March 29, 2007
April's European Adventure
Prague, what an amazing city! Where old world meets new, and baroque and art nouveau combines with the avante garde. After one day I fell in love with Prague! And yet I've only begun to uncover her many layers. It's like walking into a fairy tale. We are staying a great family owned and operated hotel in Mala Strana called Hotel Julian. It's rated a 3 star but offers 4 star service. The staff speaks excellent English and is very helpful. Our room is spacious and has many thoughtful touches like hand painted dressers. There is a full buffet breakfast and good strong coffee - Dave is in heaven. ;)
We started our adventure yesterday walking through the gardens of Mala Strana. We wound our way up to Petrin Hill where we could see the entire glorious city - we probably took about a 50 pictures there. Our walk took us to a great little Italian cafe called Bellevista overlooking the city where we enjoyed pivos (beers) and tried to speak the language, very difficult! But I think they appreciated us trying to ask for things in Czech. Here "Ano" means yes, but they use the abbreviated version "No", and "Ne" means no - so it can be confusing. After our pivos we meandered through the Prague Castle walls and into Wenceslas Square. Such beautiful and intricate buildings! But nothing compares to the awe inspiring gothic architecture of St. Vitus Cathedral which was built around 925 - just walking inside took my breath away! It is now the burial place of five saints and many Czech princes, kings, archbishops and other significant people. (I had to copy that from the brochure they hand out so I would get it right ;). But just realizing the depth of the ages that this Cathedral has been through, going into the crypt where the tombs are kept, and seeing the beautiful relics and details of the stained glass windows was a spiritual experience. At the end we climbed 287 stairs up one of the spires - it was claustrophobic and exhausting, but the view at the top of Prague and beyond was worth it. As we were coming down Dave made a joke that they probably made the priests run up and down those steps as a form of punishment - instead of 100 pushups it would be "50 turns up and down the spire!"
From here we walked through the labyrinth of cobblestone streets and shops - so many little alleyways and different ways to get lost. I felt like Alice in Wonderland! We enjoyed lunch at a little outdoor cafe. Everything I've eaten here is delicious and inexpensive! Our yummy lunch for two including two more pivos and tip was only $24!After an afternoon of shopping we headed back to the hotel to upload all of our pictures - we had used an entire memory card in one afternoon! Our hotel is in a great location within 15 minutes walking distance to Hradcany Square which is where we headed next. We crossed the famous Karluv Most bridge at sunset. So beautiful and romantic! We saw as much of the Old Town Square as we could, taking in the many flavors, sights and sounds of this beautiful city. We did and saw so much and yet there is so much more to discover. And today without a plan and maps and guide books in hand, we're going to let this incredible city take us wherever she desires.