Trip Start Aug 17, 2012
14Trip End Sep 13, 2012
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Where I stayed
It's been fun practicing our attempts at Czech language. Just as in Poland, everyone is so friendly and eager to help you with a few translations. There are a lot of similarities between Czech and Polish, so it's fairly easy to catch on. A lot of the words are spelled very similar and only have a bit of change on the accents
Old Town Prague and the Prague Castle complex across the river have a very medieval feel to it. We were talking yesterday how it's sort of like Rome when you do a quick glance across the city from a high vantage point - in Rome there are domes everywhere, and in Prague there are medieval gothic church spires everywhere. Walking across St Charles Bridge is very enchanting and offers great views of the city on both sides. Many street vendors are selling paintings, photos, and jewelry. Some of you may have seen the large print in our foyer back home - I bought it on this same bridge in 1998 - fortunately I didn't see any duplicate copies yesterday so it made me feel like I have a real treasure!
Prague Castle is huge and consists of a number of different buildings within its walls. We started our explorations by strolling through the royal gardens. They were designed by both Italians and French and have beautiful colorful geometrics patterns. There are also several fountains and a large variety of trees from different countries. Kelley picked out several rather large designs and fountains that she would like for me to build....I don't think our current yard is large enough though!!! Next we saw a changing of the guard as we were about to enter one of the castle courtyards. (these guys smile way too much by all the gawking tourists and cameras - you could tell they were trying to hold back. They would never make it at Buckingham Palace or Arlington National Cemetery!) We bought our tickets and picked up an audioguide and made our way to St. Vitus Cathedral. Magnificent!!!!! Very gothic with baroque accents - the color stained glass windows against the stone interiors and high gothic arches were breathtaking. A lot of Czech history can be learned just from a tour of this one church
After the church we made our way to the Royal Palace. It had a main hall that was large enough to host jousting knights on horseback at one time! Afterwards we strolled through some of the courtyards and shops (which were former medieval shops such as blacksmiths, butchers, etc). We also contemplated spending a night in the medieval prison - but opted out. The modern prisons we have today would be luxury hotels by these standards! I told Kelley we would probably have a lot less crime today if we would go back to these medieval prisons.
After a brief pause for a good local pastry we made our way to a monastery for an evening concert. Fabulous! Excellent acoustics! It was a string quartet and solo vocalist on a few of the numbers. They played an assortment of classical songs and finished off with a surprising encore of Amazing Grace! Absolutely beautiful!
Lastly, I think Kelley's highlight of the day was when she was finally able to get her hair straightener to work after borrowing a different electrical converter from the hotel! Ha! It will be a good hair day today! :)