Prague is supposed to be all about spires and domes and gothic towers. Thus we start with this picture, the ultra-modern Dancing Building. As it turns out, we stayed in Andel (Aparthotel City 5, highly recommended) and after crossing the bridge this is really the first of Prague's sights that we saw. It's well.. Modern. We took a picture and moved on.
This is sort of a classic view of Prague Castle (Hrad) from across the river. St. Vitus is the gothic looking thing at the top. The nearly continuous long row of white buildings is actually Prague Castle. Which is to say, Prague Castle isn't so much a castle as a bunch of buildings enclosing some central courtyards -- there are not really any fortifications per se. The area below the castle walls is Mala Strana where we ended up spending a lot of time.
Charles Bridge is the go-to place in Prague if you want to be surrounded by as many people as possible, and/or be pickpocketed, and/or buy not particularly good pastels of Prague city scenes. That might seem a bit cynical but it's basically an old bridge with a horde of tourists on it. It's pedestrian but so full of pedestrians most of the time that it is much easier to cross any other bridge across the Vltava. There is however a very scenic playground beneath the west end of the bridge on Kampa Island which we visited several times.
Prague is actually not a bad place to visit with a toddler. Other than visiting Kampa Island playground at least once a day we didn't have to modify what would have been our non-toddler itinerary all that much. That's largely because Prague is mostly a wandering about sort of town. It certainly has a few museums but they're not really the epic all-day sorts of museums you'd find in other European capital cities.
Old Town Prague is ground zero for wandering around aimlessly. There's also an astronomical clock here if you find that you need a specific destination but it's not all that different from other astronomical clocks except for the much larger crowd gathered to watch it on the hour. Old Town Square (pictured here) and Wenceslas Square (in new town to the north) are the best places to find street food in Prague.
Petrin tower stands in the center of a large green space on the west bank of the Vltava. Since climbing the Petrin tower actually involves climbing (no lift) and neither of us relished a couple hundred steps holding a child, we skipped it. Supposedly the view up there is great. There are however good views from elsewhere on the hill too. There are also a lot of trails in the Petrin area and it is generally quiet compared to the surrounding parts of Prague.
This view for instance is along the walkway between the Petrin Tower and the Strahov Monastery. The Strahov Monastery has a spectacular library that no one is allowed to go into. That amounts to taunting.
Prague is maybe not the world's foremost culinary destination. There are some good dishes out there but by and large it's basic meat and bread central European food. There are a wide variety of 'dumplings' in Czech cuisine that appear with almost every dish. On our second day in Prague, Melanie stated about her bread dumplings: "Back where I come from, we just call this bread."
Indeed most bread dumplings seem to basically be a compressed slice of white bread. To compensate for this, Prague has a spectacular beer scene.
This is Golden Lane (or alley depending on your preferred translation). This is one specific street in the castle area that actually has an admission charge! For most visitors to the castle you get one of the package tickets that allow admission into multiple attractions in the castle complex. This generally includes the cathedral, basilica, one or more museums and this particular street full of cute cottages. An assortment of craftsmen have lived here over the centuries - at one point it was primarily goldsmiths, hence the name. Kafka kind of sort of lived here at one point in that his sister lived here. Either way it's a bookstore now which is somewhat disappointing.
St. Vitus stands at the center of the castle complex surrounded by open courtyard. John of Nepomuk is the patron saint of Bohemia. This gigantic mound of silver is his tomb. There's also a statue on the Charles Bridge and another marker indicating where he was thrown into the Vltava River (which was apparently fatal).
The neighborhood behind Old Town (from this view) is Zizkov. The ugly tower standing in the middle of it is thus the Zizkov Tower. We didn't visit the Zizkov Tower but we wanted to include a picture of it because even from this distance it has what look like giant ants crawling on it. Those are actually large sculptures of crawling babies. There's really nothing more to say about that.
The Klausova Synagogue is at the center of Prague's Jewish monuments area. It is part of the Jewish museum now and encompasses the old Jewish cemetery as well. Down the street is the Old New Synagogue which in some versions of the legend is where the Golem was located. Along the street between the two synagogues are a dozen street stalls selling Golem merchandise. It's a bit on the tacky side but if you are in the market for Golem pot holders I don't really know where else you'd go.
Jewish cemeteries, especially with inscriptions, are rare in Central Europe now. The one here in Prague is quite impressive. If you aren't paying entrance to the Jewish museum (and thus able to walk through it), there's a view through the gate on the west side at Listopadu.
Would we have gone to the Prague Zoo before we had a one-year old with us? Maybe, it's hard to say. The Prague Zoo is tricky to reach from central Prague. It requires a combination of metro and bus, or tram and bus, or a boat which only runs on weekends. Once you've arrived here it's actually an enormous zoo. The bulk of it lies on a plateau above the river. There are also sections across the road from the main plateau and another section in the flood plain below (shown here). There's even a chairlift contraption to get you down there (or up here). Far out in the distance in this picture are Prague Castle and the Petrin Tower.