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Prague, Czech Republic: Days 8-10 – Big Family European Expedition

    Day 8 (continued) – 10 Prague

    We entered our Prague rental address into the GPS, got to Prague, and close to our rental but not exactly to our rental.  The streets in Prague are narrow and winding. We had some difficulty fitting our enormous vehicle through some of the streets and getting the directions to the exact location as some of the streets seemed to end to driving traffic though continuing to pedestrians.  We texted our hosts for directions and they were incredibly pleasant and helpful.  They recommended we enter the John Lennon Wall into our GPS instead which lead us right to the courtyard of the wall which is where our apartment was located.

    We arrived late to the rental but it was exactly what we were expecting and literally right across from the John Lennon Wall. We were in an apartment this time. The complex had its own fenced courtyard.  Our apartment was on the second floor.  We had a full kitchen with eat in dining area, two bathrooms, laundry and a foyer.  There was a large open space that I imagine could have been a living area but contained two beds for 2 ( one a pullout) where 4 of the kids slept.  It also had a large bedroom with a bed and another pullout where the other 3 of us slept.  We looked out the bedroom window to the garden of the French Embassy and out another side of the apartment to see the Petrin Observation Tower (Prague’s version of a mini  Eiffel Tower).  St Charles Bridge was an easy walk and the Lennon Wall was directly out of our courtyard.

    We took a walk across the St Charles Bridge to get an overview of the city.  Prague is known as the “City of Spires” – they were seemingly everywhere.  The entire city is just gorgeous; the entire thing – and it was spectacular at night!  

    We were excited to explore the next day.  The kids think a paddle boat would be a fun to see the city and the older 3 saw that they have Zorbing on the river!  Neither of which is very cultural but both would be exciting ways to experience Prague with kids.

    We found a delicious Czech restaurant right by our rental, the Velkoprevorsky Mlyn.  We were able to try goulash, sauerkraut, and Czech beer. Delish! 

    We came home to unpack and the kids began to explore.  After a bit, I could hear them giggling so I peeked in to see what was going on. My oldest had found a guitar and was playing “Beat It”  by Michael Jackson and my youngest was dancing with a mannequin.

    Well, to be precise, a half a mannequin that was wearing a Mexican sombrero.  A special sort of surprise not expected in the house (really, where would this be expected??)  but thoroughly enjoyed!  Unique memories made.

    Day 9 – Prague Art, Zorbing, Saint Vitus Cathedral, Castle

    Scott was up early and set out with one of the kids to find some breakfast. They found bagels and bakery goods and on the way home, they stopped to play for a bit at the park which looked over the river and the St Charles Bridge. 

    They also enjoyed some art – some interesting art indeed.  When they came back, my son told me he saw two guys peeing in the park and my husband explained it was in fact, art.  (lol- it’s a famous statue in Malá Strana created by David Cerný.)   It can receive text messages and is capable of moving a certain body part (yes, THAT body part) to write the messages in what looks like their urine streams.

    After breakfast, we headed out; stopping at the John Lennon Wall which been graffitied and changed already from the day before!  We took pictures and listened to a musician play “Let it Be” as we did. It was a surreal experience.

    We continued on with plans to paddle boat on the river to enjoy the views of the city from the river. But as we were walking, we passed a stand where people were zorbing. (For those not familiar, Zorbing involves climbing into what looks like a large hamster ball to run inside in hamster fashion in/over water).   

    The kids had wanted to do this for a few years and finally talked us into it.   (It was hilarious to watch them as they tried to stand, run and summersault.  The experience provided much laughter both for them as they did it and for us as we watched.  It was their favorite part of the day!) 

    After, we rented boats for an hour and peddled around the Vltava River where we could see the castle, the spires, the bridge,  and unexpectedly a huge yellow octopus, amongst other amazing views.

    We stopped for lunch at Kolovna Olympia and again enjoyed some traditional Czech foods and drinks. 

    It was delicious – highly recommended. Afterward, some were ready for a mid-afternoon nap (mom and a few kids)  and some were ready for shopping and park playing for others (dad and the rest of the kids). 

