Pictures here: Prague
I must apologise that I've fallen behind on these entries... I'm on vacation, so it's hard to keep a steady schedule! Some of my memories of the morning of this day are a bit fuzzy, so bear with me.
We started out around 10:30 after breakfast at the hotel, and headed for Prague Castle so we could see some of that end of town. The walk to the castle from the metro stop was decidedly beautiful, giving us a good feel for the architecture in this end of town. Lots of terra cotta roofing and clay finishes on the outside of the buildings. There were a number of embassies in the area as well as some public and private gardens.
Another feature is the multitude of streets... this is a place that has no regard for strict city blocks... or blocks at all! There doesn't seem to be a parallel street in the whole place! It certainly makes for interesting navigation. Gradually with a combination of following people and referencing the map, we made it to the long flight of stairs that leads to the castle itself. As we climbed we again were treated to a wonderful view over the city... and people wonder why I like being a pilot!
The castle was overrun with tourists, and the lines to get within the large chapel were very long on top of exorbitant admission prices, so Tim and I decided we'd see what we could see without going into the buildings themselves. I've seen a lot of churches and castles on this trip, I'm sure we didn't miss a huge amount. The church itself was in the process of being scrubbed of some of the grime that had accumulated over the years, so there was scaffolding all around it, obscuring a good chunk of the architecture. Kind of a bummer, but they need to take care of these things to make them last as long as they do I suppose.
Outside the castle, we wandered into the royal gardens as well as visiting what's known as the Bellevediere.. all I could think of was an 80s sitcom with that name, and I'm still not entirely sure what the building was for. Next we were planning to go to the other hill that has a small viewing tower on it that looks out over the city. We weren't planning on going up, but we just wanted tos ee it up close.
On the walk over, we took a roundabout route that took us through a peaceful ravine which is probably part of the flood control system for Prague.
Also along the way we arrived at a monastery where there was a supposedly large theological library as well. We had a snack outside to rest up after our long walk, then went in to the library because I'd seen pictures which made it seem pretty cool. Turns out that it was alright... but not really worth what we paid. Not enough to see, and it was actually quite small. Oh well, at least I saw a few books I recognised.
Then we continued on to the mountain/hill that had the tower on it. It was a fairly long walk, and steep in a few sections. I don't know why it is that we haven't learned to avoid walking up mountains but we do it anyways (see stories from our trip to Barcelona).
Once we finally reached the tower, we were both pretty pooped but being the smart beings that we are, we decided to climb it anyways. It turns out that the tower was built for an exposition back in the late 1800s and it's a 1/3 scale tribute to the Eiffel tower in France. The view, as usual, was spectacular! Lots of pictures were taken, we could even see the stadium from when the Olympics were hosted in Prague (did you know that Prague hosted the Olympics? I didn't!).
Eventually we walked back down the mountain and made our way back into the city itself by crossing one of the bridges, and we headed for the Jewish Quarter after a quick stop at the Opera house. While we were walking along a road with lots of shops, we noticed that just ahead of us were two girls who looked strangely familiar. The pair from Austria that we'd met on the train! Prague is a small city. We tapped them on the shoulder and they immediately recognised us. We decided that since none of us had any specific plans, we'd spend the afternoon sightseeing together. We ended up walking through the Jewish Quarter, then to a gigantic working metronome that was on a hill (it was 30 meters high, I kid you not!) then back towards the castle near which we had dinner at Subway (our first North American food since arriving). We walked through across one of the bridges across the river just as the sun was setting, letting me take some awesome photos, then made our way to Wenceslas Square, where we finally bid eachother goodbye, and promised to keep in touch by way of Facebook.
All in all, a fantastic day!
Tim and I made it back to the hotel around 10:30, and Tim went to bed right away because he was to catch his flight first thing in the morning... he had to leave the hotel at 3 AM in fact. He got out just fine, and on time, so that's good news!
Tomorrow's update will be of my trip from Prague to Dresden, Germany!
Stay well, all!