Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30th - Travel Blog

Hi, it’s Christina –

It's a nice spread for breakfast -
meats, cheeses, breads, yogurt & granola
Greetings from Prague, Czech Republic – Day 2! It is now 5 am on Saturday, and I’m surprised I’m actually up. Yesterday kicked my butt, and oh my poor tootsies – they be barkin’!

Just some of the stuff we saw on our
way to the castle.

So yesterday after breakfast, a trip to the train station to get our tickets for Sunday, and a few miss-starts, we finally found our way over to Prague Castle, where we pretty much spent all day. Prague Castle is on a hill overlooking the Vltava River. It was the Royal home since the 9th century, and then in the early 1900s, it became the home of the President of the Czech Republic, and is still so today.
You say I'm never in any of the pictures,
well that shadow on the cobblestone is

Prague Castle is at the highest point in Prague, and yup, you guessed it, there is no transportation to get up there. At some points the incline was so steep, I didn’t think we’d actually make it up. Oh, and did I forget to mention, the streets and walkways are uneven cobblestone. Thank God it was a beautiful, sunny day, because there would have been no way if it was raining or even misting, because it would have been too slick and treacherous.
The skinny one with the brick,
that's taken through an
arrow slit.
But after a break at the entrance to the castle, and a little time to take pictures of the incredible view, we sucked it up and climbed the last four flights of stairs, and WOW. The mosaic wall on the bottom right corner in the Pražský Hrad-Prague Castle picture is what greeted us. It was incredible. Unfortunately, I guess because it was so bright outside, the colors of the tiles did not come out as vividly as they actually were, but you get the idea.

The bottom right is a window of sorts.
It's a solid cylinder of wood which
rotates, one side has the opening, then
you turn it and the window is closed.
On Thursday we purchased our Prague Card which allowed us access to all the public transportation and to various sites. Four of the sites were within Prague Castle. Perhaps I should back up a little, Prague “Castle” isn’t what you picture a typical castle looking like, it’s more of a fortress comprised of multiple buildings within castle walls. There’s the Old Royal Palace*, The Story of Prague Castle, the Basilica of St. George*, the Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane*, Prague Castle Picture Gallery, Power Tower, St. Vitus’ Cathedral*, Rosenburg Palace & the South Tower of St. Vitus’s Cathedral. The ones with the * are the ones we visited.

The couple left center were from Japan,
The bride in red I believe was from
Spain, and the top left is the groom who
wore jeans to his wedding.
Starý královský palác – The Old Royal Palace was being refurbished while we were there. There are a few parts of the palace which date back to the 9th century, but the palace sustained a huge fire in the early 1300s and was rebuilt then. Still, being able to walk around in a place that’s over 700 years old is pretty cool.

Everything smelled heavenly!
I guess I’m not the only one who thinks it’s cool, because it is apparently the place to get married when visiting Prague. Everywhere we turned another bride and groom were popping up. The only thing they all had in common was they were just the bride and groom and a photographer, no wedding party. One of the grooms was in a sports coat and jeans – can you believe it? The would not have made me a happy bride!

The domed ceiling with the copula has
been fully restored (bottom 2nd picture).
Everything is blooming at the castle. The little butter colored flowers on the bright green leaves (sorry, I have no clue what they are) were so fragrant. They smelled a lot like gardenias. On the lawn, where we’d have dandelions, they had those tiny daisies. Believe it or not, those big burgundy flowers were peonies. The lilacs were also in full bloom, but I guess I was too busy with my nose in the bush to snap a picture, but I sure didn’t miss the Japanese Cherry! It was breathtaking.

This is a picture off line, but
ours looked just like this with
a mass of whipped cream
drizzled with honey and
sprinkled with nuts on the side
Again - OH MY!
St. George’s Basilica was our next stop. It is the oldest surviving church building on the property, built in 920ad. It’s a little hard to see, but the 3rd picture on the top is one of the murals on ceiling which has faded to just blobs of color, and the next picture is the ceiling right next to it which looks like it has been restored. The two picture on the left which look like a fireplace, look closer. There was no sign, so I do not know who that is in there.

Each of the gargoyles were different,
and since they weren't moving or
screaming, we knew it was safe to
go inside. 
I think it was at this point we decided we were starving and found a café on premises. Mom and I both had sandwiches which were good, but then we splurged and split a piece of honey cake – Medovic - for dessert. OH MY! You know what a chocoholic I am, and when given a choice, I’d always go for the chocolate cake, and there was one on the menu, but I knew I couldn’t eat a whole piece, and mom wanted the medovic. Let me tell you, if given the choice again, I’m going to have a hard time choosing – yeah, it was that good.

The massive pipe organ is the photos
all down the left side. Wish I could
have heard it play!
Next on this tour is Katedrála sv. Vita - St. Vitus’ Cathedral, which contains the tombs of Holy Roman Emperors and Bohemian Kings. I know I took a ton of pictures both outside and inside, but outside the gargoyles were awesome, and who doesn’t love stained glass? Again photos didn’t quite capture the vibrancy of the glass, but it did get close. What amazed me the most was the variety of colors used, how small the individual pieces of glass were, and how massive the windows were. It’s mind boggling to think about how much work went into each window.

If you look closely at the 2nd picture
to the right of the word Lane, you will
see the handmade puppets in the
Our final stop was Zlatá ulička - Golden Lane. Golden Lane are a bunch of micro homes and shoppes built into the surrounding wall of the castle. The apothecary’s shop is slightly larger than the others because it had a basement level. The seamstress’ home was also a little larger because it had a cooking area. The cobblers home was the average size – roughly the bedroom was 6x4, the lu was 3x3, and the living area was 12x8. (The pictures are grouped together so you can get an idea.)

This restaurant was recommended to
us by the desk clerk at our hotel. We
weren't impressed. 
Last night we went for authentic Czech food at Hlučná Samota. I had a beef and dumpling dish, which was good. Mom ordered the duck, which was nasty and got sent back. I’m looking forward to the Slovak food in Bratislava, food I grew up on – YUM!

Today we are headed off to Charles Bridge, Old Towne and to see the clock and the Jewish Cemetery. Hopefully the camera battery will hold out a little longer today.

Until then, have a WONDERFUL day & happy writing.