Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sightseeing in Prague

Feeling very well rested after our quiet night in. Our bartender who we met last night over dinner is planning to leave Europe. He says that Europe has some hard times ahead and that the EU was an awful idea. I'm not sure what he means by that, I want to ask him later today.

We are starting our tour at Prague Castle. Slavic settlements were in the Prague area before Prague was established in the eighteenth century. There were four original towns that were separate (gov't, town hall and fortifications).

Prague castle is still in use as the main office of the President.

Prague, while a largely atheist country, has many churches. They have the same double crosses as we're pointed out in Bratislava. Many survived because Prague was not heavily bombed during World Wars.

Schwarzenberdky Palace has the MOST beautiful scraffito that I have seen. There are beautiful sections on other buildings, but the Schwarzenberg palace has geometric patterns all over.

St Nicholas church in "Lesser Town", downhill from the palaces (green dome), was the headquarters during the communist era for the secret police.

Prague Castle was founded in latter half in the nineteenth century. St Vitus Cathedral is behind Prague Castle and has the scariest looking gargoyles I have ever seen as well as some of the most beautiful and intricate stained glass. The church was started in the 14th century and finished in the 20th. The obelisk in the courtyard is a monument to the victims of WWI. The monument was meant to be twice as tall, but it broke during transport to the castle/cathedral.

I was worried about having a negative view of the city since the drive is was, there is no other word for it, ugly. But Prague is absolutely beautiful away from the newer downtown and the communist block housing developments.

The astronomical clock works only during the day and is located in the old town hall.

Walking around Prague is both beautiful and exhausting. The city is huge and the cobblestone streets are hard after a while. We h en't really had meals, but...

Kôlbasa (sausage with rye bread) and trndlkôlbasa (sausage wrapped in pretzel dough)

Svíčkova hovêzí pečenês citronem, brusinkami a šlehačkou (traditional Czech marinated roast beef with a rich sauce made from cranberry jam and lemon), Pilsner Urquelle and jablkovy závin. And yes, the white stuff is exactly what it looks like, whipped cream. I am eating whipped cream with beef and it is delicious.

AND I ORDERED MY DESSERT IN CZECH!! Go figure, as an American, the only thing I can say in Czech is apple pie.

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