Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Prague, Czech Republic

Wow, what a weekend! Pam and I had such a great time and Prague is my new favorite city! If you talk to anyone who has been to Prague, I would bet they will tell you the same thing...everyone loves this city and now I know why!

We stayed at a great hotel, Hotel Cerna Liska, located right on the Old Town Square, one of the major squares in Prague. I would highly recommend this hotel! The room was fantastic and it overlooked the square and the St. Nicholas Church.

This was our view every morning from our window sill!
We arrived late on Friday night, so we got up on Saturday and hit the ground running! We could not have asked for better weather! We mostly spent the day walking around and shopping in Old Town and enjoying the beautiful weather.

Prague (Praha in Czech), is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is situated on the River Vltava in central Bohemia and is widely considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. To me, Prague represented the true old Europe. It is what you think of when you think of a European city, just so quaint. Only 1 building was hit during World War II (and that was by accident) so all of the original architecture is there and preserved.

Also on Saturday, we decided to do all of our shopping as Sunday was a national holiday so we thought the shops may be closed. Pam warned me I would want crystal and I am glad I came prepared! Czech Bohemian crystal glassware is some of the best in the world and the prices are great. I did not have really nice glassware before coming to Prague, so I knew I wanted to get some while I was there. I bought juice glasses, water glasses, wine glasses, champagne flutes, and dessert bowls. Whew! They only came in a set of 6 and while 6 is just not enough, I had to buy 12! And, I know, 12 is just too many! But, I have extras in case one (or two) breaks! I also got a great discount...I love bargaining! So, just for laughs, imagine Pam and I trying to pack 10 boxes for me and 3 for her. It was quite a site! I will say that so far, I have opened half of my boxes and nothing is broken! Yay!! I will try to remember to take a picture of my new glassware and post for you all to see!

Prague is also known for the Astronomical Clock (Prague Orloj). The Orloj is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the sun and moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; "The Walk of the Apostles", a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months. We sat at a little nice cafe overlooking the clock on Sunday night and saw it do its thing on the hour! It was really cool!

On Saturday night, Pam and I decided to go on a dinner cruise down the River Vltava to see the city at night from the water. This was NOT a good idea!! It was a great idea; however, we just chose the wrong boat. We were supposed to be 'picked up' at the hotel, but that meant someone met us at the hotel and we walked about a mile to a bus that took us to the boat (not my definition of being picked up!!). Then, once we got on the boat, we were seated at a table for 6 people which was not that bad; however, you could not move as we were squeezed in so tightly. Then, it was a buffet, but the food table and drink table were both set up at the front of this room and there was NO room to get your food, no orderly line for people to wait in, just a boat load of people crowding around a table. It was terrible.

Anyway, after dinner we went upstairs to enjoy the view. That was so much better...until we saw this...... Notice the telephone receiver just hanging there!

This is what happened. The boat came to a complete stop for over an hour towards the end of the ride. We were enjoying the view, but wondering why we were stopped. Then, Pam looks up and sees the captain walk out of the cabin where he was supposed to be driving the boat (I am sure there is an appropriate name for that area of a boat, but I do not know what it is right now). He walks out and downstairs appearing to leave us stranded and we are about to have to swim! Pam was the one who caught on to this and started laughing so hard she was crying. I start laughing mainly because she was laughing so hard! She was trying to explain to me what just happened and I decided to capture this on film! (Hence, the pictures!).

Our tour guide walks over to make sure we were really only drinking water (which we were) and wanted in on the fun! We told her why we were laughing so hard and she explains to us why we are sitting still for over an hour...something to do with being in a lock. Anyway, she sat down and joined us.

Here she is...
Ok, Pam and I were not trying to dress like Twinkies...I got cold earlier in the evening and bought a sweatshirt...and come to find out, she had the same one from an earlier trip to Prague.
Since we were stranded, I was able to capture some great shots of Prague at night! The first picture is of Prague Castle and the remaining ones are of Charles Bridge.
We shared a table with this couple (shown below). When the first sat down, we asked the obvious question of where they were from. Come to find out (per our tour guide), she is from Prague and does not speak any English. He is from Wales and only speaks English. So, you may wonder how they communicate....well, the language of love, I suppose! I call it...GET A ROOM!!! They could not keep their hands off each other! The captain finally decided to come back...and we made it off the boat safe and sound with only our sides hurting from laughing so hard!
On Sunday, Pam and I decided to take a little sightseeing tour. We did not want to take a bus, so we opted for this instead.... And, this was our driver....nice! See why we took the car?!
Just could not get enough!
Anyway, we saw all of Prague, thanks to Mr. Hottie! Highlights included: Prague Castle which is the largest ancient castle in the world with its St. Vitus Cathedral; Charles Bridge; Josefov (the old Jewish quarter) with Old Jewish Cemetery and Old New Synagogue; Petřínská rozhlednaan observation tower on Petřín hill, which resembles the Eiffel Tower ; and much more!

Here are some shots...

Me on the Charles Bridge with Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral in the background.

View of the city from Prague Castle.
On Charles Bridge.
Observation tower on Petřín hill, which resembles the Eiffel Tower. The story is that the Eiffel Tower is 5 times larger than this tower but they are the same height above sea level due to this one being on a big hill.
St. Nicholas Church
Opera House
Typical meal in the Czech Republic...goulash! It was actually really good!
What a fantastic trip! We had such a great time...mostly just laughing! We are great travel buddies! We made it home on Monday thoroughly looking forward to our next adventure together....our Mediterranean Cruise!!!

3 comments:

  1. So glad to hear you had a fabulous trip! My husband & I visited Prague years ago and absolutely fell in love with the city. Your night shots of the city are beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks like SO much fun! Love all the photos :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. That looks like so much fun! The chances are pretty good that we will be going back to Europe when hubby goes back in army, Prague is definitely on my list now!

    ReplyDelete