Day 10 – Prague (4/5/23)

Long, long day.

As we had to put our bags outside our rooms by 7 a.m., both of us were blearily awake by about 6.15 a.m.

The coaches were due to depart Decin for Prague from about 7.45 a.m., but they were late as they’d encountered heavy traffic on their way over. Still, we were on our way with driver Jan and guide Mark by about 8.15.

Around 2 hours later, we were dropped off at our hotel, but only for about 25 minutes for a comfort break. Then Mark started his walking tour of Prague with a group of around 20 people. Thank God for the QuietVox listening device…..

Prague was absolutely rammed, and it was a warm day, so trying to fight your way through the crowds was very trying. Mark’s descriptions of the architecture and the history were very detailed, so information overload was a factor. We were walking solidly for an hour and a half. Tough going. My apologies in advance if the rest of this is short on detail, but I’ll do my best.

One of the bits of history that Mark mentioned was the annexation of Sudetenland by Hitler in 1938, which was part of northern Czechoslovakia then. This was done with the tacit approval of the British and French, regarded as a huge betrayal by the inhabitants. I can imagine.

This is one of the oldest inhabited areas in Europe. Records go back to around 900 A.D. and there have been many changes of regime, both political and religious.

Much of Czechoslovakia became Protestant in the early 15th century, but in the early 17th century, the country was taken over by the Habsburg family, and so became part of the Austrian Empire. They enforced the Catholic religion, and employed the Jesuits to inflict the most terrible punishments on Protestants, Jews and every other religion or sect that dared disagree with Catholicism. The Habsburg era ended in 1918, when Czechoslovakia became a republic.

Even before that, a church reformer called Jan Hus started what, a hundred years later, became the Reformation. Martin Luther took much inspiration from him. For his trouble, he was burned alive at the stake in 1417. His statue is in Prague Town Square.

Prague is absolutely loaded with historical buildings. We visited a lot of them. I simply cannot remember the significance of many of them, but hope you like the pictures.

Republic Square
Municipal Palace
Original city gate
Cubist café. Czechoslovakia went wild for this fashion
Astronomical Clock
You can see the apostles presenting themselves in the top two windows. The rest of it is some strange representation of the world as it was known at the time – it was still believed the Earth was flat and was the centre of the universe
Jan Hus statue, Town Square
Italian graffito style. White plaster figures superimposed onto black plaster
Late 19th century hardware store
The oldest pub in Prague. The Czechs drink more beer per head than any other nation in the world, and beer is a national religion
Famous astronomer, who worked closely with the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahé. He lived here for a while
Kepler’s house
Gateway to the Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge, named after Charles IV of the 14th century. There has been a bridge of some sort here since the 12th century.
Prague Castle from a distance
On Charles Bridge. Rammed.
Vlatava River, a tributary of the Elbe
Lesser Prague
Posh restaurant, apparently
Gate at end of Charles Bridge
Three Ostriches House. Me neither.
Another St. Nicholas Church. Almost all of these were on the corner of a square
Now in Lesser Town on the other side of the Bridge

At this point, we were allowed an hour and a half’s break, so we high-tailed it for lunch to a restaurant recommended by Mark.

And very pleasant it was too. My God, we needed the rest. We both had a savoury pancake with some refreshing and remarkably good Czech white wine. Great service.

The tour was not yet finished. We rejoined Mark, who guided us back to the coach for the short trip up the hill to the castle. Before that, he took us through an Italianate garden.

There were at least 20 Eagle owls in here
Fishpond in the garden

Castle pics now follow:

Cathedral within the enormous castle
Palace guard. The President, who has no political powers, lives here
Mark, still going strong while we were all flagging
Front of the cathedral, attributed to St. Vitus. It is the 7th largest Gothic cathedral in Europe. The largest is in Seville, Spain, which we visit next month!
Some lovely stained glass
Old cathedral entrance
Wonderful Italian mosaic. This had been ruined by acid rain, and every single piece of this has been painstakingly cleaned and restored. Amazing.
Bishop’s Palace
Changing of the Guard. Happens every hour on the hour.
View from castle wall

By this time, we’d both had more than enough and couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel for a rest. Credit to Mark for his stamina and knowledge.

We boarded the coach to return to the hotel. To our dismay, when we got there, we had to join a big queue to check in. I’d understood that the paperwork we’d filled in on the ship was to expedite this process, and all we had to do was to go to our room. Nope. Another really slow half an hour elapsed until we could finally get to Room 435 and collapse.

Very nice room, though. Decent size, modern and clean.

Not much else to report. We’d had grand plans for going out for dinner, but we ended up in the hotel bar with a burger, sandwich, wine and G&Ts.

Monumental day. Thank God for a leisurely start tomorrow as we have absolutely nothing planned.

If you managed to stick with us all the way through this post, massive respect. Time for bed, but I’ll be back tomorrow, like it or not.

6 responses to “Day 10 – Prague (4/5/23)”

  1. Lovely to see pics of Prague again. It was 2002 when I went there, asked with my very first digital camera. Amazingly, there’s quite a strong overlap between my pictures from and yours from today. Who’d’a’thunk it, eh?

    1. Yeah, funny, that! Did you like Prague!

      1. Steve Walker avatar
        Steve Walker

        Yes, but not as much as Budapest. Too crowded and hectic and a bit further up itself than Budapest. It was around a business trip and our host had booked us to see an opera. I don’t care much for opera anyway, but this was in German with Czech surtitles 😒

      2. Sounds like fun – not.

  2. i loved listening to the clock it reminded me when i lived in Cranfield many years ago hearing the church clock do the bells still ring by the way?
    i cant believe how busy it is in Prague it certainly was a full on day i bet your knees were glad of the rest in the evening!

    1. Yes, the bells do still ring. And yes, not just my knees that needed the rest!

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