We came back to the hotel early escaping a thunderstorm, but we were pretty much done with our day anyway. I thought “yay, I can get the blog up early and get to bed early.” Not a chance. We started with over 115 photos, and really only did 2 things! I finally got it down to about 70 and the internet here is dreadfully slow so getting them off our phones and uploaded here took awhile. Oh well. It’s a picturesque place that we wanted to remember so hopefully you will enjoy them, too. And if not, too bad 🙂
We both slept good but didn’t get up as early as we’d hoped. The plan was to take advantage of the hotel breakfast that starts at 6am so we could get on with our day before the crowds set in. We went down about 7:15 and left the hotel about 8:30. So much for that idea.
This was on our way into the city center. We stayed about a mile away and took a different path in than we did yesterday. I probably took more of these shots than I needed to but I always enjoy them. What are you looking at exactly? Nothing in particular. I love the way certain blocks look that strike me as quintessential Europe and this was one of them. Minus the James Dean sign on the shop on the left that is.
And this is another of those. You turn a corner and something appears. As we were approaching this I was like “hey, that looks like the Astronomical Clock.” Cuz it is. We had just approached it from a completely different direction so was surprised to walk into the same square we’d left last yesterday. So we started where we ended essentially.
At 8:50am, there was a crowd already forming for the same reason we were there: the 9:00am show.
The Apostles doing their thing. We managed to get a video of it, too, which you can check out here if you like.
This guy was at the entrance to the Charles Bridge. Couldn’t figure out who he was, mostly I just thought he looked cool. Art had made a comment on our photos yesterday about them looking like a fairy tale, and everywhere I looked today, that’s what I saw. Doesn’t he look like a fairy tale king? Everything here really does sort of have that look about it.
The entrance to the Charles Bridge. It is the oldest bridge in the city. Construction began in 1357 and it was finished in 1402. It is famous for having 30 or so statues situated on it. (Don’t worry, we only took photos of a few!) It gets compared to a bridge in Paris that is also rich with statues but I like this one better. It’s older, has more history, and is only for use by pedestrians, although they did used to allow cars and trams. Much better this way.
We got there a little after 9am and the crowds weren’t out yet. You’ll see later it doesn’t stay that way.
This was in the Castle, Diet Hall it was called. It was the meeting place for the King at the time (or Queen if you’re Maria Theresa) and the other folks in his circle who made decisions for the town. There was a lot of history in this first section of our tour, and it was interesting to see how well this trip tied history together: so many connections between Vienna, Bratislava and Prague. The Habsburgs used this castle as the seat of their empire for a short period of time in the 1600’s. Maria Theresa and other Austrian monarchs also held the Bohemia crown as well as Austria and Hungary. Not shown here, there was a big painting of her on the left. But for the better part of 900 years, this was considered the seat of power for the Kingdom of Bohemia. The name of the first Bohemian king, year 1086? Vratislav. I had seen that reference in Bratislava, too, only there it was spelled Bretislav. But now we know where that name comes from.
After the cathedral we went to watch the changing of the guards, which is a 10 minute ceremony that occurs every day at Noon. There were a lot of people gathered around when we got there 10 minutes before so we didn’t have the best view. But it was close enough and Dan was able to get some good shots, especially since “the change” (3 outgoing, 3 incoming) marched right in front of him and into the courtyard where we were standing.
Next was an observation deck built to look like the Eiffel Tower. It was constructed in 1891. Earlier in the day we’d been talking about this thing he has for disasters. It usually starts with him saying “wouldn’t it be funny if…” and then this horrible thing comes out of his mouth that he would find exciting. When we were at the top level of this – as seen in the photo – it wasn’t open like the first level, you were enclosed except for a few windows. It was pretty crowded, noisy, and my claustrophobia was kicking in. And it was swaying. Just a little, but you could feel it. So there goes Dan: “wouldn’t it be funny if this toppled over? I wonder if anyone would survive.” Me: “No, it wouldn’t, and I need to go now…” I just walked down the stairs a bit, which were all outside and there was a terrific breeze blowing. Felt great. All that said, the view from the top was amazing and it was well worth the climb.
It is 11:00pm on Monday and that’s a wrap for Prague. We leave for Dresden, Germany, tomorrow morning.