Day 2

Trip Start Oct 08, 2009
Trip End Oct 20, 2009

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Saturday, October 10, 2009

Yesterday we found the church that contains the Infant of Prague, then wound our way across the Charles Bridge that is over 650 years old. Finding Old town through narrow, winding alleyways was a challenge yet quite beautiful. There are a surprising amount of tourists for October. We tried the local beer at an outdoor café where we had lunch. Czech food is nothing extraordinary, lots of sausage, sauerkraut, goulash and pork.

Sheila has learned the hard way that one needs to have a shower curtain when using a hand held shower head.  We are still mopping up!

We finished our day with drinks and some new friends on the top of the hotel with an amazing view of the city.

This morning we started our day with an excursion that is included with our cruise. Avalon provides a daily complimentary excursion at all of it's stops, along with additional choices for a fee. Today's was a short city tour that included the "castle" area and old town square.

The castle area is more of a citadel, where there is a cathedral, palaces, government buildings, vast gardens etc. Our guide was very knowledgeable and like many European countries, he is formally trained in a 5 year program.  The cathedral was started in the 14th century but finished in the 19th century.  The stained glass windows were from the art deco era with vibrant, rich colors.  As we left, there was a classical group playing chamber music with the view of the city beneath us.

The history of this country is hard to grasp in such a short outing. There have been reformations, occupations, and communist oppression to name a few.

In old town, we watched the astronomical clock from the 15th century which keeps multiple styles of time simultaneously. 1/12ths of daylight, Jewish (day starts at sundown) and our 24 hour clock.  It shows the cycle of the moon and the alignment of the planets and has moving statues; worth watching to say the least.  While the tourists are looking upwards in anticipation, pickpockets are known to work the crowd with enthusiasm. Leave your passports in your hotel safe, along with your credit cards.

The city is hard to navigate, as the streets are not set out in a grid pattern.  Much like Venice, one needs a map and an awareness of where he or she is at all times.  The best thing that we learned is in this city to make sure you go down all the alleyways and passages.  That is where the real Prague exists. They are not dangerous and this is where you find the locals and best pricing. Lunch was on such an alleyway.

Tomorrow it's on to Nuremberg to start our cruise.

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