Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Exploring Prague

We woke to cloudy but clear weather.  It didn’t rain until about 6 pm when we were safely home.  We did have a few sprinkles during the day but not enough to get the umbrellas out.  It was a fun day; frustrating at first, but once we found our way to the old center we were fine. 
But we spent more than an hour getting on and off of the wrong trams and finally with instructions from a local we boarded the dreaded Metro….and we were at the Main Train Station where we’d arrived yesterday!  From here we knew where we were.  The first thing I did was purchase a LARGE city map.  The hotel had given us a map but very small and hard for our old eyes to read.  We started walking towards the castle and soon found lots of old buildings, churches, museums and plazas.  We stopped at the Church of St. James…but they had a no photo rule so there are no photos of the inside of the beautiful baroque church. 
Soon we saw a tall building with people at the top; looked around and found the ticket booth and the information that there were elevators!  But, before going up we waited for ten minutes for the 11 am show on the clock that was mounted on one side of the tower.  At eleven the doors opened and the little men came out and then the roster crowed to announce   A huge crowd had gathered and we all enjoyed the show.  Then up the tower for the views.
the hour.
Our next quest was to find the Charles Bridge.  With directions along the way we easily found the bridge and bucked the crowds to walk across it by entering through the Powder Gate.   We took lots of photos with everyone else and enjoyed the stroll on this pedestrian only bridge. 
On the other side we looked for a small hotel that Jim’s sister remembered; not sure we found the right one but it only has eighteen rooms and is very quaint and called “At The Three Ostriches”  or as they say in Prague “U Tri Pstrosu” in the Czech language.   We’re pretty sure it’s Ostriches as they are painted on the building.
Walked all around the area under the bridge and found a bride and groom on a bridge loaded with “locks of love”.   Discovered a cute little café Restaurant called Marnice overlooking the canal…decided to go back later for an early dinner before heading home.
From the bridge we continued walking up and up and up and up….finally arriving at the Castle at the top of the hill.  We found all sorts of fun things designed for tourists…funny old cars that will drive you up the hill for a fee.  Motorcycles with a sidecars…and a gold Porsche.  Jim said it looked like a film of gold over the car?   Everyone was taking photos of it.  The castle was great.  There was an open-air Starbucks at the top~!   We arrived just in time for the changing of the guards.  Many buildings composed the entire complex including St. Vitus Cathedral located in the center of the main buildings.  St. Vitus was again baroque in style and beautiful.
I found another bride and groom taking their photos in front of the castle (they say it’s not a palace).  Soon it was time for the long walk back down the hill, stopping along the way to see the inside of St. Nicolas Church…photos were allowed with a fee; and then to our early dinner at our little restaurant near the Charles Bridge.   I had Prague Goulash with dumplings and Jim had Beef in a cream sauce with dumplings.  The dumplings were slices of white bread but very fresh.  Best of all were the large mugs of beer!  It wasn’t a sunny day but we’d done lots of walking.
Back towards the castle for a few blocks to the Malostranske Plaza where we found Tram # 12 and our ride home.  This was what we should have caught early this morning.  Home about 3:30 pm in time to relax, do some laundry and use the wifi. 
Enjoy the slideshow below:

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