Day 7 : 14th May 2008 (Wednesday) Torture, wannabe Eiffel towers, Green Fairies
We woke up bright and early for our first and only full day in Prague. Breakfast at the hotel was - hmm - adequate. The plan was to take the tram to the castle stop. Destination Prague Castle - the largest medieval castle in the world. So that is what we did. Its the quickest and easiest way to get there. We arrived just when the changing of the guards was happening (occurs every hour), so after watching that, we thought we'd join the really really long queue to get into St Vitus. From the outside at least, I was impressed. Love the Gothic architecture, the scary looking gargoyles peering down, the beautiful stained glass windows. And the line moved pretty quickly, and we were inside in hardly any time. And it was spectacular. Loved the elaborate tombs, especially the silver St John of Nepomuk's Tomb. The silver for the tomb was mined from Kutna Hora. (I actually planned on doing a day trip there and adding another night to our Prague stay but then I really liked the idea of Ceský Krumlov and we just didn't have enough time to fit it all in... so sad...) And then of course we had climb the 287 steps to the top to enjoy the view. You know the motto - where there be steps - climb. But I have to say, it was worth the effort. Amazing views from the top. We then checked out the other buildings in the complex. St George's Basilica isn't as impressive, the inside is actually pretty boring. I liked Golden Lane. Apparently Franz Kafka used one of the hovels in the early 19th century. And the White Tower is worth mentioning for the grisly torture chamber it houses...
We decided to walk down the Old Castle Stairway down to the city. Better to walk down than walk up I always say. We found a small cafe at the bottom for lunch and then decided to head to the Loreto. We took the tram. They don't allow photography inside, but it was nice. Quiet. After the crowds at the castle. There were some bizarre contents, relics and a treasury. But mostly, it was peaceful, especially the courtyard with the fountains. By now G was getting tired of all the history. And still, I managed to convince him it was time to make our way to the St Agnes's Convent via the Jewish Cemetery. Oh how strong be my powers of convincing (or how much the poor guy puts up with). We walked to the tram stop, and along the way saw some curious things like a policeman on the segway and a weird coin operated toilet in the middle of the street. In case nature calls unexpectedly, I suppose. The walk to St Agnes was also interesting, we actually stopped to watch a movie being made on the streets of Prague. Never did find out which one it was. But it was fascinating.
St Agnes's was also very quiet and peaceful. I especially liked the Strakonice Madonna. But it had been a very long day and I still had more to see. We stopped at a grocery store and it was hard to find what I wanted. Everything was in Czech. (Surprise, surprise). There was this employee following me around, and I finally had to ask him what I wanted. He panicked and asked me to wait while he ran to find his manager who spoke English. It was funny. She finally managed to understand what I wanted, and pointed me in the right direction. And the Czech guy kept following me still, it was weird,until I got to the checkout counter, and then he started pointing and calling out names of countries. It was funny, he wanted to know where we were from. He couldn't figure us out...
Back to Old Town Square and since our hotel was right there, we thought we'd go freshen up
before heading to Petrin Hill. We took the tram to the bottom of the hill and then I was looking for the damn funicular to get to top to save my breath and give some respite to my poor aching feet. For the life of me, I couldn't find where it started, but I could see the tracks. And then I saw a car coming down and headed back down. Unfortunately the Strahov Monastery I wanted to see was closed for the day, and Godwin was glad because he'd gotten more than his fair share of history and museum exhibits for the day. The mini wannabe Eiffel tower was cute but we were in no mood to climb the 299 steps to the viewing platform. The views from the hills were enough for now. The mirror maze and the gardens were nice but the best part was how deserted it was. It was as though we were the only ones there. We walked back down to the bottom of the hill and then walked along the street to find somewhere to have dinner. We found this cozy restaurant and had a really nice dinner, I even ordered a margarita in honor of our last night here. Then we took the tram back and decided to check out Wenceslas Square. I also wanted to see how the metro works because we needed to get to the Na Knízecí bus stop to catch the direct bus to Ceský Krumlov at 11AM as those are few and far between. Everything looked pretty straight forward so we headed back to the hotel after one last look at the clock doing its thing in Old Town Square. I wanted to try Absinthe, but decided against it... I thought I'd stick to one alcoholic drink per day. (And good thing too, because in hindsight, God alone knows what more alcohol would have to done to a little someone I know). I need to get to Ceský Krumlov in one piece tomorrow.Steps walked: 19549
“Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.’” – Lisa St. Aubin de Teran