on the photo below to listen to a short clip of the music we got to enjoy:
And the Cellist giving an overwhelming performance, definitely deserving of the standing ovation at the end! Click on the photo below to listen to the Cellist in action:
After the memorable and amazing concert, we went out for an evening walk across Charles Bridge.
Prague Castle across the Vltava River.
We then walked over to a food market in Malá Strana.
Quite a lively place in the summer evening with everyone enjoying the summer night.
And then back over Charles Bridge at the end of after another great day in Prague.
At Staroměstská to catch the metro to Praha hlavní nádraží.
We then bought train tickets for the 40 minute ride to Karlštejn.
Passing through some of the small town stations on the way.
Tha plan was to visit Karlštejn Castle. There was a 20 minute walk from the train staion to the castle which very picturesque and a great way to experience the Czech countryside.
Karlštejn Castle on top of the hill.
At the castle, looking back down the valley.
Our Czech tour guide showing us around the castle.
The castle was founded in founded 1348 by Charles IV, and is one of the most famous castles in the Czech Republic.
We then walked down into Karlštejn village for a Latte macchiato and a Caffè Americano.
And the duck confit and chicken tortilla for lunch. Very cheap and only 320 CZK (~$13USD) for the two coffees and lunch.
And back at Praha hlavní nádraží after a great day in the Czech countryside.
Some of the beautiful architecture at Praha hlavní nádraží.
Catching the metro again to the Old Town.
We then climbed up the Old Town Hall to enjoy the view below.
Everyone poised to watch the Astronomical Clock of the Old Town Hall.
Enjoying some Budweiser Budvar in Old Town Square.
And Pork knee and ham steak with a couple of glasses of local red wine for a great last dinner in Prague.
Enjoying our last evening in Prague (the Astronomical Clock in the background left).
Lemon ice cream for two for dessert for our last evening in Prague.
After checking out of our hotel, we had one last stroll through the Old Town.
At Havelský Market, first founded in 1232.
Lots of tasty fruit.
And I spent the last of my Czech crowns on some chocolate.
Back at Václav Havel Airport to begin the journey home.
Roast chicken for lunch. Again no queue at the EU passport e-gates and was through in seconds.
Our Czech Airlines (OK) A319 for the flight to SVO.
Decent snack on the 2 hour flight.
And about to board the Aeroflot A320 for the final flight back to Dubai and the end of an amazing and memorable long weekend in Prague!