Fell in love with Prague

Trip Start Sep 07, 2013
Trip End Oct 27, 2013

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Where I stayed
Czech Inn,
What I did
a restored CZ motorcycle
the beautiful skyline, narrow streets, lots of bars and restaurants
lots of buses and trams

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Thursday, October 10, 2013

You know you have left neat housewifely Austria and have arrived in Czech Republic almost immediately. The farms are bigger - hectares of ploughed paddocks, sown with winter crops, gone is the corn and pasture crops, and neat houses. Some cracking of the render, some age on the paint on houses. Gardens are more 'natural', less manicured. On the train too, more grinding on the corners as the slopes in the line aren’t adjusted, realising too late that there is no water in the toilet tap and the flush isn’t an automatic vacuum system, instead, emptying onto the tracks.

Prague is everything they say: beautiful, touristed, wonderful. The building architecture is exceptional, the setting so spectacular, the age and complexity so intriguing, small alleys winding in all directions, the castle over the river on the hill. The locals are so polite, patient and generous, it’s lovely to visit.

We have been to several concerts here. We were walking through the old town and took a leaflet from a young man; the sort of leaflet normally advertising cheap pizza or a happy hour somewhere. Instead, this leaflet advertised an organ and trumpet concert at 8:00 pm, at St. Giles Church, just down the alley. We bought our tickets at the front of the church from a man with a fold up trestle. At 8:00 pm, we were sitting with 50 other tourists inside the church; us cynical Australians visualising the man outside quickly packing up his trestles, throwing everything into a battered old Skoda and driving gleefully off. But no, instead, we were sitting in an amazing baroque church, tall square columns topped with golden filigree; angels, cupids, saints and carvings everywhere, dressed in gold. Carved marbled columns; 17th century oak pews, with intricately carved ends. The music was fantastic. The trumpet soared into the painted dome ceiling, the low notes of Bach and Charpentier vibrated through the air. It was the sweetest 65 minutes we have spent for a long time. I left feeling as if it was a once in a lifetime event! The next day, we walked past several other churches, including St. George’s Basilica in Prague castle. They too, were advertising organ concerts, with flute, with sopranos. It’s a regular event! Hardly anyone actually goes to church, but the skyline of Prague is dotted with spires of fantastic churches - gothic, baroque, over 1000 years of churches. In order to maintain them, concerts are held in them. And not only churches, our oddest music experiences was a Gershwin/Bernstein/Kern etc. concert in the Spanish synagogue A Mark Dapin lookalike took our tickets. The Synagogue is ornamented on every surface n Moorish designs. Sort of odd! No one was rocking to the music, no, although the musicians (two violins, a viola, cello, double bass and trumpet) were sounding pretty jazzy! That was all that was jazzy about the Jewish quarter!

After seeing some exceptional artwork, I had to promise to visit the technical museum. Trevor thought it refreshing to see the technical content, in particular the motorbike display. The Czechs secretly developed new bikes during WWII, camouflaging them as SS bikes to test ride them. So at the end of the war, they were ready for production, while other countries were still recovering from the war. That is why there were so many cheap CZs and Jawa bikes around after the war.  A new display shows how security systems work and had an interactive display of codes. The enigma code was particularly interesting.

Having gone to Prague in search of less pork, we found that Czech Republic is the pig capital of the world! A local dish includes roast pork, roast duck, gravy, dumplings and sauerkraut – on a platter. Street food includes Prague ham sold by the chunk, with bread. But the beer is good! Pilsener and Budweiser both originate here. But at the moment, its cold enough to have hot wine ( gluhwein) or grog (any hot drink with rum) served from any street stall. Also popular here is slivovice, and varieties of Absinthe. I thought absinthe was a poison in Agatha Christie novels, but here it is, even containing marijuana!
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betsy lyon on

sounds wonderful
I'd heard that Prague was beautiful
maybe on my list for next year
hope you had a happy birthday

lots of love
Betsy and Dad send happy birthday wishes too xxx

Forugh on

Wow Lorraine,

Great to hear from you, sounds like lots of fun and wonderful adventure, I've always had a taste for eastern Europe, but you've increased my urge to visit these countries sooner. You haven't told us about your birthday celebrations yet?

Hope to hear more.

kath on

terrific . We really enjoyed Prague too and are envious. Whats this about a birthday.
Kieran called in with eggs and lettuce - seems OK.

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