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Vrtbov Garden

For whatever reason, there seems to be no general consensus on the English naming of this town area between the castle and the river. I have read books calling this the Lesser Town, the Little Town, the Small Town, the Lesser Quarter, etc. In Czech, it’s called Mala Strana. This is where most embassies located (not so sure if Canadian embassy is there) You can also find quite a few churches and palaces. Those palaces may not be as grand and impressive, but some of their courtyard/gardens are worthy for a visit. In fact, some of the gardens are not easy to find because the surrounding buildings do not have obvious entrances to lead people there. One time, we were led to this one building (actually it was the Senate) by a guidebook. We weren’t sure where to go next, then someone walking by, speaking in English, telling us that he remembers there is a nice garden right around corner behind this driveway. We followed him a little bit, saw a guard standing there (it’s the Senate after all). I thought we were trespassing or something. But the guard smiled and pointed us the way to the garden.

These gardens in Mala Strana are highly recommended by most travel guidebooks, and we have seen other tourists there as well. But these places seem like a well-kept secret, and that makes it even more enjoyable. The gardens are not as big as the ones we saw in Salzburg or Vienna, but they are just as nice (probably prettier at the time we were there) Within Mala Strana, there is a big green space occupied by the Petrin Hill. We actually walked up the hill to get to the Petrin Tower, but we didn’t go up on it; we figure we don’t need another bird’s eye view, and save the admission fee. After that we passed by a quiet residential neighborhood called Hradcany, and headed back to the castle.

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