Smart spend­ing

Money Magazine Australia - - CONTENTS - SU­SAN HELY

1. Walk: In the cob­bled streets of the Staré Mesto, or old city, as well as the New Town (built in the 14th cen­tury and baroque times), you can see Prague’s rich his­tory for free – Charles Bridge lined with re­li­gious stat­ues, Old Town Square with me­dieval, Re­nais­sance and Baroque build­ings and churches ga­lore. Visit early or late in the day to avoid the teem­ing tourists, es­pe­cially on Charles Bridge, which spans the wide Vl­tava river. When I vis­ited at sun­rise, there were al­ready sev­eral brides and grooms pos­ing for pho­tographs.

2. Avoid: Don’t go to the big chain cafes with their ter­ri­ble cof­fee. In­stead, eat at the charm­ing Savoy restau­rant, which serves some of Prague’s best cof­fee and pas­tries. Or go to Tri­cafe near Charles Bridge for ter­rific cof­fee, cakes and food. Or visit Café Lou­vre, one of Prague’s old­est cafes, which opened in 1902.

3. Cross: Walk over Charles Bridge to the pic­turesque Lesser Town on the left side of the river and see David Cerny’s stat­ues be­side the Franz Kafka mu­seum and his gi­ant baby sculp­tures at Kampa con­tem­po­rary art mu­seum. Take your mark­ers to the John Len­non wall, where protesters painted homages to The Bea­tles in com­mu­nist days, and leave a mes­sage of peace and love.

4. Visit: At the com­mu­nist mu­seum you can hear about life un­der the dic­ta­tor­ship from 1948 to 1989 when the Rus­sians drove out the Nazis who had oc­cu­pied Cze­choslo­vakia since 1938. The Rus­sians stayed and es­tab­lished a se­cret po­lice with over 200,000 in­form­ers to spy and re­port on fam­ily, friends and work­ers. The mu­seum doc­u­ments the har­row­ing 41 years that in­cluded send­ing any­one sus­pi­cious to labour camps, the Prague Spring upris­ing and the Vel­vet Revo­lu­tion.

5. Ride: Take the fu­nic­u­lar up to Pražský hrad, Eu­rope’s big­gest cas­tle, to visit the 600-year-old St Vi­tus Cathe­dral. Its col­lec­tion of gold ec­u­meni­cal trea­sures stud­ded with pre­cious stones is a must-see. Walk through the palace build­ings and parks, in­clud­ing Golden Lane, to see the colour­ful minia­ture houses of the work­ers.

Mon­u­men­tal view ... clock­wise from above, Charles Bridge at sun­rise; colour­ful baroque build­ings; tra­di­tional pas­try, known as trdel­nik, filled with ice-cream for a modern twist; me­dieval as­tro­nom­i­cal clock.

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