First stop ... Prague.

Community Highlights Europe First stop ... Prague.

Arrival 6degC ..!!

After approximately 30 hours from leaving home (including waiting times between flights) .. Brisbane, Singapore, Zurich, Prague .. we finally landed in Prague to a very warm welcome from our friend, Mila and her family, whom we hadn't see since 2016. After a short catch-up Mila drove us to our hotel in the ‘old town’ for shower and sleep .. with plans to collect us the next day for some sightseeing .. AND we did sleep for a couple of hours.

Our first task was to explore the 'old town' for our first experience of Czech food. We chose a lovely restaurant in the underground of an historic building where you can see an original well from the 12th century .. Restaurace U Templářů .. even the name evokes visions of the Knights Templar sittings around the tables, and the happenings that may have occurred in these underground rooms.

IMG_0197.JPGIMG_0198.JPGIMG_0195.JPG with the 12C well in the background.

One of our favourite things to do when visiting Europe is to sit in the square soaking up the atmosphere and watching the people from around the world wander by. So, coffee and Brecherovka in the old town square after dins on our first evening. And what could be more fitting than an excellent rendition of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in Old Town Square in Prague (played with gloves on .. how good is that!!!!).

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Karlštejn Castle was our destination next day, via a very pleasant drive through the countryside with Mila. After a 1km stroll from the carpark through the charming village of Karlštejn we arrived at the castle. Over 660 years old, it is an imposing structure which was built for the Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1348. It served as his summer retreat and housed the crown jewels until 1420.

Charles IV is held in great esteem in his country, and his influence is evident both architecturally in his construction of churches and monasteries, but also politically as under his rule Prague became the political, economic, and cultural centre—and eventually the capital—of the Holy Roman Empire, which is remembered as the Golden Age of Bohemia.

Our tour provided a solid overview of the history, and the progression of the building stages of the castle over time which was interesting, but I was most surprised by the simplicity of the furnishings.

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This is a major tourist attraction so there were lots of little souvenir stores along the way. Lucky for us there were very few tourists on our visit.

It is always wonderful have the support of a local to show you the hidden gems along the way. After our tour Mila took us on a relaxed and enjoyable walk through the forest to her favourite local restaurant for lunch ... Restaurace a Penzion Pod Draci Skalou -- 'Under the Dragon's Rock'. Mushroom kebabs and a Czech beer for me ... delicious and very enjoyable.

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One of the most stunning buildings in the square is the majestic Church of Our Lady before Týn. When we saw an opportunity to attend a classical concert performed by the Prague Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra we decided to attend. It was quite chilly in the church but we were amused when we realised the seats were heated. I suppose they have to encourage attendance in the cold winter months. The performance was interesting .. somewhat sombre with the pieces chosen .. but it is a beautiful church and definitely worth the experience.

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On Sunday we spent a lovely day at Vyšehrad (Czech for 'upper castle'), an historic fort located in Prague. Built around the 10C the fort is situated on a rocky outcrop above the Vltava River with stunning views of the city. It was a lovely day. The park has many beautiful walks which we enjoyed as well as the many architectural treasures.

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One of the pleasures of being in the 'old town' is just wandering through the cobbled streets with winding alleyways, interesting little shops, observing the many visitors from around the world, and of course the locals going about their everyday. The square itself is a pleasure with beautiful buildings of differing architectural styles, the history, and energy. Mila again was our guide as she enjoyed sharing her culture and city with us. The Jan Hus Memorial, The Old Town Hall with its medieval astronomical clock, The Church of St. Nicholas, the buzz of Charles Bridge with the souvenir sellers, portrait artists, and buskers, and the walk to Prague Castle.

However, I could feel that I wasn't quite 100% well as we enjoyed our day, and eventually succumbed spending most of the next three days in bed. So unfortunately I did miss out on exploring some of these sites .. but fortunately Chas was fine and able to continue going out and about.

IMG_0257.JPG The Powder Tower or Powder Gate is a Gothic tower in Prague. It is one of the original city gates, and separates the Old Town from the New Town.

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2d5871e0-7f90-11e9-8daa-f33a1053bb08.JPG Architectural styles

IMG_0285.JPG The Old Town Hall

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The Church of Saint Nicholas, a Late-Gothic and Baroque church in the Old Town built between 1732-1737

IMG_0260.JPG The Jan Hus Memorial .. a huge monument

a85608b0-80b4-11e9-9a95-4b832a239013.jpg?auto=format Visitiing the book tunnel at Municipal Library of Prague. This is made from actual books.

IMG_0256.JPG Looking down the book tunnel .. it feels as though it is pulling you in

a9b54a90-80b4-11e9-9e5f-77627fa43b28.jpg?auto=format Charles having an in-depth discussion with Charles (Chas).

As I wasn't able to explore and share more of Prague with you, enjoy these freely available images, which do justice to this beautiful city far better than I .. provided by A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) - Own work, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53

Prague_Praha_2014_Holmstad_flott_Jan_Hus_monument_bytorget_Stare_mesto.jpg?auto=formatPrague_07-2016_View_from_Old_Town_Hall_Tower_img3.jpg?auto=format

charles-bridge-3504485_1920.jpg?auto=format Charles Bridge (Image by Markéta Machová from Pixabay )

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Prague Castle overlooking the city (https://www.maxpixel.net/tag/The-Seat-Of-The-Kings)

And the beautiful Astronomical Clock at work. This short video shows the workings of the clock and a little of the enjoyment of visitors. You can see why this exhibition draws crowds each hour, Astronomical Clock Old Town Square

It was wonderful to experience this beautiful city with the support of Mila, and her family and friends. Chas and I very much appreciated their generosity of time and hospitality. Maybe I will have to return to visit the sites I missed. ????

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This featured blog entry was written by patsaunder from the blog Let's do it!.
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By patsaunder

Posted Wed, May 29, 2019 | Czech Republic | Comments