Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
11Trip End Sep 17, 2010
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Arrived in the afternoon kinda tired and with bad directions from the hostel website. Checked in, had some Thai food for dinner, walked down to the Charles Bridge after dark and then called it a night.
08.19 -- Day 2 Prague
Got up early for the free tour of the city. The tour started at the old town hall and the famous Astronomical Clock. Every hour when the bells chime two little doors open at the top of the clock and the twelve apostles parade by like a little Catholic "Small World"
In this same square is a statue of Jan Huss, who was burned at the stake because he either did something...or didn't do something.. I can't remember. Then we saw Charles University (really really old), Mozart's Opera house with the statue of the character Il Commendatorre from the opera Don Giovanni (the opera that drove Mozart insane). We also saw Wenceslas Square, Republic Square, the Powder Tower (an old castle tower that they used to store the gunpowder in), the Church of St. James, the Jewish Quarter (including the Old New Synagogue and the very old Jewish cemetery), the statue of Franz Kafka, the old Jesuit Monastery, the New Town Hall, the monument to the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Kafka's birthplace, and the church of St. Nicholas.
After this tour there was another that tours the castle. We crossed Charles Bridge to the WWII memorial, then walked around the Wallenstein Garden, an old manor house with beautiful gardens with fountains and an owl aviary. Up the hill at the castle we walked through the Strahov Monastery that's been brewing beer for centuries, and of course we had to stop and have some
The tour guide showed us a "plague column"--like an obelisk with statues carved into it that sits in a square, and the peasants would come pray at the statue for the plague to spare their town. Apparently there were many of these plague columns around in the middle ages. This one was in front of the palace of the Archbishop of Prague.
Finally we made it to the castle.. I took a picture with one of the palace guards (like Buckingham palace they have to stand at their post perfectly still, ... but they don't have cool hats like in London.) We saw the Deer Moat on the side of the castle--it's a little wooded area on the side, and the king would sit in one of the windows with a crossbow shooting deer and sending someone down to retrieve them.
We also got to see the changing of the guard here
The final stop was St. George's Chapel, then back down the hill to have dinner and drinks with some new friends we made on the tour.
Did some souvenir shopping on the way to the train station, then boarded our train for Berlin.