Another interesting day
Trip Start Jun 14, 2013
20Trip End Jul 06, 2013
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Last night we paid homage to the god of jet-lag. Judith fired up her Ipad at 3 am and I woke up about the same time. I finally went back to sleep around 4:30 and woke up at 7:30. Not a very restful night but it will have to do for now. I hope that my breakfast is not an indication of how my day will be--the 2 eggs over-easy were mostly lace with a hard yoke and the bacon was really a piece of sandwich slice ham that had been well fried. Oh well, at least the yogurt was good and, oh yeah, the coffee was wonderful.
We finally get going around 11 am and walk uphill to the monastery that overlooks the city. Said monastery is located in a green forest and has a beautiful view of Prague. We paused to listen to the monks singing--all men singing acapella, in Latin. That music alone made the climb worthwhile. From the monastery we followed the ridge until we reached the Hradcany Castle grounds
First we stopped to see the St Vitus Cathedral. The story goes that construction started in the year 1344 when King John of Luxembourg decided that the city needed a larger church. Construction continued off and for nearly 6 centuries, stopping for the multitude of wars and economic down-turns. The last brick was finally placed in 1929, ending the construction. The final result is one of the most spectacular Gothic cathedrals in the world. I wondered what it would cost to build such a monument today (assuming that the engineers would even allow it. Although the most impressive parts for me were the interior height and the number of colorful stain glass windows, some part of me thinks that if Jesus were to see it, that he would not approve
The church is located within the grounds--and is surrounded by, the Hradcany Castle. Next on our limited (cheapskate) ticket was the Old Royal Palace. The parts of the palace that we saw were, well....large. Not beautiful, just large spaces with cement walls and wooden floors. We did get to see the gaudy crown that some king wore on his head, but to me it looked a bit cheap and overbearing (big jewels of different colors as well as pearls--tsk tsk, not very masculine if you ask me).
Fromthe Palace we visited the Bascilica of St George (the one who killed the dragon) which was a chapel, dark and filled with visitors. It was constructed in the year 1142 and most of the original structure remains. Beautiful but not awe inspiring like the Cathedral.
Befoe leaving the castle complex we stroll down Golden Lane. This charming little street, with its brightly painted cottages was the haunt of alchemists during the reign of Rudolf II (16th century). Alchemy was taken seriously by King Rudolf and he encouraged people from all over Europe to develope the pseudo science in Prague.
From the big castle complex we managed to find our way down the hill where we located the restaurant that had been recommended to us by Jan--the Lokal Bila Kuzelka. Located near the Charles bridge, but at the level of the river is this small non-assuming Czech restaurant. When we sat down and tried to read the menu we discovered that it was in Czech and we had no idea of what we should order. Fortunately the waiter recognized the question marks hovering over our heads and bought us menus in English--much better. I had a pork schnitzel with a pickled cabbage salad and Judith had soup, salad and a trout. All washed down with a nice pilsner called Urquell. Very nice. Total blll, about $25 usd.
It is now early evening and we walk along the Charles Bridge amongst a much smaller crowd of people. The temp is about 75 and we pop into a few ceramic stores on the way back. One thing that I notice here (which will be of more interest to the male readers) is the great number of slim young ladies wearing short skirts or very short shorts. This detail certainly adds to the beauty of the local sites.
On the way back to the inn we buy a watermelon and some peaches at a local organic store.The fruit is fresh and ripe. This will be dinner. A short nap and we leave the Boot to walk around the neighborhood. The streets are made of small cut stones and only wide enough for one car. The houses are wall to wall and mostly hidden--occasionally we see part of a garden or a living room thru the front window.. There are small beer bars and coffee shops everywhere we look. It is nice to get a feel of what Prague is like for the locals.
End of day 2