Prague, Czech This Out
55 ~ all day. Drizzling off and on. Gray skies prevail.
But, in spite of it all – we love this city!
I knew Prague would be amazing, and frankly I wanted to see Budapest first because I figured if we visited Budapest after Prague it would be a disappointment (and I was right). Today, because the weather forecast was so dismal, we amended our original plans and decided to take a very comprehensive tour (called ‘The Ultimate Tour’). Although tiring, it proved to be a great experience and really helped us understand the complex history of this charming city.
Much of the tour was walking, but we did have a few respites along the way. We managed to see New Town (Nové Město), Old Town (Staré Město) and cruise the Vltava River before walking through the Josefov Jewish Quarter, having lunch in Old Town and walking across the Charles Bridge (in our heaviest rain of the day) to the Little Quarter (Malá Strana), where we caught a tram to the Prague Castle. We definitely hit the highlights including Wenceslas Square, St. Vitus’s Cathedral, Old Town Square, the Old Jewish Cemetery, the changing of the Guard at the Castle, the Old Town Hall with its beautifully ornate Astronomical Clock and much more. We managed to hit many of the ‘Top 10’ on my list. I’m glad we did this, because it was mighty tempting to head back to our spacious suites, and read-away the afternoon.
Crowds were crazy, particularly in the afternoon, and navigating the sea of umbrellas was often difficult and hazardous. A couple of Australian men managed to become separated from our small group and were missing til our guide went back to search for them. Otherwise, they could still be wandering the streets of Old Town. Of course it’s a busy time of year to visit Europe and on a Sunday the weekend visitors are in; but apparently they have had some really awful weather here with torrential rain, and today people may have just needed to break-out.
Even in the gray drizzle, this town is magical: the beautiful colors of paint on many of the buildings; the bright gold accents on monuments, buildings and statues; the cleanliness and sense of order; as well as the endless charm of the narrow streets and structures built during the last 1000 years. I am amazed at the intricate and varied stone patterns on the sidewalks, with seemingly endless designs, each one a work of art. At every turn you feel like you have turned another page of a fairytale.
Hopefully, tomorrow we will be able to retrace some of our steps at a more leisurely, and drier, pace.
Dinner was at Old Town’s Restaurant Rainer Maria (R.M.) Rilke, an absolutely charming, candlelit, cozy spot where we all had a fabulous meal of veal paired with soup or salad. The mushroom soup I had was the best ever and as a bonus, I was finally warm for the first time today.
I don’t think any of my pictures will do this city justice.
By the way – let me elaborate about our unique, lovely hotel. We are staying in apartment/suites carved out of the Baroque Palace of Count Jan Josef Pachta, built in the 18th century. Mozart and his wife were regular visitors, and it was here that Wolfgang had his only encounter with Giacomo Casanova. Beethoven was among the many other composers who also visited. We are located in Old Town just across from the Vltava.
Wish the walls could talk!
Posted on July 31, 2011, in Europe, Historic Interest and tagged Astronomical Clock, Beethoven, Casanova, Charles Bridge, Jewish Quarter, Little Quarter, Mozart, New Town, Old Town, Prague, Prague Castle, Restaurant Rainer Maria Rilke, Ultimate Tour. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.