From Prague to Karlstejn Castle

View from the Klementinum

View from the Klementinum

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The Klementinum in Old Town Prague is a very old institution comprising of many historic buildings, the major ones being the Mirror Chapel, the Baroque Library Hall, and the Astronomical Tower. The way to enter this complex is by signing up for a tour on the spot which costs 220 CZK and lasts for about 45-60 minutes.

I was drawn to the Klementium because of the infamous Baroque Library Hall — listed as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. I was astounded when I learned that it houses 20 000 books beginning from the early 17th century, with works from some of Europe’s finest philosophers, scientists, astronomers, and musicians.

We weren’t allowed to take photos of the Baroque Library Hall, unfortunately, but I was simply happy to have been there and experienced its enchanting beauty. A steep climb up the Astronomical Tower later, I was also greeted by a lovely treat: a picturesque view of Prague.

Following the tour of the Klementinum, I grabbed another trdelnik to go. I had had five trdelniks during my stay: three plain cinnamon and sugar ones from three different stands, one with chocolate or Nutella (I didn’t take a photo of it), and one with vanilla ice cream (I bought an umbrella and braved the pouring rain just so I could try this last one on my last day in Prague).

I loved the plain cinnamon and sugar trdelnik the most, the best one being from the stand directly across from my hostel. You could tell a place had good eats if everyone (especially locals) were lining up to wait; and how lucky I was, in retrospect, to be greeted by the sweet scent of this delicious creature every time I exited my abode.

Little market selling souvenirs, local fruits, and biscuits and treats

Little market selling souvenirs, local fruits, and biscuits and treats


The same day I visited the Klementinum and had a trdelnik, I stumbled across a lovely lady selling strudels at a stand in the market. I had read that the strudel is one of the gems that one ought to try in Prague, so when I saw it, my eyes began salivating even though my tummy was already satisfied.

When I asked the lady which flavour to try — she had apple, poppy, and plum poppy — she recommended her personal favourite: poppy. It was flavourful with a unique texture from the poppy seeds. I also tried the apple strudel the morning I left Prague; it was from the local bakery where I had bought the medovnik cake.


The medovnik or honey cake, a classic Czech cake layered with honey, was another famous dessert I had tried in Prague (this was on a different day as well, I promise). I found it slightly dry with a crumb texture, but at the same time, oh so moist and soft. It wasn’t too sweet either, which I loved.

When I first met this cake, I thought it rather reserved, complex, and hard to get to know. Yet while it looked simple and unassuming, to me it was imbued with secrets and wisdom of the ages. Needless to say, after getting to know it in all its depths, I fell in love and felt transformed, for I knew then and there what I had been missing in all my years of existence.

(I think this post speaks for itself, but while I became a human baguette with four dangly limbs during my time in Paris, I definitely became a walking cube of sugar while in Prague.)

Naturesque scenery on my walk to Karlstejn Castle

Naturesque scenery on my walk to Karlstejn Castle

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Besides having a list of treats to eat in Prague, I also had a list of day trips to take out of the city, with the Karlstejn Castle being one of them. Only 29km southwest of Prague, it made for a convenient day trip, with trains leaving regularly throughout the day from Prague’s Main Station (Hlavní nádrazí), which was about a 5- to 10- minute walk from Wencesclas Square.

I did get confused when I arrived at the station though, because I couldn’t read Czech on my ticket and I wasn’t aware that I’d know the platform number until only 15 minutes before departure. Plus, there was always that one question, “Is this the right train?” which I’d ask the next confused-looking individual, whom I’d often resort to uniting with in solidarity. Funnily, I met an elderly man at the platform who, upon learning that I was from Canada, sarcastically said that he was surprised I wasn’t wearing furry knee high boots. We both laughed.

Once I arrived at the Karlstejn train station, it was a 20- to 30- minute walk up the hill until I reached the Castle. The hike itself was the highlight of my experience; not only were there quaint boutiques, cafes, and restaurants along the way to serenade my eyes, but the gothic Castle looked evermore majestic from a distance.

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