Sunday, August 19, 2012 — Prague
Woke at 7:30am. It is sunny and supposed to be in the low 90’s today. Yeah, well, I think they are just guessing at the weather. It was hot yesterday and it is likely to be hotter today. Someone told me that Europe is having a heat wave — lucky me.
My DH and I stayed up late last night. I was able to squeeze out a blog posting and he was looking at the train schedules from Prague to Rotenburg, Germany. It does not look like it will be an easy trip. It will be a combination of bus and trains on a tight schedule. We hope this isn’t so, so we decide to walk to the train station this morning to find out.
At the train station we find out that “Yes, it is so.” The combination of bus and train schedule will be tighter than we prefer but, what can we do about it? It is interesting how the train station runs here in Prague. First you stand in a line to get speak to an Information Agent who tells you the numbers of your buses and trains to your desire destination. Next, you stand in another line, give the Ticket Agent your bus and train information, and he gives you the tickets. Strangely, this process went rather quickly.
With our tickets in hand, we head off to the Prague Castle. We saw it back in 2002 but we don’t remember any of it.
We cross the bridge to the castle side of the river. The Prague castle is perched on the tippy-top of a very steep hill. According to the map, the road up the hill is long and winding. According to the guide book, the only sane way up the hill is via the tram. We know where to get on the tram, but we don’t know how we are suppose to pay for the ride. We make the assumption that one can pay for a ticket once on the tram, so we hop on the tram as soon as it arrives — along with dozens of other tourists too! The tram takes off up the hill but it is so packed, no official checked for tickets! Well, it was only two stops so we don’t feel too bad about hopping on for free.
Here are some pictures of our day at the Prague Castle:
We also went in the Vladislav Hall in the Old Royal Palace — but no pictures were allowed. Click on the link to see this impressive structure!
After the Old Royal Palace, we found a cool spot for lunch. We were lucky — there are not too many cool spots in the Prague Castle. The day was hot and I looked for all and took every opportunity for cool shade! My DH ordered Vienna-style beef goulash, I ordered a Caesar’s Salad and a Fanta — my new favorite orange soda in the world!
We also went to see the Lobkowicz Palace located at the east entrance to the Prague castle complex. It is a small museum of the Lobkowicz family’s, a wealthy Czech family who lost and reclaimed their property and art collection twice – the first time was to the Nazis in WWII, the second time to the Communists. The audio-guide was great and told us the remarkable story (click on the link to find out more). I could not take pictures so click on the link to view some of the artwork of this palace.
In leaving the palace, we went to the Lobkowicz Bar for a tall cool glass of their home brew beer and to take more pictures of Prague from their patio.
After the castle, we walked down the hill and headed for the Charles Bridge. On the way, we walked by a park where a small crowd of people were looking down an alley, laughing, and snapping pictures. We had to check it out.
We finally made it to the Charles Bridge. It was packed as usual with tourists and artists. We ask a young man to take our picture on the same spot where my DH proposed to me 10 years ago. This is a better picture, don’t you think?
Around 6pm, we walk for a bit along the river but it is hot in the sun, so we stop in an air conditioned shopping center and we look for a WiFi spot – we find one! Using TripAdvisor, we found a highly rated restaurant just across the street – Café Louvre. This is good, because I am dragging! This heat is really getting to me — again! Maybe it is not that it is so hot but the fact that we just spend five hours on stone walkways on top of a hill with thousands of other hot tourists — there was some serious secondary heat going on at the castle!
Café Louvre is a nice place done up in art deco style in shades of green and pink (click on the link to view the interiors — I used up all the batteries on my camera at the castle. The dining rooms are large and spacious – but no air-conditioning. We order our food and lots of iced water. My DH’s pork dish with potato was very good. But my omelet with cheese and ham was pretty dry and tasteless. No matter, by the time we get our food, I had lost my appetite to the heat.
We were back at the hotel around 8pm. I fall into bed hot and exhausted! I decide to take a cold shower and I feel a little better. My DH checks his email and financial feeds on his iPod. We watch a bit of TV — we find channels in English! It was a good day in that we saw the #1 tourist attraction in Prague and it was beautiful and impressive! It was a bad day because I am very uncomfortable and I have a headache. It is going to be a long night…
Quote of the day: “What does he know, he sells water!” — Irate woman tourist (American, I think) to husband regarding the entry fee for a museum at the Prague Castle.