Prague - A Charming City

Trip Start Mar 25, 2009
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Trip End Jul 02, 2012

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Sunday, June 20, 2010

I would have to say that Prague is my favorite city in the world.  It is absolutely beautiful.  The people are nice, most speak English, the food is great!!!

We stayed at the Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa.  This is a wonderful hotel.  In the dining room there is a spectacular crystal chandelier.  I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the city.  It is literally right across the street from the U. S. Embassy.

Our first evening in Prague, we at at David's, a restaurant just around the corner and up the hill from the hotel.  This was one of the best meals I have had in quite some time.

In the area of the hotel, the streets are all cobblestone.  It was quite entertaining to watch the red streetcars going by in each direction, taking commuters to their daily business.

On our first full day in the city, we walked to the Charles bridge.  The bridge was first commissioned in 1357.  We were so early that there were very few people out.  The bridge is world famous, in part, due to the numerous statues that line the sides of the bridge.

Just south of the bridge, a small sliver of the river winds its way through a portion of the Lesser Town (Mala Strana).  It was there that I spotted an old water wheel.  I am certain that in the past the wheel provided power for manufacturing or grinding meal.

From the bridge, looking back to the west, one can easily see St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle.  The views look like something one might see on the box of a puzzle being sold in the United States.

At the bridge, the river is quite wide, maybe 300 meters or so.  There is a lot of traffic on the river.  There are also several fishermen on the river in small boats at any one time.

We made it back to the hotel around 10:00, just in time to catch our ride to the Czech Crystal Showroom.  Of everything we did while we were in Prague, this was the worst activity.  It was a very high-pressure crystal business.  Some of the crystal and jewelry available was well over $1,000.  We did buy some wine glasses (about $150), but they tried to get us to buy several thousands of dollars worth of crystal.  It seems nice at first because they picked us up in a Mercedes.  The showroom was about a 15 minute ride from our hotel.

When we made it back to the hotel, we had just enough time to put our purchases in our room before we went out to hit the streets again.

We walked to toward the Charles Bridge again.  Just before we got to the bridge we spotted a small, old, purple convertible car.  As it turned out it was used to tour the city.  We were just in the right place at the right time.  We hired the driver to take us on a 45 minute tour.  It was worth every penny.  He was a very nice young man who spoke perfect English.  At the end of the tour he brought us back to the bridge.

From there, Leslie and I walked back across the Charles Bridge.  We mad our way to Wenceslas Square.  We found the old city hall and the astronomical clock tower.  There always seem to be throngs of people at this location to watch the clock hourly.

We walked back across the river using the bridge just north of the Charles Bridge.  We slowly made our way back to our hotel.  We found ourselves there in time for a free wine tasting with various cheeses.

That evening we ate at Restaurant Umodre Kachnicky (The Blue Duckling).  The food here was quite good.  It was recommended to us by the staff at the hotel.  We would highly recommend it to anyone spending time in Prague.

We were able to spend a little bit of time at the Castle complex and St. Vitus Cathedral.  Parts of this Cathedral date from about 925!  Yes, that is right, 925!  In the Cathedral, one of the most spectacular sights is the Tomb of St. John of Nepomuk.  According to church documents, St. John was actually tortured in front of King Wenceslas IV.  That happened around 1393.  The tomb consists of two tons of silver.

When Leslie asked one of the docents about the tomb, he took us aside.  He motioned us into a closed portion of one of the side chapels, near the Sepulcher of St. Adalbert.  We walked to the rear of the chapel.  He opened an iron gate and we began to descend a flight of stairs.  We ended up below the main floor of the Cathedral, where some of the royal tombs are located.  The three of us were not able to communicate very well because of language differences, but the "special" tour was very unexpected and very interesting.

At one point during our stay, Leslie and I both said, "Prague is just a breathtaking city."
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