    We came back to the apartment for our midday siesta and we could hear a singer from the wall –  his music wafting through the open windows of our apartment.  He was fantastic.  After we rested, we headed back out and stopped to watch and listen some more.   I’m not exaggerating when I recall this as one of my favorite parts of our vacation.  He ended by singing the Coldplay song, “Fix You”.  I later downloaded the song to play on the trip and now it elicits such wonderful memories from our vacation whenever I hear it.

    We regrouped for a walk up to the castle including St. Vitus Cathedral.

    And across the bridge for a bit more shopping and of course ice cream.  We had hoped to take a walking tour for the next day our choices included WWII history and communism effects in Prague.

    Day 10 – Petrin Observation Tower

    We woke up and ate. My plan for the morning included taking some pictures with my oldest as I figured if I took enough some would have to work for his senior pictures.  

    Though I am not a professional photographer – at least the photos would have my son and Europe in them which was a good start.

    Scott took the other kiddos to the park. But as we were all finished and ready to meet up to go for a walking tour of the city, one of the kids started feeling poorly.  We opted to skip the tour and rest a bit at home. We weren’t sure if the change in schedule or foods were bothering his tummy. We had read that most of Europe (especially Iceland and Switzerland) had exceptional drinking water but with seven of us we were trying to play it safe and drank a majority of bottled waters. 

    Scott was able to visit a grocery store to try to find calming foods to make something soothing at the house. Our kids love butter noodles with parm and applesauce (seemed boring enough). Scott guessed and nailed the butter and parm but we think he might have ended with baby food instead of applesauce. Shopping was much easier on the wallet too. Pasta, bread sticks, cheese, apples, bananas, 4 yogurts, the parm, butter and baby food plus 3 waters and a Diet Coke for less than 20$.

    Miraculously (thank God), the child felt better with food, rest and a bath so we headed out to see a few more things.

    First stop was the astronomical clock which was built more than 600 years ago! It was under construction while we were there but it was interesting to see. 

    The kids were less impressed than we were though and right after we watched it at the top of the hour, the kids were ready to leave and find some ice cream.  We ventured back to the restaurant from the previous day as the kids had seen some of the available desserts and wanted to try some.  We ordered ice cream and cake and tried to figure out a plan for the remainder of the day.

    We were close to the funicular leading up to the Petrin Observation Tower so we decided to go see that.

    The funicular was a bit spotty for us as there were no attendants to help purchase tickets and we couldn’t get our card to work AND it only took coins which we didn’t have enough of! We had to go find a shop to break our paper money (which also involved language hurdles) and then guess on the tickets but we did it! “Everything is an adventure” is our trip motto,  and we’ve managed well so far!!

    We purchased tickets and walked up 299 steps to the top and the view was crazy awesome! The little kids weren’t sure about it as the top of the climb is exposed to the elements and it was sprinkling rain.  We separated about halfway up and the big kids walked up with mom.  Back down, one of the younger kids decided he could do it, so we climbed back up.  Back down and the littlest decided she was going it so we climbed back to the top once more!!  Beautiful view plus a workout!

    For just a bit more, we purchased an add-on ticket to a mirror maze.  None of the kids thought we should go but the adults did as it was such a cheap add-on.  The kids ended up thinking it was a riot!!

    I’m sure most have done something similar but this one was so clean you honestly couldn’t tell where the mirrors were and where the passage was!! It was funny to bump into the mirrors thinking they were a passageway or to see a reflection and think it was a real person!   There was a hall of funhouse mirrors at the end of the maze – mirrors that contort the reflected image.  The kids also thought this was hilarious – with long arms or short bodies.  

    This was another of my favorite memories of the trip, as we were all laughing hysterically.  (one reason that I love spontaneity as no one has any preconceived notions – so here are no expectations to live up to —  this was really just an added benefit to the main attraction and ended up being a trip favorite).

    We walked down past the castle, ate dinner, and played cards at home.  Our time in Prague had ended and we were to leave for Austria the next day, but as we discussed our time here, we all truly enjoyed the time we had in Prague.

    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa Jorgensen is a mother to four children including twins. She recognized the necessity for a comprehensive resource of hotels that cater to big families with rooms and suites for 5, 6, 7, or 8 people in a single room while traveling with her own family. In 2008, she established SixSuitcaseTravel to compile a database of such hotels. Over time, the website has grown to include travel advice, itineraries, road trip suggestions, national park guides, and more. Theresa takes pleasure in assisting other big families in creating unforgettable travel experiences.