Thursday, August 08, 2019

NORTHERN HIGHLIGHT TOUR - PRAGUE - CZECHOSLOVAKIA

 



approaching Prague



We checked into this huge box hotel, named Hotel Krystal, I don't know why, and for the first time in my life I slept on the 10th floor !! The view would have been nice if the hotel would have been located near Prague !



View out of our window on the outskirts of Prague



Our bus stopped at the river for a parking place and we had a first look on the Charles Bridge. There also were a lot of ducks and a strange animal which came towards us, some of us believed it was a rat, but we weren't sure and even our guide didn't know. Then it returned into the water and swam away.

In Prague it was pouring ! Therefore I didn't see very much from Prague this afternoon on the first day, but umbrellas,  when our bus took us to Prague ! The local guide in Prague didn't walk but was jogging so we jogged after him wet like cats I didn't even have time to take a picture, which anyway in the rain wasn't possible. My mood sank ! I quickly bought an umbrella which didn't help very much !

Then of course I didn't see the guide anymore but our guide had a yellow umbrella, so I ran after the next yellow umbrella, which was the wrong one. Fortunately I found the group again the guides had to stop at a traffic light.



Finally we reached the Town Hall Tower" where we stood beneath and waited for the Astronomical Clock to get into action. Each hour in only 45 seconds 12 apostles parade past the windows above the clock, nodding to the crowd. Death rings a bell and inverts his hourglass.



There was such crowd watching with umbrellas and wet clothes that it really wasn't a pleasure. It's certainly not a place to go in July when many countries have their school holidays. Anyway I saw the tower, but can't remember the apostels !







Walking through the city center we saw  a French market, with French products only. No time to stop but we had the whole day off the next day to come back  if we wanted to.



It was a shame that on these old buildings "street artists" had left their traces !




At a moment we arrived at the Charles Bridge a Gothic stone bridge that connects the Old Town and Lesser Town. It was actually called the Stone Bridge during its first several centuries. Its construction was commissioned by Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and began in 1357.

A total of Baroque statues began to be placed along either side of Charles Bridge in the 17th century. Now many of them are copies and the originals can be seen in the Lapidarium museum. The most popular statue is probably the one of St. John of Nepomuk, a Czech martyr saint who was executed during the reign of Wenceslas IV by being thrown into the Vltava from the bridge. The plaque on the statue has been polished to a shine by countless people having touched it over the centuries. Touching the statue is supposed to bring good luck and ensure your return to Prague.



The shiny plaque. Apparently it brings luck to touch it.






From the bridge you had a beautiful view over the river.

Our next stop was the Prague Castle a castle complex built in the 9th century. It is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept within a hidden room inside it.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world,[ occupying an area of almost 70,000 square metres (750,000 square feet), at about 570 metres (1,870 feet) in length and an average of about 130 metres (430 feet) wide.



Of course we only could see a small part of it and not the inside either.



I had a look into the castle and at the many statues surrounding the court.




To my surprise there was a guard change at the Palace, like for a King or Queen, but this was only the President, and I had never seen a President's guard change ! Shouldn't be in a Republic ! But of course it's good for the Tourist industry. The King of Belgium has no guards anymore, he didn't want that they were standing still freezing in the winter and melting in the summer.





The view over Prague was very nice a pity that the sky was so grey.



We also went into the St Vitus Cathedral Built over a time span of almost 600 years, St Vitus is one of the most richly endowed cathedrals in central Europe. It is pivotal to the religious and cultural life of the Czech Republic, housing treasures that range from the 14th-century mosaic of the Last Judgement and the tombs of St Wenceslas and Charles IV, to the baroque silver tomb of St John of Nepomuk, the ornate Chapel of St Wenceslas and art nouveau stained glass by Alfons Mucha.



When we crossed this square I thought it was a Christmas market, but the little houses were souvenir or food shops.  Probably during Christmas time, they just change the decoration.

The next day we were free and could explore the city alone.











I walked a bit through the old city and the bridge



and a bit along the shopping boulevard which looked very modern



watched the police arresting two street acrobates



and finally found in a park this memorial commemorating the Second World War.

Our stay in Prague ended with a cruise on the river Vltava (Moldau)



It was a very pleasant cruise and we could see a lot along the riversides and a lot of ships !



There was a buffet dressed for us and to my surprise I was served a non alcohol beer the same brand they serve in Egypt and which I had never found anywhere else !



Our cruise boat.

All in all it was Prague which I liked the less from all the big cities I have seen on this tour. Maybe because everybody had told me what a beautiful city it was and I had expected too much. Or it is just a city you have to stay much longer then just 2 days.

7 comments:

Wendy said...

It looks a lovely city but very busy and wet!

William Kendall said...

A beautiful city. I have a particular dislike of graffiti that makes me want to strangle the taggers.

I believe that animal is a marmot. I've looked, and there are European species of the marmot, and they do spend a fair amount of time in the water.

wisps of words said...

New collection of pictures, on your main blog Header!!!!

Our oldest grand daughter and her BF, visited Prague and Budapest, on one of their travels. He was working in the UK for a year. She would fly over and meet him, different places.

They visited in colder weather, though.

She preferred Prague to Budapest, because places in Budapest, gave the feeling of being in just another big city. She preferred the Old City Feel of Prague.


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wisps of words said...

Oh my! I don't think those jogging tour guides, add anything to the experience. Some run, some jog. Awful... I don't think you get your money's worth. Other than to be able to say, you were there. -sigh-


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DUTA said...

I visited Prague about three or four years ago. I was quite impressed by it.

Andrew said...

Sometimes cities are just built up so much by other people, they are bound to disappoint. Having bad weather the first day would not have helped. But you did get some good photos.

Fun60 said...

What a pity about the weather and it seems such a shame that your guide is in a hurry all the time. You need time to see a city, to look and absorb what is there. At least you had a free day there. I liked Prague with its sculptures everywhere and the medieval town square but I was there during the winter so not so many tourists.

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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