Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday July 25, 2015

A busy day today after a stormy night. We had a serious thunderstorm come through at five in the morning and it was cool and gray for most of the day (after the hot, hot weather we have been having, I am not complaining -- not one bit). We were up and out of the apartment before 10:00 am and we proceeded to meet our tour guide, Tereza, outside our building.  Then the three of us walked to the Castle District which is only ten minutes from our apartment. We spent the day touring the Prague Castle and surrounding area. 

Early part of Prague castle 
St. Vitus' Cathedral 

Fortunately for us, Tereza is very nice and patient and not at all discomfited by our weird comments or odd behavior. She says she has seen it all and I believe her. She will be our tour guide for several of the trips and tours we will be taking during the next week.

Entrance to St. Vitus' Cathedral 
Stained glass (actually painted glass) by Alfons Mucha

Our first stop was the Royal Garden and Belvedere. The well-kept Royal Garden includes a gymnasium building whose exterior is decorated with incised plaster with contrasting color plaster underneath. After admiring the cathedral and its flying buttresses from ever closer vantage points it was time to go inside St. Vitus' Cathedral where we admired the stained glass (including one designed by Alfons Mucha) and the chapel of St. Wenceslas with its huge gemstones mounted on the lower walls. Back outside, we next visited the Royal Palace with its unusual vaulted ceiling in the main hall and the famous "defenestration" window (long story but don't worry the people who were thrown out of the window survived. Note to self: 16 meters may not be high enough!) We also visited the Romanesque-style St. George's Basilica which predates St. Vitus' Cathedral and sits upon many tombs of early Czech royals.

Your intrepid reporters
Unusual vaulting on main hall, Royal Palace 
St. George's Basilica 

We then walked to a viewing point and along the way unexpectedly happened upon a military band playing Strauss. That was fun but our energy was beginning to lag a little so Tereza wisely suggested a coffee break, an idea that was quickly embraced by both Russell and I. We walked around the neighborhood surrounding the castle complex (the Prague Castle really is more of a village behind walls than a typical palace type building). This area of Prague has not changed much and is still relatively undiscovered. We saw the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building, another outstanding viewpoint over the city and two libraries located within the Strahov Monastery. These libraries were quite striking, complete with gorgeous wood bookcases, frescoed ceilings and a collection of antique globes (just one of which I would love to own). 

Vltava River 
Strahov Monastery library 

Now it was time for us to part ways with Tereza. Russell and I had a tasty lunch of ribs (for Russell) and goulash with bread dumplings (for me). When we got home -- after negotiating an afternoon shower and the tram/subway systems -- I was kaput. I am glad that we had nothing further scheduled for the day because I was able to take it easy and even do some laundry.

Couldn't resist-- the other Strahov monastery library 
Heading back to the apartment (Note: the pregnant look is because I am holding my backpack under my coat to keep it dry. Obviously, I haven't yet realized that I am inside and therefore no longer need to shelter my leather Tumi backpack from the dangerous rain!)

1 comment:

  1. I loved being in Prague! I also stayed near the Castle and loved wandering around. I liked a funky restaurant called Lokal

    Also, check out the Cubist museum in the House of the Black Madonnaům+U+Černé+Matky+Bož%C3%AD/@50.0869914,14.4254083,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xb9cc6536addd2b3