Prague

Trip Start Aug 14, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Journey to Prague

The journey from Stawiski to Warsaw took three hours.  Once we arrived in Warsaw, we waited around for our overnight bus to Prague which was leaving at 6:00 pm and arriving at 5:00 am.  It was going to be a looong night.  The plans for blogging while on the bus went out the window there was no little pull down tray for my keyboard and the narrow seats are not conducive to blogging.  They are conducive to shifting around a lot and dozing for 15 to 30 minutes at a time.  I don't want to sound whiny because at some point I'll be on a long bus ride in Southeast Asia with wall to wall people and livestock and I will fondly recall the overnight bus to Prague.  Our arrival in Prague was on time but at 5:00 am, on the outskirts of the city, with a couple big backpacks, all we could do was wait for 9:00 am when we could arrive at our apartment and drop off our bags.  The cleaner would be there but we were only allowed to drop off our bags there would be no checking in until the official time of 2:00 pm.  It didn't matter that the cleaner would be finished by 10:00 am...nope, no way, no how, no key and no check in until 2:00 pm.  We called the host and tried to convince her to let us check in at 1:00 pm but it was not going to happen.  Maybe it's the prior communist "rules is rules" mindset but this was the first time our www.airbng.com experience with a host was less than stellar, the apartment was fine, it was basically a place to sleep while we explored the city.

Prague 

Prague is big, 1.2 million people and teeming with activity.  We purchased a three day metro pass and were good to go.The transportation system here is amazing, we never had to wait for the metro for more than a few minutes and it's easy to navigate even for people from the Motor City.  

 Our first stop was the Charles Bridge which spans the Vitava River. Construction of Prague's oldest bridge started in 1357 and was completed in the 15th century.  It is lined by 30 baroque statues of religious figures and is certainly one of the most popular tourist destination in the city.  The stern statues look down on artists sketching caricatures of tourists, vendors selling a myriad of doodads, some tacky, some actually quite nice and let's not forget the entertainers and beggars.  This makes for a symphony of sights, sounds and sometimes even smells.  Dodging all these folks as well as the tour groups makes walking in a straight line virtually impossible.  We zigged and then zagged, stopped for photos and then zigged again.  I'm glad we arrived in October and not during peak tourist season.

Another well known spot in Prague is the Old Town Square, this area has been untouched since the 10th century and is lovely.  One of the centerpieces of the square is the Astronomical Clock, completed in 1490 by Master Hanus.  By the way, legend has it that the king had Hanus blinded after the clock was completed so that he could not design another one.  Hanus showed him, by throwing himself into the works and killing himself, but that's a legend so who really knows what happened.  Every hour until 9:00 pm a throng of people gather around the clock staring at it waiting for something magical to happen.  When the clock strikes the hour, little statues on the sides start ringing bells, doors open and a parade of saints and other religious types take turns appearing in the doorways.  This goes on for a little while and then it's over, someone called it one of the most overrated tourist attractions in Prague and I tend to agree, but the people watching is grand.  It is like an "all you can eat buffet" for pickpockets so keep your valuables somewhere safe.  Old town square is also the place to see all sorts of entertainers.  In our short time there we saw the requisite paint yourself silver and stand real still until someone comes along guy, a band of leather clad barbarian looking dudes,  zoot suit and fedora wearing jazz musicians, some ballroom dancers, a guy with a bubble wand releasing giant bubbles among the masses and a guy dressed as a giant shark...just to name a few.  

A walking tour of Prague Castle rounded our our trip to the city.  Prague Castle is the size of seven football fields and according to the Guinness Book of World Records is the largest ancient castle in the world  Thirteen centuries of building and additions make it an interesting place to explore.  Our tour guide was not only informative but very funny and on occasion slightly off color which made the tour much more fun.  

Our three days in Prague were lots of fun but we were both ready for some time away from all those tourists.  We were ready to go to our first workaway assignments, which we had set up just a few days before.  It was time to really get to know the local people and discover a brand new world on an organic farm in Votice.  
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Comments

Pat Cahill on

Alice and Patrick,

Great post from Prague. We have always wanted to visit there, but have not made it yet. Now, for sure, we are going. Great pix too. Well done.

Joan Bittner on

Wow, what an adventure~! What a honeymoon~!
Alice, you will have a journalist bone or two in you!

teresa on

great fotos ...... brings back memories! thx for all ur updates - look fwd to reading them! off to CA tmrw for a week -- will have some CA wine for the 2 of u! xoxo

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