With Debi in her workshop all day, I came up with another walking route to see some sights. I headed from the AirBnB through the Petrin Gardens and up to the Strahov Monastery. I would strongly encourage anyone headed to the monastery to walk through the gardens. They were quiet, have great views of Prague, and were beautiful. Plus, I like hiking.
I didn’t realize it when I made my plans, but you can only physically enter the libraries (there are two) at the Strahov Monastery if you pay for a guided tour (minimum of 4 people and more expensive). When I arrived, I bought a ticket but didn’t realize it only meant I could look into the two libraries from the doorways. 🙁
That was pretty lame.
So, if you go there, sport the extra cash and pay for the guided tour, however you need to do it. Otherwise, I don’t know that it is worth it. I did slip into the church at the monastery. It’s insanely opulent and in immaculate condition. If you want to see what Catholics did with their copious amounts of money way back when, check out the church at the monastery.
A friend recommended I visit the Museum of Miniatures that is right next to the Strahov Monastery. They prepared me fairly well, admitting that it was weird but worth the few dollars it cost. Well, it cost under $10 and it really was a 10 to 15-minute stop is all. They have microscopes set up so you can see the art on hair, seeds, and inside the eyes of needles. Mildly interesting but really only worth a visit if you have extra time and some cash to burn.
From there, I headed to the Deer Moat, not really fully understanding what it is. It turns out, the Deer Moat is a valley that separates Prague Castle from the norther Royal Garden. It’s partially wild and partially manicured and has several statues and a nice tunnel that runs through it. It was actually quite nice and I strongly recommend it for a quiet stroll through Prague. It is probably best to do it from west to east (top to bottom) and be ready to walk on some elevated and fairly narrow walkways to get in and out of the Deer Moat. If you’re afraid of heights or not very nimble, this will be problematic for you.
The eastern exit/entrance to the Deer Moat drops you out fairly close to where you would enter Prague Castle from the east. It’s kind of a strange path and not marked as a path into the Deer Moat at all, but it dictated my next stop. I was actually hoping to catch David Czerny’s Quo Vadis statue before heading to the Waldstein Garden, but I was right by the Waldstein Garden, so I headed in there instead. The Waldstein Garden is free and quite beautiful. There is a large pool with a fountain and statues (and koi), a hedge maze, sculptures, a stage, and the odd grotto and aviary that is called the Dripstone Wall. Looking at it carefully, you can find some hidden animals and faces in the dripstone. It’s definitely unique and worth the visit. I’d recommend stopping inside the garden for a bit to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
From there, I hiked back up the hill toward the western entrance of Prague Castle into an area where there are a number of embassies. If you want to see Quo Vadis, you actually have to hike past the German Embassy to a small kid’s park. In the park there is a fence with metal bars that provide a view behind the German Embassy to see Quo Vadis, which is another fun David Czerny sculpture (marked on the map).
I had planned to head to the Kafka Museum but wasn’t sure I really wanted to go. And, at the park, I saw a dirt road head south along the border of the Petrin Gardens. Knowing I could hike through the gardens again, I decided I’d skip the Kafka Museum and just head back to my AirBnB through the gardens. I followed the road, found a hiking trail, and headed up into the gardens. It turns out, that road past the park heads to a very secure gate that appears to be a back entrance to the US Embassy. As I was walking through the garden, I saw the US flag flying over a building and realized what it was.
I enjoyed my leisurely walk through the gardens and back to my AirBnB. This made for a fairly long walk – close to 10 kilometers – but it was pleasant as a lot of it was in wooded, green areas.
Here’s my route on Google Maps (kind of; it doesn’t include my walk through the Deer Moat).