Hooray for sleeping in a big, comfy bed! ! We all decided to meet for breakfast at 8:30 and be ready to leave for the day at 9:30, and it actually worked out that way! I actually got up to the lounge early so I could blog and do my Trip Advisor reviewing before everyone else got up there. Everyone trickled in at various times for coffee and breakfast.
Steve and I are apparently the early birds of the bunch, so we were both up there and alert for a while before time to leave. And guess who we met… some more Americans! =) I have to say that when I travel, Americans are the ones who are willing to make friends and talk to others more than most. You know how much I love meeting people and chatting them up. It’s what I do when I travel! We met a nice couple from Utah on a tour with some friends, and another older couple from CA on vacation before they go visit their daughter in… DC!
And now, onward we go to… the Prague Castle! We decided to take a cab and get there quickly (since it was uphill and across the river), then walk our way back to the hotel throughout the day. People always talk about how the Praha (Prague) Castle is such a highlight of the city, but honestly I wasn’t all that impressed. The most impressive thing about it was definitely the cathedral on the castle grounds. It’s incredibly large, ornate, and impressive. There was a choral group there that I think just decided to start singing in the church. They may have been on tour from somewhere and were just sightseeing, but I’m glad they decided to stop at the castle the same day as us and give us a free concert! Their voices were lovely, and the acoustics in the cathedral are geared toward a cappella as opposed to organ music. I got goose bumps and nearly started crying right there! It was beautiful.
We also saw several other important sights around the castle, such as the defenestration window—where they used to throw people out as punishment! I think that might have actually been my favorite thing to see at the castle. We also walked through the vineyards and a VERY interesting museum of the “Story of Praha Castle.” There we could read about people who had lived in the castle or been important political leaders in Prague during the 4th-12th centuries. Amazing! We even got to see some crown jewels and other artifacts. I, of course, wanted to read everything, but unfortunately you just can’t do that when you travel with other people. That’s why I like traveling alone. Not that I don’t appreciate my traveling companions, I just feel bad for slowing them down! I picked up my pace, though—there’s so much more to see!
When we did at last finish with the castle grounds, we worked our way through the “Lesser Town” (as opposed to “Old Town” Prague) and found a place for lunch. This time I branched out beyond goulash and went for DUCK! It came with red cabbage (one of my favorite side dishes!) and potato pancakes (which kind of came looking like a sausage patty, but it was definitely potato). It was a winner! Everyone else’s looked good, too, but I was one happy duck.
After lunch we walked over the Charles Bridge, which crosses the Vltava River and connects the two parts of Prague. It’s supposedly one of the most romantic places in Europe, but this particular Monday, it was also one of the most crowded! We got lots of good pictures, though, and there were lots of vendors to choose from who were selling jewelry and other handcrafts, drawing caricatures, and performers playing instruments—I love that kind of things around cities like Prague and others around the world!
At the end of the bridge, “guarding” the way through the gate to get to Old Town Prague, was a knight—sword and armor and all! He was really there for photo-ops… and of course I was right on board with that! I like it when people know how to have fun! I wonder if they’re actually paid by anyone or just work off tips. Either way, it looked like he was having fun!
Winding through the cobblestone streets of Old Town, we let Steve be our tour guide with his Top 10 Prague Eyewitness Travel book, we ladies let them play tour guides for a while and we just took it all in! We all seemed to gravitate toward the astronomical clock, probably because it’s the biggest and probably most famous thing in Prague, and it IS quite interesting. There’s also a cathedral close to the main square that looks like Melefecent’s castle from Sleeping Beauty.
I really liked that one! We also went to Wenceslas Square. Who knew the good king from the Christmas carol was from Prague? It used to be a place for horse auctions in medieval times, but was renamed for the famous king in 1848. He now sits atop a horse for all eternity in front of the Czech National Museum. Quite a nice little place. I had unknowingly stumbled upon this place on my two-hour trek to find the Hilton Prague, actually, but I appreciated it more this time than I did the first!
Next up… a spot of coffee and tea at the Art Deco Restaurant and Café Imperial! Our friend Louise had just recently finished a book based at the hotel Imperial in Prague in the 1940s for her book club, so we definitely needed to stop there and have a little snack while we were in the neighborhood! It really was a special thing because this place is beautifully art deco! Everything was tile mosaic, flashy, shiny, gold, and fancy! Louise was tickled, and we just couldn’t stop laughing with her when she asked the hostess if she could have a bunch of the napkins to take home and use when her book club comes to discuss the book! Too funny. Life is so much fun!
And then… we were pooped! Back to the hotel we went. It was already 5:00 by the time we got there, so we all kind of did our own thing and got comfortable and rested, then ended up in the executive lounge talking for the rest of the evening. I think that actually might have been my favorite part of the whole weekend—just talking with my friends till the lounge closed down at 11! The Hilton lounge has snacks and drinks available all day long, so we never even had to leave for supper! Traveling alone has its perks, beyond a doubt, but I am very grateful for the invite to tag along in Prague with my friends. I can’t think of a better way to end my European excursion!
The next morning, we got all ready and were on a plane bound to Frankfurt that afternoon! We got a bit delayed in Frankfurt, but once we were off the ground things went fairly smoothly!
Again, thank you for joining me on the journey! Next stop… I’ll let you know when I get there!