Category Archives: Czech Republic

Day 11 – Prague

Previous:  Day 10 – The Vatican

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Our WizzAir flight landed at Praha Airport smoothly but the plane took ages taxiing down the runway onwards to its allocated gate. 

But we are not complaining because it practically toured us past all the planes parked on the tarmac, a truly fascinating experience if you are a planespotter!  Big planes, small planes, propellers of every kind, colourful designs and logos….it’s aviation tourism sans the guide!

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While waiting at the luggage carousel to collect our bags, we noticed several boxes scattered on the side and as we looked closely, there were passengers assembling bicycles!  So this is how you do it if you wish to go on cycling holidays!  

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Our airport pick-up was already waiting at the Arrival section.

A taxi driver in his mid-40s, he has been living in the Czech Republic* for the last 30 years.  He says he prefers to live here than in his native Bulgaria which is reeling with unemployment problems.  But he also misses the standard of living during the Communist era when everything was cheaper.  Since the advent of tourism and visiting Americans exalt to high heavens at how cheap Prague is, the cost of living has shot up through the roof! 

 * Following the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, in 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two states: Czech Republic and Slovakia

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The hotel we stayed in offered a breakfast buffet which was included in the room rate, unbelievably cheap, but we are not telling them so they don’t put the tariff up!  It has 11 rooms spread in three floors, an old building with grandmother-style staircase like this one.  It may be the most charming staircase in the planet but it’s actually unsafe walking half-step at a time.  I did fall on the second day, lost my balance as I missed a step! 

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Public transport is impeccable.  Trams come and go in frequent intervals.  Although Prague is walkable in all directions, a 72-hour unlimited ticket costs only a little over 12euros.

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Stare Mesto (Old Town)

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Street musicians at Charles Bridge at sunset

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This stone bridge is lined with ancient baroque sculptures of Jesus, the Virgin Mary as well as of various saints and patron saints.

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Left the hotel as early as 6am the next day to do a photoshoot while the tourists are still sleeping.  What peace …. to find an almost empty Charles Bridge at this time of the day whereas it was packed yesterday, the numbers doubling nearing midnight.

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A wedding couple on a 7am photoshoot at the Bridge…good idea!

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Another couple doing an acrobatic kiss!

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Romancing by the Old Town Bridge Tower..

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The strange characters up on the Tower

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They are the third wedding couple I have seen on photoshoot that morning!  The early bird catches the worm, as they say.

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Tourists are starting to arrive.  A tour group is easily recognizable by the clone bags they carry.

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I see romance everytime I am in Charles Bridge

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No, it’s not a pilgrimage site…it’s just the bridge

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Walking up the Castle is the only way to view Prague’s panorama

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Foreground is the Castle district.  The New Town (background) together with the Old town (Staré Mesto) are split from the Castle district by the Vitava river. 

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The Baroque-style Loreta Monastery, the real pilgrimage site. 

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Inside the monastery is the so-called Loreta Treasure which contains valuable treasures from the 17th annd 18th century, among them are monstrances*, cups, altars and other votive objects. The most famous is the Diamond Monstrance (above) with 6,222 diamonds. It is a gift from Countess Ludmila of Kolowrat, who got more than six thousand diamonds as a wedding gift from her third husband. In her last will she wrote that a monstrance for Loreta should be made of these diamonds.

* A monstrance is a ritual vessel used in Roman Catholic services to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host during adoration.

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Vestige of the gothic Prague Castle

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St Vitus Cathedral, located inside the Castle grounds

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Changing of the guards at the Castle takes place every hour but noontime is the best time to watch as the ceremony includes a spectacular parade and fanfare. 

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The astronomical clock at the Old Town Hall

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The Gothic Church of Our Lady Before Tyn towering over the Old Town Square

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There was a concert going on and people are starting to install themselves

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You can watch how they smoke a ham in the Old Town Square..

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This road leading to the Old Town square is packed with diners.  The whole time we were having our dinner, we could see the quick turnover of customers. 

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On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by at Chapel Bridge again for some sculpture-spotting 

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Time to scout for tourist fashion

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Sculpture of a kissing couple in Petrin Hill

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“Please, have pity on me…..”

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The morning after……at the bridge

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I liked the complications of the astronomical clock so much that I bought a replica in the form of a fridge magnet

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A naughty souvenir for a naughty friend

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Since the fall of Communism, Prague has become one of the most visited cities in Europe, and naturally, a lot of translation work is required.

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Love that forky art!

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Street art is very much alive in Prague

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Franz Kafka is one of Prague’s famous sons and considered one of the best writers in the 20th century.  The term “Kafkaesque” has become part of the English language.  It resembles the literary work of Franz Kafka which is marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity.

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Prague sky breaking into the night