When Christmas markets close in Prague, Old World charm saves the day.

Charles Bridge view by night, Prague

Armed with photos aplenty of beautiful Prague at Christmas from our recent Viking trip, we’re adding a few to this post on Tina’s theme this week: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #178 – You Choose.

But we must say this: it wasn’t the trip we had anticipated. Billed as “Christmas Along the Elbe,” our Viking river cruise promised markets in some of Europe’s prettiest cities and towns — but many had closed unexpectedly due to rising numbers of people infected with Covid. All was not lost, however, and how could it be? Beautiful cities like Prague rely on Old World charm to give us that warm, wonderful, magical feeling of Christmas — even without the much-anticipated markets.

Prague closed Christmas Markets
Closed Christmas markets in Prague’s Old Town Square

We’re sure that Viking never saw it coming: a December river cruise from Prague to Berlin promised shopping for handmade and unique specialties unique to the area, but with renewed Covid outbreaks throughout the Czech Republic the beloved shopping markets in Prague’s Old Town Square were closed for the season.

Prague Christmas Tree in Old Town Square
Christmas in Old Town Square, Prague

Christmas gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us.

David Cameron

With that information, we focused our attention on other attractions — and there were many — as we strolled along cobblestone streets staring at some of the prettiest architecture in Europe. Seeing Prague’s Old World attractions made bundling up tolerable (well, almost).

And, oh, the sites we saw.

Tourists — and lovers — lined up for pictures at the Astronomical Clock.

Prague lovers at Astronomical Clock
A quick kiss before the Astronomical Clock marks the hour.

Interesting cathedrals needed no additional holiday trim to impress anyone.

Prague Church of Our Lady Before Tyn
Church of Our Lady Before Tyn stands behind closed Christmas market stalls.

And artwork popped up even when we didn’t expect it.

Reader in an Armchair, Prague by artist Kafky
Reader in an Armchair by Kafky

On the Charles Bridge, artists captured familiar scenes with cold hands and stiff fingers . . .

Prague artist on Charles Bridge

Artists braving the cold on Prague’s Charles Bridge

and visitors (maybe residents, too) rubbed already-worn places on statues, hoping for a blessing from somewhere or someone.

Prague Charles Bridge touching for good luck
Rubbing a statue on the Charles Bridge

As dusk descended, the lamplighter did his thing, one light at a time, and we joined a merry band of followers from one street lamp to another.

As night engulfed us, we noted lighted towers, bells, and spires of venerable buildings in Old Town Square — a beauty to behold even without the Christmas markets we came to see.

Night view from Charles Bridge, Prague
Evening highlights of Prague as seen from the Charles Bridge

The lesson learned? When in Prague, there’s no lack of beautiful things to buy or old world architecture to take in. It’s enough just to be there — at Christmas or any time.

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

Lao Tzu
Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, Prague
Even with closed markets below, cathedrals and Old World buildings of Prague come to life when darkness falls.

So now you know. Covid can curtail activities, but rarely does it diminish the beauty found in grand old cities like Prague. You just have to get out and look up!

Travel on — even in tough times,

Rusha and Bert

To read more entries in this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #178 You Choose, please check out Tina’s blog, Travels and Trifles.

32 thoughts on “When Christmas markets close in Prague, Old World charm saves the day.

  1. Pingback: Have a Blessed Christmas – Journey with my Sketchbook

  2. Wandering Dawgs

    I love how you enjoyed your destinations despite the fact that the Christmas markets were closed. I know many people probably cancelled their trips and missed out on some beautiful places! Merry Christmas!

  3. WanderingCanadians

    Sorry to hear that some of the Christmas markets closed as a result of the surge in new COVID cases. Glad you made the most of it and used the opportunity to just meander around the city and soak in the holiday decor, the views and charm from the old city.

  4. Tina Schell

    Well Rusha, with covid rearing its ugly head again it seems you and Bert were just in time to leave and return with too many constraints. Good for you!! Prague is an absolutely stunning city and you have captured it beautifully. It’s old-world charm is enchanting and as you say, it feels like Christmas there all year long! So glad you’re back safely and that you had a wonderful visit, markets notwithstanding.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much. We’re glad to be home but we’d go again, if we could. We were tested for Covid each day on the boat. And I prayed for negative results so we wouldn’t have to quarantine extra days. Miss Prague. But glad to be home as well.

  5. Teresa

    Open or shut Christmas market stalls…. Prague is still wonderful. Thanks for the beautiful shots…makes me remember why I fell in love with this place the first time I saw it.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for the comments. I don’t have many “great” shots. I was bundled up, wearing gloves, mask, etc. so these are all one- handed shots with my iPhone. I admire those who do tripods and big lenses in that weather!

  6. maristravels

    You have the right attitude to life’s uncertainties, just get on with it! Glad you enjoyed the cruise. River cruising is the only way I like to be on water, I find them so much more interesting than ocean cruising and even the conversation with fellow travellers seems better!

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