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Central Europe River Cruise Tour from Paris to Prague with Avalon Waterways


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Prague, Czech Republic - Central Europe Cruise Tour with Avalon Waterways
Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge in Prague (c) Linda Garrison
Eighty of the 88 of us disembarked the Avalon Tranquility the next morning in Nuremberg. The other eight were staying onboard for another week as the ship sailed on to Budapest. Our ship was only half full the week we were onboard, but it would be full the next week. I asked one of the waiters where everyone would sit when the ship was full (there were only a few tables empty), and he said they would set the tables for eight rather than six like we had. No wonder it seemed like we had plenty of room at each table! We had also noticed that the dining room was not as noisy as seen on other river ships. Being only half-full may have contributed to our (somewhat) quiet dinners, too.

Our Avalon Waterways cruise tour group left the ship at 8:00 am and rode the four hours to Prague, stopping once on the autobahn for a potty break. Our guide said that sometimes buses are stopped at the border, but it is rare. We barely knew when we crossed from Germany into the Czech Republic. That's one advantage of the European Union. We entered Europe in Paris, passed through four countries, and never had to show our passport until we left Prague.

We were at the Intercontinental Hotel about 11:30 and in our rooms soon after. This hotel is in a perfect location in Prague and I highly recommend it. We had a large room with two queen-sized beds. One side of the hotel overlooks the Vltava River and the Cechuv Bridge (the one with yellow columns and the metronome at the opposite side), the other overlooks the Paris Street. It's less than 10 minutes to stroll to the Old Town Square, and only about 20 minutes to stroll to the famous Charles Bridge.

Mom and I walked to a nearby pizza restaurant for lunch. While we were finishing, six others from our tour came in - small world. Guess we were all ready for pizza! After lunch, mom decided to rest with her book in the room and I took an optional two-hour walking tour of the "Secrets of Prague". We crossed the bridge and wandered in some of the narrow streets and gardens of the government building area and the Little Quarter. I'm not sure I would have found them by myself, as we took shortcuts through Metro stations and down narrow alleyways. Very fun, and I was glad to have the audio "whisper devices" to keep up. We had an inside tour of one of the palaces and walked by the US Embassy and by the Lennon Wall filled with graffiti and the large wall done up to look like a grotto. Leaving the Little Quarter, we crossed the pedestrian Charles Bridge, with its many statues, trinket stalls, and even more tourists. (lots of pickpockets, too). I was back at the hotel by 4:15.

Right before we got back, our guide told us that we should go towards the Old Town Square to see the end of Prague Fashion Week, which was concluding at 5:15 that afternoon. I went back to the room, grabbed mom, and we walked just a block down the tree-lined Paris Street and found masses of people watching models parade up and down a 1-block runway down the middle of the blocked street. Guess it was really appropriate that they used the Paris Street, which is lined with all the expensive Parisian designer shops like Cartier jewelers. Like we've seen on Project Runway, the patrons sat in chairs lining both sides of the runway, with the masses packed in behind barriers. Since we only saw the last half hour, many people starting leaving and mom and I got a great view of the haute couture fashions of some designers unknown to me. Very fun. The rain wear was almost comical--looked like some of those cheap plastic ponchos. The models (both male and female) were gorgeous and stick thin.

After the show, we continued onto the Old Town Square, taking in the lovely old buildings and churches surrounding the large square. It even had a special bed of flowers as part of the Prague Fashion Week activities. We sat on a park bench and did some people watching. The weather was cool, but nice. We wandered around a little and found a small Czech restaurant, Kolkovna, with outdoor seating. We both had beer to drink; it's cheaper than water or diet coke.

We were exhausted, but ready to do more exploring the next day in Prague.

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