Day 24 - Prague castle and Charles bridge
Trip Start Nov 29, 2011
41Trip End Jan 28, 2012
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Where I stayed
Dogs are allowed on all public transport here but it was funny to see that on the metro we caught, a lady was holding a cat in her arms. In the same area was a huge dig and a lady feeding her baby which was in a pram. The variety of things going on was quite entertaining to watch to see if anything went wrong. Baba went on about wanting to put out a petition in Adelaide to allow dogs on public transport there. Dogs here are so well behaved though and even when walking with their owners on the streets it is rare to see them with leashes.
When we got off the tram we walked into the castle grounds were quite impressive just from that view. We could already see how large the whole castle area was which we were told by someone is the largest in the world. We got in to the main square where there was a large building with an archway in the middle and huge gates surrounding it with golden painted leaves upon them. There was a huge line by one of the gates for people to sign books for Vaclav Havel. Baba and I got into this line and soon enough noticed there was a huge line of people already behind us. The line was cut off right before us for a group to enter so we had to wait about an hour in the cold in total.
While we were waiting at the gate we noticed the guards had started to move the ropes about which were cordoning off a path which we were to follow once we entered the gates. Some guards came out and lined up. Then suddenly at 12pm, another group of guards came into the area and lined up parallel to the original line of guards. There was a bit if guards marching about, yelling out things and pointing their guns in the air. Baba told me it was the change over of the guards.
After the guards had finished doing their thing they then put the roles back and let us through to stand at the end of the line in the building nearby. We moved along this line for about half an hour and eventually one by one were sent to one of four tables which had upon it a blank book where people were able to sign and write messages. I wrote a little messy message (my hands were frozen from being out in the cold still lol), in English. We then followed the halls which led us back outside.
Because I get really low blood pressure here in the cold, I usually have breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and something small for dinner. I had only had some yoghurt and a pear for breakfast and was feeling a bit dizzy and hungry so we went to the closest restaurant we could find for lunch.
The restaurant we found had specials on a board out the front which was 180 to 220kc for a three course meal with goulash or Weiner snitzel. Baba and I both wanted potato soup and Baba got pork and dumplings and I got grilled chicken and fries. With our meals we got a big basket of bread with two little bowls of butter. Also on the table when we got there were potato chips which we ate a few of then realized they had a 45kc tiny price sticker on the bowl. We ask for water to drink and the lady brought us out glass bottles of sparkling water. When we got the bill it was 1100kc... With multiple charges, like the bread and chips which were provided to the table and also a tax! We had also assumed that the prices of meals could only be a maximum of the 3 course meal deal options as there were no prices on the menus. We had just assumed that the food would be cheap as it is Prague! It was about $55 Australian... The huge lunch we had with alcoholic drinks yesterday was 300kc, $15 Australian! This place was a total rip off and the people were really sneaky with raking in money from tourists in a variety of ways. Other customers were also a bit angry when they got their receipts. We couldnt do much and Baba and I thought about it that we are actually quite spoilt here. We should have thought about meal prices though :-/.
We then wandered around the castle grounds a bit, saw the beautiful cathedral and noticed there was a massive line of people waiting to see Vaclav Havel's body which was on display in one of the halls. We didn't really want to see a dead body so chose not to follow the crowds.
We then walked down to Charles bridge and then to Wenceslas square with the astronomical clock. I wanted to get a picture from the top of the clock tower so I went up while Baba had some hot wine. The views were amazing and you could see all the little streets that fit in within all of the tall buildings.
Afterwards we went to a street filled with markets to finish off getting our souvenirs. We bought some more berries which I nibbled at as we walked through to the other part of Wenceslas square and towards the museum metro station. Along the way I got some Trdelnik which was a bit more cooked than the last one I had, more crunchy around the edges and very tasty.
At the top of the museum metro station is the famous horse statue at the top of Wenceslas square. This is where the Vaclav Havel memorial is. We had seen it yesterday but today there were hundreds more candles and you could see all of the new ones flicker in the darkness. It was really amazing to see people standing around at all hours and lighting new candles.
We caught the metro and before boarding the bus we went to the florist and bought a potted poinsettia to put on Baba's parents grave tomorrow (my great grandparents).
When we got to the flat we both just laid about, a bit exhausted after all the walking we had done. I looked over our flight details and realised we were actually leaving on the 27th not the 28th, which i had told Baba and planned around. We managed to work everything out and we just miss out on an extra say in Prague which we thought we had.
I started to pack some of my winter things and souvenirs into Baba's suitcase because she wants to take things home for me. Her suitcase seems full already and heaps of her things aren't in there yet. We're at the moment working out what we won't wear again and what to leave here and what to just leave on benches along the way for people who need them.
I then washed a heap of clothes in the bathroom sink which took a while and listened to Baba watching Forest Gump in the background in Czech... Voice over was no where near as good as Tom Hanks' in the movie.
I then had a snack of a wafer thing and a bit of chocolate and got ready for bed. I had planned for an earlier night as we have to go to the crematorium early tomorrow where Baba's parents are buried if we want to go. This is because the private ceremony for Vaclav Havel is at the same place, so that must be where he is being buried. We are hoping this will be later in the day though.