Our stay in Prague was booked through British Airways and their City Breaks. Unlike some travel companies, like Eurostar, British Airways had kept our credits from multiple cancelled flights to New York and we cashed them in for this City Break.
Heathrow Terminal Five
We had a very early wake up call to be ready for our taxi at 4:30 am. As expected the roads to Terminal Five were not busy at all at this time. Once in departures, we printed our boarding passes at the self service machines and went on to the baggage drop.
There was no queue visible at security, but nevertheless we were directed to walk to the other end of the terminal to the other security area. Here there were no queues, and both of us we were through to security with no problems at all.
The twist was that we had a carry on bag, and had inadvertently packed our soap bags in it. After literally 15 minutes of sorting, explaining and putting the soap bags’ contents into multiple plastic bags, scanning again, testing for explosives, then we were finally allowed to go through.
We were early enough for our flight so that we could have breakfast in the terminal. The Terminal Five Wetherspoons was our choice and after finding a free table, I went up to the bar to order tea and breakfast. Linda’s order came within a couple of minutes, but my “small“ English breakfast was nowhere to be seen. After 15 minutes I went to the bar to enquire where it was. Lots of apologies later the manager grabbed a meal off someone else’s tray and gave it to me.
Ironically our gate for the Prague flight was at the opposite end of the Terminal, so we were definitely getting an early start on our daily step count on our phones. While we sat and waited announcements were made about the flight being full. Cabin baggage could be voluntarily placed in the hold and as a reward passengers could pre-board.
This was far too good an opportunity to refuse, and we checked our carry-on bag into the hold and went and were invited to stand past check-in to wait to board the plane.
Our seats were in the next row after the emergency exit and we had lots of legroom. British Airways offered us a small bottle of water and a breakfast bar as our in-flight snack! Thank goodness for Wetherspoons.
After landing, we dawdled leaving the plane and along the airside areas of the terminal, as we made our way to immigration. Entering the Czech Republic was painless as there was only a short queue for the non-EU passport holders. The majority of passengers must’ve only been travelling with cabin baggage and our two cases were already on the carousel.
Out of the terminal we now had to look for the Airport Express. There were not a lot of signs around, but eventually we found the bus stop right at the farthest end of all the other bus stops.
We only had a 20 minute wait for the bus.
When it came it was nearly empty, and with only a handful of other passengers we boarded. We paid the driver 200 CZP for both of us. After about a 45 minute journey, the bus stopped opposite the old building of the main railway station on one side of a busy dual carriageway.
Finding Hotel Paris in Prague
This is where our wanderings began as we tried to use the printed sheets from Google Maps to find our way to the hotel. To start we caught the lift by the bus stop and went down under the road and then through the underpass to the station. From our map it looked as though we should go through the station and out the other side.
After 30 minutes, we found ourselves above the railway lines, and I switched on Google Maps on my phone! Oops we were going completely in the wrong direction.
After crossing the really busy roads, we found ourselves at the top of Wenceslas Square by the museums. Google Maps directed us away from there, and eventually we were on the route of the printed map.
To our great surprise and pleasure the Hotel Paris was by the Old Town Gate. The hotel sits on a cul-de-sac for cars and once through the ornate doors were in the large lobby. On either side of us were bronze statues of idyllic ladies.
To our left was the check-in desk. After the usual formalities we were directed to our room by a porter.
There were two small lifts that took us up to the first floor. The ceilings in the corridors were impressively high.
The walls were decorated with train posters. The posters advertised places to visit around Europe. They were mainly in French and reflected in the 1920s feel of the hotel.
Our room had two doors. The outer door swung out into the corridor, up a small step then the inner door opened into the room. On our left were wardrobes and to our right the bathroom. The view from the window overlooked the back street and a small open area by the entrance to a department store.
The room’s ceiling was as high as those of the corridors, the walls had a lined patterned wallpaper that was on a sort of compressible board. Insulation?
Old Town Square after lunch
We quickly unpacked and set off to find a way to the Old Town Square. This part of Prague was one of the places that we had visited on our earlier visits.
Once we were on Celetna we joined the crowds walking to the square. We stopped to have lunch at an almost empty restaurant, Pivnice. I had the obligatory Pilsner Urquell “to wash down” my sausages and salad.
While we sat, I was fascinated to see the manager paying a delivery guy in cash for the beer delivery.
The Old Town Square was already very busy around the Christmas market.
We walked around the market stalls before continuing onto the Charles Bridge.
On the streets leading to the bridge is this piece od street art.
After a rest back at the hotel, we went back past the Old Town Gate and walked down Na Prikope towards Winchester Square. It was disappointing that the multi-storey Tesco store had gone.
There was another small Christmas market as we turned into Wenceslas Square. Our walk from the railway station would have been simpler if we walked down the square from the museums!