A Travellerspoint blog

Farewell Prague

Our last day in Prague and after an average nights sleep we mustered the stamina to walk into town and back one last time. The markets in front of the Town hall were still going strong and *the* sausage vendor was being as shady as ever (refused to give the guy in fornt of us the right change and forced him into buying two hot dogs when he only wanted one). Kirstie had some farewell funnelcake, we both had waffles and Tom tried hot mead. Back in our rooms by 5, we spent the evening reorganising some of our travel plans and rebooking accordingly.

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New Years in Prague

(Prague Castle Part 2)

Today's list included St Vitus' Cathedral, "The Story of Prague Castle" exhibition, the Convent of St George National Gallery, and the Rosenburg palace. Again, there was a bewildering amount of stuff to see, with the Cathedral and the National Gallery being the highlights. Of all the history learned over the course of the two days, one event stood out as a clear favourite. In 1618 a failed uprising by the local Catholic nobility against the ruling Protestant class lead to the trial of two of the rebel noble leaders. In a palace room overlooking the castle ramparts, the hapless fellows were found guilty and sentenced to defenestration - death by being thrown from a window. In the ensuing kerfuffle, an unwitting secretary to the two men was also seized, and the three men thrown the window. Whether by the grace of God or a fortunately placed pile of manure, all three men survived the 21 metre fall and the subsequent musket fire and returned to their homes relatively unscathed.

Being New Years Eve, we had booked a dinner package at a cosy cellar restaurant on the edge of the river, right at the base of the Charles bridge on the Old Town side. For our 1000 Forints each($50), we got both got a litre of beer, an entree, soup, a main, two glasses of champagne, dessert (a very yummy dessert) and a second dinner (of sausage and lentil salad). All of this served by friendly tartan-clad witers, over a romantic candlelit table for two, besides a terrace overlooking the water and 20 minutes of spectacular fireworks and you have our New Years of 2011/2012. The only downer was a quite painful walk home along the glass littered streets (we overestimated our public transport options).

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Prazsky Hrad

Prague Castle Part 1

Horror!

A late start, bad weather, huge queues, unhelpful ticketing systems and extortionate prices put us in front of St Vitus' Cathedral in a very bad mood. Yet, the tickets we bought were valid for two days and we were given some extra time to use our audio guide so our initial anger subsided somewhat. There are a lot of things to see at Prazsky Hrad, or Prague Castle, and we absorded far too much information to concisely summarise here. The places we covered on part 1 of our castle tour included St George's Chapel, the Old Royal Palace, Prague Castle picture gallery, the Golden Lane, and the Powder tower. It was today we discovered that it is within Prague castle that Good King Wenceslas (935 AD) is buried, along with his grandmother St Ludmila and a good many of the Premyslid kings. Hours of 13th century frescoes, baroque architecture, audio guides, grumpy curators and display cases stuffed full of medieval artefacts later we returned our audio guides to the front desk and found a flouro-pizzeria-cave where we had a traditional Czech meal of pizza and ribs (jokes). Plus we won a free cocktail on the Wheel of Chance!

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Introduction to Prague

The original plan for today had been to do the majority of the attractions at the top of the Castle, but a late breakfast and an unexpectedly scenic walk meant we didn't arrive at the base of the Castle until nearly noon. Reassessing, we decided to leave the Castle until tomorrow and instead do a day time tour of the New Town. Exploring the markets more thoroughly, we were reunited with delicious funnelcake, of which there were many vendors selling miniature versions of the Hungarian kind. Lunch was a market hot dog with deliciously hot sausage and fresh bread, although we had to boycott the dodgy vendor in the big square because he was rude and refused to accept a 200 Kc ($5) note that had the smallest of tears. In between meals we visited three of Prague's many baroque churches. The first was St Nicholas', considered to be the pre-eminent example of Renaissance baroque architecture in the Czech Republic. The second was a much smaller and more plain church we found in the back streets of the Old Town. It was remarkable for its display of the remains of two 17th century martyrs, their saintly bones visible in their glass coffins. The third was the Church of St Augustine, a more low key building with ornate gilded marble altars. We had drinks at a cafe then moved to a restaurant at the entrance to the Charles bridge where we had goulash and funnelcake before catching the metro home.

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Prague

Up before the sun to catch our bus to Prague. The 5 hour trip was pleasant enough, the bare winter countryside punctuated by the occasional town and small forest. We arrived in Prague at midday, and were soon checked into our accommodation by the river. Full of energy after such a long bus ride we ended up inadvertently seeing most of Prague on our way to find the nearest McDonalds. We crossed the Charles bridge, stormed up the Castle, entered St Vitus' Cathedral, stormed back down the Castle, found the Old Town square (complete with Christmas markets), gazed at the astronomical clock, and finally, 5 hours of non-stop walking later, stopped for dinner at a restaurant on the main drag of Prague and ate 1.3kg of delicious warm ham, straight from the bone. It had been an unexpectedly busy introduction to Prague.

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