From Prague With Love
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From Prague With Love, May 19, 2006:
Arrived in Prague today and absolutely loved the city!!! It's a 5-hour drive from our hotel in Vienna to Prague, but it was totally worth it... surprisingly, I didn't fall asleep at all during the entire journey! (now, that's a record... but of course, I have a really interesting novel with me, so that might explain it!)
Quaint town, Moravia
Our first stop was a quaint little town just after the Czech borders, called Moravia. We stopped for lunch at little sidewalk cafes, which are considerably cheaper than those in Vienna... There are narrow streets with cobblestone (hah - I laughed at girls with high heels - they got stuck all the time... anyway, what were they thinking???) and beautiful cathedrals and castles perched on mountaintops - which I would summed up in one word - PICTURESQUE!
When we arrived in Prague, it was evening, and we visited the absolutely breath-taking Prague Castle, founded in the 10th century.
It was mostly built in the gothic style but because of the time span/delay, gothic was 'out' by the time they built one of the towers, and 'baroque' was in, so, they 'top-off' the last tower with a 'baroque' top which looks both out of place and unique! I don't know how to explain it, you'll have to see it on the photos!
Within the precinct of the castle is the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Christian center of Bohemia - once again, the architecture was breath-taking and somewhat surreal - imagine, it has 'flying gargoyles' perched on the roofs, and saints with pitch-forks on towers, as if guarding the sacred church!
The digital camera was amazing and the zoom feature was a god-sent! Everyone was jealous because I could zoom in and managed to capture some otherwise impossible details of the arch-angels, saints, and intricate patterns.
Charles Bridge & Hradcany
Afterwards, a small group of us, lead by our program coordinator, Malcolm, strolled along the picturesque Golden Lane, down the hill and to Charles Bridge... By this time, it was already dark, and from the bridge, one can see the most magnificent sights of Prague all brilliantly lit-up!!!
It was truly a very romantic evening and the weather was chilly and almost dream-like. I smiled as I watched couples snuggle and admire the fireworks from across the river (Yes, there was fireworks, too!) What's truly unique about the famous Charles Bridge is its architecture and the fact that it is a pedestrians ONLY bridge!
Ancient statues of saints and archangels loomed tall over the bridge, giving it a truly magical and ancient aura.
Some street musicians were playing some exotic middle-east tunes, that sounded Arabic, and makes me want to dance! ha, ha...
We left the magical bridge reluctantly and strolled down to the Old Town of Prague, where sidewalk cafes are more than just a place to sip coffee, but a way of life... fountains and more ancient architecture graced the streets...
At the Old Town square, we found the famous astronomical clock, which was built in the 1400's... the clock reminds me of a giant 'cuckoo clock', with two 'door's at the side that will burst open every hour on the hour and two figures will come out of it.
As we were short on time, we didn't get to see it.
Just before midnight, we caught a metro and returned to our hotel, Hotel Diplomat - tired, but exhilarated by the entire experience!
"Prague is definitely one of the most rustic and romantic cities in Europe."