Trip Start Jun 18, 2003
Trip End Jul 03, 2003

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Thursday, June 19, 2003

Our flight arrived in Prague at 9am and we had a full tour day ahead of us.  Not that I had slept since the day before at home.  After a quick stop at the hotel we went out sightseeing. 
  The town square is a great place to wander around, although it's a bit touristy.  However there's tons of intact medieval architecture and even paintings on some of the walls.  Also, they have a medieval atronomical clock which still works...not that I know what it's saying.

Despite all the sightseeing, as I said we were starting to get cracked out and took any break we could get.    Prague is known for it's crystal and since we were with a bunch of hardcore shoppers we visited a couple of stores where we quickly found the comfiest chairs to try and steal a quick nap.

By 6 I was about to collapse but we still had dinner.  It ended up being multiple courses and multiple hours long.  My main focus became staying awake in the dimly lit restaurant and I entertained myself by taking pictures of the food.   I don't actually remember what it tasted like...but it was very pretty.

After that, we crashed for a very nice sleep in actual beds, which was good because the next day we went all over the place.  Our first stop was Hradcany castle.  Supposedly the largest castle ever built though it seems that claim is thrown around by a lot of different castles.  The castle itself is not too impressive.  It's more like a large compound of buildings with no particularly interesting architecture.

St. Vitus' Cathedral, on the other hand, was much more exciting and was also the first cathedral I'd ever been too.  Despite it's extremely Gothic appearance it was only completed fairly recently (100-200 years ago...? can't quite remember).  Like many cathedrals, they ran out of funds and took many centuries to complete.  The front facade was largely covered up with scaffolding...the first of many buildings on the trip that would be under extensive restoration.    Here's the backside instead with all the flying buttresses.

We also visited the Golden Lane.  Kind of a tourist trap but still fun.  The Golden used to be a little lane between the castle of miniature houses inhabited by alchemists and crazy scientists and such.   Today the houses are intact but you have to pay admission to get into the lane, making it strictly a tourist attraction.  Each house sells souvenirs and such and it's VERY crowded during the summer.  Still, it's worth the low entrance fee and  the souvenir shops aren't all that cheesy.  There's a cute bookstore and music store that I remember.

While also in the castle area, we came across one of the highest points in Prague where you can get some awesome views of the city.  That ended our siteseeing for the day although we did run into one very drunken Batman on the way back to the hotel. 

The next day we were getting up early for a bus ride to Austra.
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