Prague

Trip Start Aug 28, 2011
1
6
26
Trip End Sep 19, 2011


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Where I stayed
Aparthotel Sibelius Prague
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Thursday, September 1, 2011

The drive to Prague and our hotel took most of the day.  Negotiating big city traffic is not my idea of a good time and Prague is not a car-friendly town.  The task was made much easier by the fact that Bruxi brought a GPS into which we could enter our destination address and it took us right there.  GPS makes traveling so much easier.

We had stopped just outside Prague and called one of the likely looking recommendations in my guidebook for a place to stay to see if they had a vacancy.  They did and offered us a great rate.  It was an apartment hotel so our "room" had a fully furnished kitchen, living area and separate bedroom.  All for the price of a hotel room.  We were close to a metro stop and it was an easy task to take the metro to the castle and old town area, which was exactly what we did.

Our first stop was the Prague Castle, which like castles everywhere, was built on the top of the hill.  The metro deposited us near the base and we climbed to the top.  The entrances are guarded by guards at sentry posts holding bayoneted rifles whose principle duty appears to be serving as a backdrop for tourists who want pictures of themselves standing next to a uniformed poker-faced guard.  While we were in the castle a contingent of three soldiers, presumably two soldiers and an officer, marched through the castle; I assume to the entrance for the changing of the guard.

The castle is more small city than just a castle with lots of narrow, winding cobblestoned streets, houses, businesses, cafes, churches, monuments, and, of course, squares.  A couple was using one of the squares behind the St. Vitus Cathedral as a backdrop to what I'm guessing will be fairly unique wedding photos.  I'm not sure if they were in the photographer's tow or the photographer was in their tow.  Probably the former because the photographer, as they ususally are in such situations, appeared to be the one in charge.  The couple was dressed as king and queen and, what better place to be king and queen (even if only for a day) than a castle.

The Prague Castle has been used by Bohemian kings since about the 9th century, though, of course it's seen a few architectural changes since then.  it's still used as the location for special official occaisons (not that a wedding isn't special... it just isn't official...) such as the inaugurations of presidents.

We left the castle following part of the Royal Route: the traditional path along which medieval Bohemian kings paraded on their way to being crowned in the St. Vitus Cathedral.  While on the route our attention was called by a mannequin reaching out of a basement window from a very dark basement level pub with long well worn wooden tables and benches that claimed to have been in business as a pub consistently since 1475.

We walked across the Charles Bridge over the Vltava River and, as much as I wanted to take pictures both to share and for my own memories the pictures wouldn't have been of the bridge, even though we were walking across it.  All you would have seen would have been hoards of tourists and lines of vendors and entertainers selling souvenirs, caricatures, paintings, photographs, books, postcards, clothing, food, playing various instruments or even giving a marionette show.  It's a huge and beautiful bridge, lined along both sides with large statues and guarded at either end by large towers.

I never did quite figure out the young people, with faces to the ground, holding out a hat or some container for money.  Even though I never saw anybody put money in their containers they had to be collecting something.  There were a number of them scattered around.




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