Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 10 Prague Czech Republik

Day 10
We spent the night in the Hilton Old Town Prague and woke up to a very nice day. Breakfast in the executive lounge was nice and I was able to post the previous day's info on the blog so that got me somewhat updated. We headed over to the train station to work out our details for the trip to Berlin and found out that it was going to be another expensive ride,so we went over to exchange some more money. We messed up there by not noticing that the posted rate was for very large amounts and since we were exchanging a smaller amount it was less. Bad move, I really don't like giving away money like that.

Old train station shows clocks of the world

Then we went over to the train station to get our tickets and realized that the international counter was way backed up. So we tried something different. We got a ticket to the German border. We figured once we got there we could get off the train and get the next ticket to run us through Germany. What really happened was when we got to the border the train didn't stop and the conductor wanted to know why we didn't have a German ticket. So we ended up buying our ticket from her right there. It all worked out OK.

Back to Prague – when we got done with the train station we stored our bags in a locker and then went back over to the city and the castle. When we were walking across a bridge we saw that the next one over was the St. Charles bridge. Its constrction started in 1357 during the time of King Charles IV.

Regular view with my camera.

Zoomed in on some of the bridge statues.
Another Charles Bridge view

Then we stopped at the Czech senate, which is housed in the Wallenstein Palace built in the baroque style in 1623. We read about the history of the country and got some pictures.

Ceiling of an outer hallway, the art even in vulnerable places is beyond great!

Grotto wall in the senate court yard. Picture was taken from a road above the Palace in order to get the whole thing in.

Then we sort of followed the crowd and continued toward the castle.

We stopped again for lunch at a little bistro. It was delicious and another learning experience. When in Prague and you order a meal. Each piece of the meal is ordered separate or as a meal with specific items in it. If the waiter sets anything else down in front of you it will be extra. Bread before your meal like we get at some places in the states, will cost you extra.Coffee after your meal will cost you extra. We knew that going in, but still got caught by the bread and herb butter. On top of that watch out for the “Convert”. It is an extra charge that means nothing. It isn't at the end of the bill like a service charge. It is sort of tucked in between the items on the bill. We chose to pay it, but didn't leave a tip rather than fuss about it.

We finally made it to the castle and the batteries on my camera died. Wouldn't you know it, we made it up the hill and then had to go back down, just a little ways though. So then up again and we got some nice pictures.

The castle dates back to the year 870, yes three digits in that number, though the gothic part that is in most of my pictures was added in the 14th century.

The main gate to the castle had two guards posted with on having this scary statue over his head.

The front of the cathedral showing the top

the front at the bottom

the clock tower next to the main section

from the side showing both the front and clock along with the new addition

I had fun finding the statues in the design of the cathedral. They aren't hardly visible from the ground but zooming in on them showed a ton of details.

This looks like a princess to me

This one looks like a bishop

Maybe the Queen Mother?

The Queen with a future King?

There were also mosaic scenes of religious events

and lots of Gargoyles that have faces of what seem to be people, maybe they made the royalty mad at some point?

This Dragon slayer was over a door way

Bill's favorite tree

Prague's Eiffel tower, really the Petrin lookout tower. is much shorter than the real Eiffel tower. It was built in 1891 and used for observation and transmission.

After that we went back down the hill and across the Charles Bridge.

The crowds on the bridge were not as thick as I had expected, but it was a rainy day

The crucifix and statues portraying the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist.

Then we followed the crowd again to what turned out to be Old Town Square with the Astronomical clock. We had meant to go there, but by accident was fine way of finding it too.

Astronomical clock has 3 main parts. The dial represents the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displays various astronomical details. The clockwork hourly shows Apostle figures and other moving sculptures. A calendar dial with medallions representing the months.

The Tyn Cathedral contructed in the 14th century

and court yard memorial of Jan Hus, born in 1370.

Hus was an influential religious thinker, philosopher, and reformer in Prague.

After that it was time to head back to the train station and get out of town.

Leaving Prague station

Destination of our train - Berlin

We made it to Berlin at about 11:30pm and really didn't feel like wandering the city all night, so we got a room at the train station hotel. When we planned this part of the trip out I had originally expected we would stay in Prague longer and take a night train to Berlin arriving in the morning, but this was better. We slept good and breakfast was included.

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