Travel Treasure: Prague's Old Town Square

There are few places in the world that, when mentioned, evoke the kind of mystical and enchanted fairy tale world that Disney could only dream about getting its money-making paws on.  Romania and Hanoi come to mind.  As do Paris, Vienna, Neuschwanstein, Kyoto, Venice, Bavaria, Machu Picchu and--okay, so maybe I could go on and on with the dreamy destinations and get swept up in a sparkly cloud of wanderlust.

But then there's Prague.  Praaaaaaague.  Just hearing it roll out of your mouth is enough to transport you to an enchanted Bohemian play land.  The 'city of 100 spires'--the Czech Republic's grand gem of a capital--is the most perfect place for the aimless wanderer with wonderful mazes of cobbled streets and plazas, and atmospheric little pubs and shops.  Its Old Town Square, with the 15th century Astronomical Clock, its 18th century churches, and its position as an anchor to the impossibly gorgeous 14th century Charles Bridge, is the heart of the city and one of my most favorite travel treasures in Europe.  This was my second visit here in about 10 years, and it really is still one of my most favorite cities.

Czech goulash and a hearty Pilsner Urquell served up for breakfast.  Of champions.

Head out to the Charles Bridge super early in the morning, and you can 'almost' have the place to yourself.

Just don't look them in the eye.

It's not all churches and nuns here!

The city once overshadowed by the red shadow of Communism is now one of the hottest destinations in Europe--if you don't time your days right (I'm talking to you, sleeper-in-ers!), you could share the Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square with what feels like a good portion of the world's population.  The best thing about Prague, however, is that even the bulge of the summertime crowds aren't quite enough to distract you from an incredible time of exploring here (hint:  get lost, don't forget to look up, and if you see locals disappearing down a side street or alley, follow them!).  A city that can make even the most jaded traveler find herself in a few breathless moments, Prague is a must on any explorer's circuit, and definitely one of my most memorable.