posted by Anne & Kirk Woodyard
Music and Markets Tours
Little by little the mountains of snow are beginning to melt outside my window, and as the winter winds down (no more snow storms, PLEASE!) thoughts of springtime in Prague fill my mind.
Most of the posts on the Slow Travel Tours blog stay in western Europe, but we’ve followed the music further east, to include one of Europe’s oldest and best known music festivals in our Music and Markets tour itinerary. Why did we choose Prague?
Well, in addition to the fact that the Prague Spring Festival, now in its 65th year (and the granddaddy of the plethora of classical music festivals now in existence) hosts stellar musicians from around the world, performing in supremely beautiful settings such as Prague’s majestic castle, there’s the city itself.
A living, breathing fairy-tale, with its cobbled streets, Gothic spires, fanciful façades, and a magnificent hilltop castle presiding over it all, Prague survived the World Wars of the previous century with its architectural layers of history intact.
Here are a few of our don’t-miss Prague highlights:
- Yes, it’s touristy, and you’ll be packed in with hundreds of other gawkers from around the world, but you can’t miss the striking of the 15th century Town Hall clock, with its challenging-to-interpret astrological components and saints marching on the hour
- A stroll around Mala Strana, Little Town, our favorite area of Prague, replete with glorious gardens, quiet corners, majestic churches, and cobblestone lanes virtually unchanged since the 1400’s
- Dinner in a castle – our guests always enjoy the gracious service, delicious candlelit meals and slightly shabby elegance of Palffy Palac
- A memorable concert (or two or three or…) in one of Prague’s matchless concert halls, such as the Estates Theater, where Mozart conducted the premier of his Don Giovanni in 1787
- Choose a souvenir worth keeping – perhaps a ring or necklace of garnet or amber, both Czech specialties, or a goblet or two of fine Bohemian crystal
- Even though I’m not a beer enthusiast, I have to include world-renowned Czech beer on the list. Quaff a Pilsner Urquell, invented here in 1842, at an authentic hospoda, or pub, such as Baracnicka rychta in Mala Strana
- Check out Cubist architecture – Prague’s the only city in the world where this art form influenced architecture. Seek out the Cubist Lamp Post (on Jungmannovo namesti, just off of Wenceslas Square), and stop for coffee and pastries in the Cubist café at the House at the Black Madonna
These are just a few ideas for your trip to Prague – we’d love to hear of other places to see and things to do in Prague – share your favorites!
The best way to describe us (Kirk and Anne Woodyard) is that we’re interested in the stories that make the places we visit come alive.
We’ve visited Europe more times than we can count, learned some entertaining stories there, and met some warm and helpful people who also enjoy the wonders of music and life in Europe.
Between our music-related travels, we split our time between our homes near Washington DC and the Languedoc in the south of France. We look forward to sharing these stories and friends and experiences with our Music and Markets guests.
While both of us have experience in organizing travel and music groups Kirk’s background is in project management and competitive writing, and Anne is an accomplished pianist with over thirty years of teaching experience, and a travel and food writer specializing in France and Italy.