Prague Gnosis is fine!
Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
154Trip End May 28, 2011
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Where I stayed
August 16 and 17, 2010
Our first day in Prague yesterday was a little slow to begin. We are in a lovely very small campground… just 4 places, attached to the Kotlarka Pension. (www,kotlarka.cz) which was built in 1801 as a small farm estate. It was quite tricky to find as the directions in the book we were using were slightly wrong. The price is reasonable…less than $18 per night, and it has all services including free internet, washing machine, café, showers etc. The "catch" is that it is about a 15 to 20 minute walk up a hill from the nearest tram stop, and it is too hilly for our bikes.
It also happens to be right next to a small auto repair shop, so I am having the shocks and front tires replaced and a broken headlight switch, for about half what it would cost in Vancouver
We put our washing on first thing in the morning, but the washer appeared to be a bit wonky, and we had to fiddle with it for about 2 and a half hours to get it done, so did not get into Prague til after noon.
We missed a stop on the tram, so disembarked a little out of town. The walk back in was through busy streets and ordinary shopping district so we were feeling rather disappointed in Prague until we really got to the old town… then, wow! The overview summary is just the extent of the glorious theatres, churches, apartments, squares and bridges. Everywhere you turn there is another church with celestial spires, or theatre with romantic embellishment. Here was the theatre where Don Giovanni debuted, there was Franz Kafka's home, here was a Dvorzak concert, there was the boulevard of the Velvet revolution.
We toured the old town most of the day, then across the Charles Bridge for a nice dinner at a pub… we shared a large mixed meat plate with sauerkraut and polenta and a beer each for about $25 total… the whole day, counting the tram, dinner and campsite, we spent around $50.
Today we are off to another slow start, as I was making the car repair arrangements in the morning… so heading down the hill around 12:30 for an afternoon in the Prague Castle quarter.
August 17 and 18, 2010
The castle visit was just as delightful as the old town, despite cold and drizzly weather. One little glitch was kind of fun… at the Monastery, which has amazing views of Prague, by the way, we stopped at a restaurant garden for coffee… Pat ordered a cappuccino, and I thought I ordered a black coffee… but what she brought to me was a dark beer instead! Well, needless to say, I did not complain, and it was great beer… trouble is I had to share it with Pat!
As we entered the actual castle, a tour guide was trying to assemble a little English speaking group, and the cost was only about $2 more than the regular entrance fee, so of course we took him up on the offer, and glad we did. He told us of so much more of the incredible history of the place…. From King Wenceslas in 850 Ad, through Charles IV, who was the genius who planned much of the castle and Cathedral, the Renaissance dynasties, the Hapsburgs, Hitler’s visits, the communist era, Vaclav Havel’s office, and the many current political figures who have visited for world summits and conferences, including the Clintons and the Obamas
In the afternoon we dined at a traditional little restaurant in the “Little Quarter”, attached to the hotel that my brother and sister in law had stayed at last May.
Today we set off early after taking the van up above our campground for its repairs, and explored the Jewish Quarter. The most moving part was the Pinkas Synagogue which has on its walls the names and dates of over 80,000 jews who perished during the holocaust. Very moving to see them covering a dozen walls, and so personal. The same museum had a display of childrens drawings which were done at the Terazin concentration camp, and virtually every one of the children died in the gas chambers. Horrifying.
We did some more walking about for another good look at Prague before we leave tomorrow, then back to pick up the van.
We replaced 2 front tires, 2 front shocks, had the alignment fixed, and the light switch replaced, all for just over $500. It could well have cost double that in Canada. Glad to have it done as the front end was always shaky, and the tires would have worn too quickly if we hadn’t done the shocks and alignment. Maybe we should have insisted on BW Campers doing it, but hopefully we will recoup some of this cost upon resale next June.
Off tomorrow… probably toward Celsky Krumlov.