Saturday, September 8, 2007

Travelling downtown

We figured after being here an entire week, it was high time to travel into town as a family. I have been doing this route for the last week to get to work, but this was the first time for Erin and the kids to jump on the Prague Public Transit system. The system consists of buses, trams and underground metros, and we took all three today on our trip from our home in the outskirts of Prague near Nebušice to the US Embassy, just a couple of blocks away from the famous Charles Bridge in Malá Strana (the "Little side").

For any of you planning a visit, here's a cheat sheet for getting downtown. Keep in mind that the times below factor in a stroller and three kids (and a little dawdling for photos along the way.) An average commute would talk 30-40 minutes, depending on how well you time your arrivals at the various transfer points. The various stops are hyperlinked to their corresponding timetables - the underlined stop on the timetables is where you are, the times listed are usually broken out into Weekday, Saturday, and Sunday schedules. Things seem to run pretty much on schedule around here. A 20 crown ($1) ticket (you can buy one from the first bus driver with exact change) will get you all the way there. Remember to validate the ticket on the bus as soon as you get on (there's a machine near each door.) Click here for all the details!

9:38 - Leave the house, and walk through the neighborhood to the Nad Habrovkou bus stop.

9:44 - Arrive at the bus stop.

9:58 - Get on buses 161, 254 or 312 in the direction of the Dejvická metro station.

You can either take the bus all the way to Dejvická and jump on the metro, or hop off two stops down the road at the Horoměřická stop, and catch the #20 tram which will take you directly to your final destination at Malostranské náměstí (the central square of Malá Strana). We took the metro this time.

10:07 - Arrive at the Dejvická metro station. This is the Easternmost stop on the Green "A" Line of the metro system.

10:20 - Get on the metro, headed towards town (it only goes one way from this stop).

10:23 - Hop off the metro two stops later, at the Malostranská stop.

At this point, you can either catch the number 12, 20, 22 or 23 trams from the Malostranská tram stop right outside the metro station, or enjoy a beautiful walk through the gardens of the Wallenstein Palace to Malostranské náměstí - the central square of Malá Strana. We chose the leisurely stroll through the gardens, admiring the statues, fountains, and wandering peacocks. The Palace is now the home of the Czech Senate. At a brisk pace, this walk would take 5-10 minutes, about the amount of time you'd spend waiting for and riding a tram.

10:46 - Arrive at Malostranské náměstí. Prague Castle overlooks this square from above.

From this square, the Charles Bridge is just a stone's throw away, to the East down Mosteka street. We walked one block South to Tržiště street, turning right (West).

10:52 - Arrive at the Embassy. It's about 100 meters up the street, at Tržiště 15. Look for the US Flag and you can't miss it!

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