Sunday, July 4, 2010

Prague Adventure, May 2010

Prague, in the Czech Republic has been on our list of "must sees"! We got a three-day weekend and were very excited to make the trip.

The local police were also very excited for us to make this trip! In fact, they were waiting for us. No sooner did we cross the border than we got stopped and cited for not having a certain toll sticker. Who Knew? Rick Steves guide book said to check into this at the border station - which was not there! A 10 euro toll and a hundred euro fine! Welcome to the Czech Republic!

Before we reached the city of Prague we chose to stop at a smaller castle some friends had recommended. We were unclear on the parking options so we followed another car up a small road towards what looked like a small market square. Uh Oh! No parking up there. Vendors only! Gary dropped us off and promptly exited to find appropriate parking. Too late! The local police were actually blocking the exit with their vehicle waiting for him. We were a bit sour on the Czech's welcoming committes. It cost us 4o more Euros (paid on the spot of course) to escape.

We finally reach the wonderful city of Prague and are anxious to see if all this "trouble" is worth it.

We were plannng on staying at Alexanders Pension 12 near the mission home/church. But there was a plumbing incident and he arranged for us to stay at a different place but for the same great price! He even came and got us for Breakfast both mornings:) His place was a bit more convenient for walking into the city sights each day - so it worked out well.

This is a city one visits to see many of the old buildings in their original construction. But we managed to see an odd modern touch or two. It's not often one gets to see a sculpture made entirely of keys.

Mel is determined to get the whole height of this church into the photo. Her passion for the shot requires her to sit on the ground to check the sighting. Gary will need to pose to do his part in this effort.

Ta Da! We got the steeple and Gary! Mel is pleased and Gary says, "Now, can we go?"

Prague is a wonderfully preserved city with numerous churches and they are each unique. Most churches offer a concert nightly during the heavy tourist season. Vivaldi & Bach were typical of the programs presented.

This church is near the castle but not within the castle grounds or wall. Just imagine all the bells ringing multiple times each day. No need for an alarm clock!
We really enjoyed the feeling of all these saints looking over the people on the street. We chose this church to attend a concert on our first night in town.

Each church interior is delightful. The architecture adds to the chamber feeling for the music presented.

From one of the lower, minor squares of Prague we can look up to the Prague Castle. There is a cathedral right on the castle grounds, one just outside and another where we stand for this photo. And there are dozens of other cathedrals all over the city.

Here Gary is outside the Prague Castle. Our friends the Whiddons are heading on but we want to preserve the memory through photos. Well, Mel does anyway:)

This church is within the castle walls. I guess it would make it easier to get to church on time having it so close and all. It was quite ornate inside.

Just this one alter piece contains several tons of silver. The contributions to make grand interiors in the churches were apparently generous.

We witnessed the changing of the guards outside the castle. But inspite of Mel's efforts he was forbidden to smile or respond. Apparently, they take the guarding of the castle, the church and their treasures quite seriously:)

We were interested to see that the roads, at least in this case, were repaired one brick or stone at a time. As charming as the cobblestone is...ohhh it's hard on the feet after a 10 hour day of sightseeing!

Gary takes a peek through a piece of an old city wall up near the Prague Castle. Originally these slits allowed arrows to fly in defense of the castle.

But today there is just a pleasant view of the residential area surrounding the castle walls.

The buildings surrounding the main square are just the sights you'd expect in fairy tales! Here you see a very old church tucked behind buildings that are a bit more modern (still old and charming).

Looking back at the old city from the St. Charles Bridge you can get a feel for the charm that is just squished into one photo! From this bridge gateway you can see that there are many layers of "old".

On the Charles Bridge there were many street vendors and musicians. Gary especially liked the trumpeter. The performers looked like they were having fun.

In the main city square there were many tempting food options. Above is bread dough grilled on rods and coated with sugar afterwards. A bit "smokey" but tasty.

A bicycle built for five! We noticed the advertising on jackets was in English. A clever way to pedel tourists around the city. It requires the cooperation of the two employed pedlers to manuver through the crowed pedestrian areas.

" Pig grilled on a stick "was also an option. Big, huge slabs of pig were wacked off and served with a piece of very hearty bread.

It's a miracle! Gary found a stand that specialized in Potatoes. The plain baked ones looked "normal" but the rest of the dishes were too strange for him to consider:)

The astonomical clock on the old town square.Everyone stops as the apostles march out from the door at the side of the clock each hour on the hour. Then a bugler blows his horn in several directions. Then, everyone goes back to cafes and shopping.

The details in Prague were not disappointing! Weathered and worn doors boast amazing hardware.

Prague's Jewish quarter still has some charming buildings. Admired by both Jews & Gentiles.

The hemlines were nearly as fascinatating as the skyline:)

Great memories from this place. For us, this worn but wonderfully preserved city by the river Vltava riveled Paris for charm. Many big and grand buildings.

Just look at the variety of rooflines as we gaze down most any street! We are so happy to have visited was on our "Bucket List". This may be our last "big trip" (3day) for quite awhile...but there are still plenty of amazing places to go on our Saturdays:)

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