Prague in a DAY !

Trip Start Dec 12, 2010
Trip End Jan 05, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní Mesto Praha,
Saturday, July 16, 2011

I had planned to stay in the local area on our free day to buy a few supplies, look at the shops there (more English Shops than in Greece and Italy) and not attempt to go into the old town with the crowds that are always in abundance in cities such as Prague, however because my room mate and I both intended to visit the same monuments /areas it made sense to share the day together.

The Castle we had visited the evening before in the twilight hours was the first place to visit and after negotiating trams and buses we walked around the very impressive grounds which are also the best vantage points of the city which lays much lower alongside the river. The castle itself was stunning and the intricate detail on its high walls and turrets was amazing and lent to the overall charm and character of the plain 'grey' structure. We were lucky to witness the changing of the guard ceremony and also a musical performance by the Palace Band which was really entertaining. By that time it was becoming increasingly more crowded at the Palace so we made the decision to leave and to find (or try to find) the John Lennon Wall which we had heard that was extremely difficult to find underneath the Charles Bridge.

We walked for hours and finally in desperation called into a small Art Studio to ask the proprietor where the Wall dedicated to John Lennon could be found. Kindly she drew us a rough map on a scrap of paper and when I checked our ‘tourist map’ of the area I could see that we were not that far away. Walking up the path through a beautiful riverside park we suddenly spotted a strange animal lying in a stalking position on the grass. Walking somewhat closer to it we noticed the owner had a long (very long) lead attached to the animals ‘body harness’ and it was wrapped around her waist twice. Getting closer we realized it was a PUMA!  How ironic was that a POUNCING PUMA IN PRAGUE! Another woman with a great Dane on a lead approached the pair as we took some photographs of it in its stalking position. The moment the Dane saw the Puma in that position it became SO instinctively scared that it ran in the opposite direction after slipping its collar, running like lightning across the park. His owner called him back immediately which he did ‘cautiously’ then the Puma sprang into action pouncing and nearly dragging his owner with the lead wrapped around her waist 10 meters in the direction of the now yelping Great Dane. The animals were now at a stand off, the Puma in the stalking/pouncing position and the Great Dane in the ‘retreat’ position and all the while my friend and I were wondering why on earth these animals owners wanted to assimilate them both where they really expecting the two to become friends and bound around the park together?  Having been blown away by this amazing sight in down town Prague we continued to walk the path to the John Lennon Wall but got hopelessly lost again even though the map directions were quite simple.

Finally we ‘stumbled’ upon the wall almost two hours after beginning the search and were most impressed. The wall was in a tiny street accessed by an even smaller lane way and quite hidden under the Charles Bridge where thousands of tourists frequented daily. The wall was a stark reminder of the Communist Regime that ruled this part of the country not so many years ago. The story told by the Tour Guide I was eavesdropping explained that this was a wall that would at times be covered by graffiti loving teenagers. Every time they sprayed the wall with their anti government slogans it would be painted to cover the said slurs. They would come back time and time again and the government painted over their work time and time again. When finally the communist regime was expelled from Austria the wall became known as the Freedom wall and was dedicated to a man who at the time sang about nothing but peace and love, his name was John Lennon. There are pictures of him, works of art depicting him and his songs of meaning and messages of support. It truly was a great piece of wall art and one that is visited often by tourists and now mentioned in the Trip Advisor recommendations what to see and where to go in Prague.

Leaving the Wall through the tiny lane we found ourselves at the bottom of the Charles Bridge and in a French food and wine tasting area. Set up like a little market there were stalls offering all types of Pate, wine and fine foods which were available for testing. We weren’t ready to buy but becoming hungry did sample some pate. We walked up the stairs onto the Charles bridge and added to the already thousands of tourists crossing it at a very, very slow pace. There were vendors selling everything ‘touristic’ and the heat, crowds and hunger pangs made the decision to escape to the Jewish Quarter for lunch an easy one. The walk was only thirty minutes and we thought a lovely ‘local goulash’ dish would be a great traditional meal to have however disappointedly we found only buildings and businesses in the Jewish area and no restaurants as such.

By the time we found the little Restaurant on the corner we were both ‘famished’ so really enjoyed the MENU special of the day which consisted of garlic soup, Goulash with potatoes followed by three different flavours of icecream.  The cold wine complimented the mid afternoon lunch perfectly and we sat and watched the people walk by and even cars trying to access the tiny little lane way that ran in front of our footpath tables.

Walking through the Town Centre we sampled a traditional sugary dough treat that is cooked on a BBQ type cooking apparatus. The dough (much like sweet bread dough) is rolled into very long rolls then wound around a wooden stick completely covering it where it is then placed above the hot BBQ coals on a rotisserie type of rack where it turns repeatedly until cooked. It is then rolled in sugar and removed from the wooden stick leaving the curly dough ready to eat by unrolling it. A very tasty and very ‘moreish’ treat I am glad we don’t make it in Australia because I know I would be buying it if it were by the bucket load !

We walked around ‘new’ town high end shops and then returned to the hotel. I have been extremely lucky to have experienced excellent health this year, with only an accident (inwardly) bruising my shin (in Vietnam) in January and a  bad cold shortly after that being the only health issues I have had to be concerned about. However returning to the hotel that evening I could feel a headache begin and my eyes began to feel slightly sore. I don’t suffer migraines regularly (only 3 in my life time) but when I began to feel extremely nauseous at 6pm I decided to put myself to bed to short wire a ‘full on’ attack.  This was not as inconvenient as first thought because we had an early start in the morning with bags to the bus, breakfast etc before leaving at 8.30am for the drive to Munich so an early night was warranted. I was most relieved in the morning to feel well with no residual headache and felt myself very lucky to be in such good shape (for my age). Another day on the road began with earnest.
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