Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Europe 1.01 - Prague, Czech Republic

Actual date of this event: 19-22 October

On Friday morning, Luke and I woke up very early to catch a taxi at 4:15am to the airport. We had an exciting, but long, trip ahead of us, so we had the energy to get moving! Our first stop on the itinerary was Prague, which was one of my top places to visit.

We flew to Frankfurt, Germany for a 1.5 hour layover before flying to Prague. If you have never flown to and through Frankfurt before, the airport is HUGE! Let's just, when I got home, I looked up the distance online and it came out to 3.5 miles long. If you aren't on one of the massive planes, you depart the airplane and get on a bus that takes you to the area of the airport where you go through customs. And in our case, we then had to walk over a mile to get to our next gate. Awesome! And this was the time when Luke informed me I needed to learn to say thank you in other languages. Dankesch√∂n!

When we arrived in Prague, we did not have to go through customs, so it was quick for us to find our way to the bus that would take us to town. I had already done a currency exchange in Aberdeen, so we were not worried about cash. Both of us were hungry for lunch, so we found a place to eat around the corner from our flat in which we were staying. Right away I noticed massive amounts of graffiti everywhere.

Luke with his luggage for the next 16 days.
Almost every building in the city had graffiti on it. No where in my research of Prague was this mentioned.
Goulash Lunch
We were introduced to AirBnB a couple of months ago which is what we used to find lodging in Prague. Basically, locals rent out their place to you for a few nights for usually cheaper than a hotel or bed & breakfast. Our flat was located at Letensk√° 17, which was just around the corner from Charles Bridge which takes you right into Old Town Prague. It was a studio style apartment with a kitchen. The toilet and shower were in completely separate rooms, which was interesting. It was right on the tram line which would be convenient for some people, but it was pretty noisy. Other than that, the place was great for our three nights in Prague.

In our flat, getting ready to explore Prague!
 This is the Charles Bridge and what it looks like on a normal day.
This is what the Charles Bridge looks like at 8am. Empty!
After dropping our bags in the flat, it was about 3pm, so we headed out to explore the town.

Lennon (John) Wall with purposeful graffiti - read about it
Bridge to Kampa Island which is full of Love Locks - read about love locks
These babies were on display outside of a museum.
Taking the view of the city by the Vltava River
Prague has amazing architecture!

Prague is the home to the oldest working Astronomical Clock. The clock does a performance every hour and we were lucky enough to walk up right before the hour. Wikipedia site of the clock.

Walking up to Old Town Square. You can see the clock in the mid-left.
Left: The Astronomical Clock
Right: You can climb the Clock Tower, but we chose not to.

After finding something to eat for dinner, we were both pretty tired from getting up early, so we were ready to call it a night.

Buildings next to the Charles Bridge
On Saturday morning, we woke up without a coffee maker, so finding a cafe was one of the first things on our list. On the way to the cafe, we ran into the Senate building which happened to be directly across the street from out flat.

 The grounds consisted of a large beautiful building, gardens and ponds.
The interior of one wall had monster-like sculptures on it. It was very weird, but very cool!
About 6 beautiful peacocks freely roamed the gardens. Some were colorful and some were white.
Once we did that, we were ready to explore the Jewish Quarter of the town. Only to remember that all Jewish sights are closed on Saturdays. Doh! So we had to view everything from the outside.

 Above is the Jewish Cemetery. Click here for the history on Wikipedia of the grounds. Very interesting.
Left: Old-New Synagogue
Right: Spanish Synagogue

We were finished pretty quickly with that part of town, so we ended up back in Old Town. Man, this place is full of tourists! But we got to see some pretty cool street performers.

It took a while to get this picture of Luke without people in the way.

We decided that we would go up the Powder Tower to get some views of the city. It was foggy, so we couldn't get the best views. But at least we got in a little exercise!

At the top, there was a room full of armor.
View from the top.
This was one of many towers in Prague, and we chose to  climb this one.
Afterward, we walked to the train station to verify that our trip on Monday would work out with our EuRail passes and ended up at Wenceslas Square. A Syrian protest was going on, so we watched that while eating sausages for lunch.

Left: Another tower in town
Middle: Jubilee Synogogue... it was so colorful! Wish we could have gone in.
Right: A church we ran into while walking... dont know the name though.
Left: Prague National Museum, largest in the Czech Republic
Right: Walking in Wenceslas Square

We walked through a few more markets and checked out the souvenirs and specialty items they had to offer.

A cabinet of Absinthe
We again ended up in Old Town, where what do you know, its the hour, so we had a drink while watching the clock perform again.

Taking a leg rest while drinking and watching the clock.

We were done with all of the east side of the river, and planned to save the west side for Sunday. So Luke and I were on a mission to find the Hemmingway Bar which was recommended to us by a friend in Aberdeen. We discovered that it was closed (say what?!?) so we popped into Cafe Pub Atmosphere for a few drinks. Of Absinthe.

Preparing the absinthe
Let's just say, I took much longer to drink mine than Luke did.

After leaving, we somehow ended up (possibly stumbled) back at Wenceslas Square and ate sausages and crepes from the street market for dinner. Good, wholesome, after-drinking food!

And then the Hemmingway Bar was opened, so we had a few drinks there before going back to the flat for bed time.

On Sunday, I woke up for a short 2 mile jog along the river before we headed out to see the Prague Castle. The castle lies on a hill, and isn't actually a castle that you would picture. The castle consists of a few different sites that make up the castle. When we walked up to the entrance to the grounds, it was almost time for the Guard change, so no one was allowed to enter through the main gate. It was still 15 minutes to go before the change, and we didn't want to wait, so we walked through a side entrance.

After purchasing our tickets that granted us entrance into most of the sights, we stood for a few minutes in awe at the sight of St. Vitus' Cathedral. And best of all, the bells were ringing for noon'o'clock! So amazing!

The line to enter the church was long and around the corner, so we decided to start elsewhere.

Left: Vladislav Hall
Middle: Town on Castle hill
Right: Long hallway with armor

We entered St. Vitus' Cathedral last. This is probably the most amazing church I have ever seen!

Afterward, we walked along the side of the hill for some amazing views of the city. Still foggy, but great views!

our only picture together in Prague

It was already 2:30pm, so we went back to Old Town for a snack and beer. We walked along the river and attempted to go see an actual castle, but discovered it was much farther than we thought. We wondered the streets which is the most fun part of Prague! We had a few drinks and an early dinner in the meantime before heading back to the flat for the night.

This is how to beggars ask for money. They lay kneel on the ground without moving .
Helpful Hint: In Prague and most of Bavaria, restaurants will give you pretzels and other items but wont tell you that you will be charged for them if you touch them. So don't eat it if you don't want to pay for it. Luckily, I had done the research and knew that prior to our trip.
Before this picture, a little girl almost got bitten while trying to feed the swans bread.
We had a 9am train on Monday morning... Next up, Munich!

See you in Munich folks!

Why do I love Prague? Cobblestone streets, small alleys and the architecture

Exchange rate during our visit: 1 Czech Koruna = $0.05

The Prague Castle is the largest castle area in the world.


1 comment:

  1. At the risk of sounding like a redundant old fool: I cannot say enough how happy I am that you guys are getting, and taking advantage of these opportunities. Enjoy Life!! (On the "redundant old fool thing", Luke: Shutup!)


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