Oh what a beautiful city

Trip Start Jan 08, 2012
Trip End Feb 02, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday 22nd January

Prague, Czech Republic

(There will be no diacritical markings on any of the Czech names as I have no idea how to type them in, my apologies)

We had a good train journey from Vienna first on a double decked city train which took us to Breclav in the Czech Republic where we changed trains to a Czech train, not quite in the same league as the Austrian trains but comfortable enough. There was little to photograph on the way, snow covered some areas and other areas had no snow at all. We arrived on time in Prague and made our way to our hotel in the Lesser Town.  Our hotel is near Malostranske Namesti (Mala Strana Square) which is a focal point between the Old Town and the castle.  We have a big family room with four single beds and a cot, very nice cot too –wooden oval shaped on wheels!  The room was big and warm and had a kettle so we could make drinks, very handy.  There are plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes within walking distance.

Monday 23rd January

The day was slightly overcast with rain threatened, although it didn't until early evening.

We were within walking distance of Karluv Most (Charles Bridge), which is a magnificent medieval crossing over the Vlatava River with sculptured saints on the parapets.  Artists sell their wares from stalls set up daily on the bridge.

We walk on into the Staromestske Naemesti (Old Town Square), visitors throng through the Old Town Square all year, entertained by street performers and enchanted by the Astronomical Clock and the facades of the old buildings.  When the clock chimes men appear at the top two windows and then the cock crows.  There are crowds of people waiting for ten o’clock to arrive, we don’t have long to wait.

We continue walking through the streets of Prague past the Powder Tower and through a shopping precinct until we arrive at the bottom of Vaclavske Namesti – (Wenceslas Square).  It is still the place where the city’s heart beats most strongly. At the top of the Square is the statute of a horse and rider and round the bottom of the statute has become a shrine in memory of ex-president Haval who died in December.  The area is covered with candles and flowers. Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who helped, peacefully, bring down Communism in Czechoslovakia and end the Cold War, died December 18th 2011, age 75.

Marks & Spencer has a shop in Wenceslas Square and of course we had to visit it!  Much the same as at home.

Narodni museum (National Museum) is an impressive building at the top of Wenceslas Square.  We then caught the metro/underground back to base before heading on up to the castle.

Prazsky hrad (Prague Castle), the thousand windows of the castle gaze over the city.  This is the citadel of the Czech nation and includes palaces, churches, streets, squares and treasures.  It was amazing and reminded me of the Kremlin where there were squares and churches inside the Kremlin wall.  There are soldiers on guard at the gates (Mike was a Grenadier Guard on duty at Buckingham Palace/Windsor Castle/Tower of London/ St. James’s Palace so sympathised with the soldiers, tourists and cameras).  We walked through the courtyard into the inner courtyards to see the twin towers of St Vitus’s Cathedral which is quite breathtaking.  The long haul up the many steps to the castle and the view of Prague is absolutely terrific.  We then walked around the area where there are again amazing architecture and relative peace, very few people were there.

I was in Prague for a fortnight in July 1970 with my penfriend.  I travelled by train on my own which took 2 days and not the day it takes now.  I remember stopping at all the borders but can't remember much about Prague except the cobbled streets as we cycled around.  The streets remain cobbled.

It really is a beautiful city and if you haven't visited you must, well worth a week-end away but there was no snow in Prague ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
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