Prague Day 1

Trip Start Oct 10, 2013
1
4
7
Trip End Oct 21, 2013


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Praha,
Monday, October 14, 2013

Weather:
Definitely a lot warmer than the last couple of days. I think we are in double digits!

Today was another early morning since we were leaving Munich and heading to Prague.  Our car service from CK Shuttle picked us up at 8:00am and we started our drive to Prague.  The scenery was been pretty plain, mainly highway and trees.  However, at least the traffic has been terrific.  We drove for about 4 hours and arrived in Prague at 12:30pm.  

 Accommodations:
We stayed at Salvator Superior Apartments.  The apartment itself was better than expected.  We stayed in room 504.  The apartment was extremely large.  We had a foyer, large kitchen with all the necessary appliances, bathroom, washing machine, living room with a sofa, tv, table with seating for 4 and a bedroom with double bed.  Location was right on the border between Old Town and New Town, which was perfect.  We were only about 5-10mins walk from Old Town Square and other major historical attractions.


Private Tour:
We arranged a private guide through Personal Prague Guide.  Our guide was Marek Kremer.  He met us at our apartment at 2pm and we started our tour.  He began the tour with a historical overview of the city.  He showed us the Municipal building, which is an example of art novueau.  Next to it is the Powder Tower, which was the remaining piece of the original wall that protected the city in the 1400s.  We then went through the gate and walked to Old Town Square.  Old Town Square was surrounded by shops and restaurants.  In the centre, there is a large statue of Jan Hus, a local preacher who fought against Church corruption and inspired Czechs to fight for their freedom from the catholic church and German rule.  Also in the square are the Tyn Church, St. Nicholas church and the Astrological Clock.  Marek provided a lengthy description of how the clock shows four different times.  Let's just say, it's extremely complicated.  


As we left Old Town Square, we started toward the Jewish Quarter.  Marek gave us an overview of the history of the Jewish people in Prague.  During the 12th century, Jews were outcasted and were forced to live separate from Christians.  They were segregated just outside Old Town, which is now considered the Jewish Quarter.  The Jews lived were segregated until around the 1900s when the Emporor gave the order to tear down the walls surrounding Old Town.  At that time, the Jewish Quarter was considered a ghetto and went through major revitalization.  Now, it houses many of the high-end stores and is considered one of the more expensive parts of the city.  During our walk through the Jewish Quarter,  we saw Old New Synagogue, the Ceremonial Hall, and Pinkas Synagogue. We were told that during the Nazi period, Prague Jews were allowed to catalog and store their work there before they headed to the concentration camps.  While we were in the Jewish quarter, we got a glimpse of the Old Jewish Cemetery.  The tombstones are all compressed together because during the 1400 and 1700s, the Jews were only allowed a certain area to do burials.  We were told that there could be 7 or 8 tombs buried on top of each other and since the Jewish do not believe in moving the bodies after they are buried, these tombs have remained as they were.


After the Jewish Quarter, we started our walk along the Vltava River.  We saw the National Theatre, the bridge tower, the Charles Bridge and the view of the Castle.  


At the end of our tour, Marek took us to U Fleku, which I believe it was one of the oldest pubs in the city.  We ordered some pickled cheese and buttered cheese appetizers and all had a round of beer.  There is only one type of beer that they serve which is brewed in house.  The beer was dark, smooth and delicious.


Dinner:
After the pub, Marek left us and we decided to some dinner at one of his recommended restaurants, Volkkovna, in Old Town.  The place was busy so we got seated on high tables near the front of the restaurants.  The guys ordered their 1L beers and I ordered a regular pint of the Pilsner Irquell.  I ordered baby back ribs, Andrew had sausages and Garrett ordered some meat in cream sauce with bread dumplings.  The food was good and the service was decent.


Jazz Club:
After dinner, we headed back to Old Town to catch a jazz show at Arharta Jazz Club.  There was a local jazz band playing some pop, latin and smooth jazz.  We grabbed a table next to the stage and enjoyed the next hour and a half.  The show ended at midnight and we headed back home for some much needed rest.
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