Enjoying Prague With a Dog – Part 3
So where was I? Ah yes … pet friendly Prague and all it has to offer! So far I’ve taken you on my tour of the Castle and the Little Quarter in Part 1 and then I took you over the Charles Bridge, into the Old Town and Jewish Quarter in Part 2. We have covered a lot of ground you and I but it isn’t over!
Today I will take you “just” a smidgen outside of the main core area. Nothing major, no big long bus rides, or subways … nothing like that. Just on that fine line that marks the boundaries of the old part of the city and the rest of it.
Let’s start by crossing the Vltava River from the Old Town (where we were staying) and over to the side where the Little Quarter starts but … not using the Charles Bridge this time. Rather let us leave the core a little and cross the Cech Bridge instead.
This takes us to the very steps that lead UP to one of our favorite spots in Prague: Letná Park.
Letná Park and the Hanavský Pavilion
Letná Park is a large park named for the hill it occupies, is built on a plateau above steep embankments along the river. Letná parks elevation and location will provide you with some rather stellar views. But first you have to make it up there! Now you can take a road up, or bus but of course I love stairs and so that is what we took!
I love stairs. I really do. And the fact that I could run all those steps without a leash was just wonderful.
There is also a coffee shop there, with pillows on the steps. But we had just started our day and were eager to discover the park.
It’s a special park you see. It’s here that during the Velvet Revolution, happened. On the 25th and 26 November 1989 approximately 750,000 people protested in here. These protests were followed by a general nationwide strike on 27 November 1989. And it’s how the Czech Republic gained its freedom from communism.
But the main reason most people make the hike up is to go take a closer look at the beautiful cast- iron Hanavský Pavilion.
Built in 1891 for the Jubilee World Fair it’s constructed from cast iron, masonry and glass in the Dutch Baroque style. We were particularly taken by the double-flight staircase and its richly decorated banisters.
The prince of Hanau donated the pavilion to the City of Prague before the World Fair ended. The construction was taken apart and then rebuilt on the new designated site at the edge of Letenské Sady (Letná Park) in December 1891. The pavilion was in the beginning used more as a shelter for the park visitors and only later became a restaurant.
After our dessert and coffee break, we headed in the direction of the castle. It’s a long stroll from the pavilion back to the castle, but well worth it. There are numerous gardens that make up that park. I liked stumbling across a park dedicated to writer, poet and playwright Julius Zeyer. It is a very melodramatic monument.
And of course, it’s also a way to see the back gardens of the castle. Sadly those are not pet friendly so what you will mostly see is the wall that surrounds them.
But from time to time, you will get a gate rather than a wall and you will catch a glimpse of the rather large, ornate botanical style gardens.
And of course eventually you end up back at the castle proper. Like us, you will likely decide it’s time for refreshment and you’ll sit down and enjoy one of the many spots the castle grounds have to offer.
Vltava River Tour
Now, normally we are not a big fan of these types of outings. But on a really nice sunny day after a long night partying at our friends wedding, we realized that all we wanted to do was float on the water, enjoy a drink and a plate of fries and soak in the rays and relax. That is when Dad decided to enquire as to the pet friendliness of the Prague Boats River Cruises.
And it turns out that they are pet friendly! At no extra cost too. Wooohooo! So armed with our guide, we boarded the boat. Settled down, ordered our food and drinks (its cash only!) and for two hours we just enjoyed the slow and steady pace and stellar views.
We docked at the Cech Bridge Dock (yep that same bridge we saw earlier that takes you to Letná Park!) that’s #8 on that map and headed towards Charles bridge from there.
It was so great; the guide is really well done. The little silhouettes make it easy to recognize the monuments and buildings you are passing. I loved the time we stood still near the Kampa Dock as we waited our turn to go down the one and only lock.
After spotting the familiar Eifel like tower on Petrin hill, I turned to look at the other side of the river and saw a beautiful dancing building! I really do love that crazy modern masterpiece. The house that was there before was destroyed in WWII by USA friendly fire (tisk tisk tisk…)! So in 1996, it was time to add something fun and whimsical to the Prague skyline and wash the sadness away from the area. That is how, in honor of those foolish Americans to show there was no ill feelings, the Dancing House was built in honor of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
The river cruise was really pleasant. I saw so much: islands, and breweries and theatres and monasteries. We went under at least 8 bridges and chatted with some really nice people.
And I must admit that we now feel like river cruises are really a rather wonderful way to get the lay of the land … in an ironic way. But seeing everything on land from the river does make it clear how these cities were built for trade from the river.
So there you have it Dear Reader. My little extra segment for enjoying Prague with a dog. I`m glad I wrote a part 3, it`s a first really but I hope you agree it was worth it! It allowed me to share with you those little extra’s that I fear far too many people miss.