Day 11 – Prague (5/5/23)

Everyone to whom I’ve spoken who has been to Prague has rated it highly. Yesterday’s marathon probably coloured it less favourably in our eyes – it is rather unkempt, scruffy and incredibly crowded – so today we set out to see for ourselves what the fuss was all about. Berlin holds a commanding lead in the desirability stakes at the moment.

Very decent buffet breakfast was partaken of, and we set off on a wander at our own pace. The weather was nice enough for shorts and sandals, probably for the only time this holiday.

First stop was a real peculiarity that Jean had discovered via an Internet search – a Jenga-like cylinder arrangement of books in some library or other. This was a somewhat surreal experience.

Looking down – somewhat vertiginous. Really quite unsettling, but must be done with mirrors
Looking up
Familiar name
Czech language version of a Dickens “classic”. Couldn’t stand it when I read it decades ago

One famous landmark that we hadn’t visited yesterday was Wenceslas Square. We put that to rights. It’s famous for being the place where uprisings against the various regimes in the past have gathered.

Prague version of the Natural History Museum at the end of the square
This was Saint Vaclav, also known as King Wenceslas (?). Apparently, despite the Carol, he had nothing to do with Christmas.

Next up was the Jewish Quarter. Prague has had a Jewish presence here since the 11th century. But before that…..

Staropramen beer. Went down a treat.
The oldest building in Prague (I think). Ancient synagogue.
Synagogue again
Maiselova synagogue. No idea if it is significant – it just looked nice.

We did pass some VERY exclusive shops whilst walking around here.

It was now Time For A Decision. On the recommendation of the Viking reps, we’d booked a restaurant called Zvonice for dinner tonight. Unfortunately, the time of the booking was 8.30 p.m., which is very late for us and we have an early get-up tomorrow morning. Do we stick, twist or bust?

We twisted. We visited the restaurant, which is on the 8th floor of a historic bell tower, to see if we could have lunch instead of dinner and cancel the dinner booking. Success for both objectives, and for once our timing was spot-on. Lunch could indeed be served, and it was virtually empty. Surprisingly so for a Friday afternoon. People turning up later had to be turned away.

Then followed a truly lovely meal, with great service and impeccable English. Jean had salmon, and I had duck with a cherry sauce, a Czech speciality. Delicious.

Accompanied by a very nice Czech white wine and finished off with a cracking Czech dessert wine. We were both quite mellow after that.

Despite this, or maybe because of, this indulgence, we managed to make it up to the 10th floor, which is an ancient observation platform.

The views from here were stunning. What a find this place was.

16th century bell
This was inside the 10th floor. The observation windows were at each corner of the room
Description of the bell tower

What an experience.

My view of Prague has become somewhat less jaundiced (and no, not because of the alcohol). Being able to visit at one’s own pace, without information overload, lovely weather and only two of us made a lot of difference.

Still prefer Berlin, though….

Wandering back to the hotel, we chanced upon this strange group of sculptures:

Pretty random.

This is our last day in Prague, as we have a long journey to Cracow tomorrow. So, just packing and the usual stuff to do when leaving, bearing in mind an early start tomorrow. Better get on with it, then….

4 responses to “Day 11 – Prague (5/5/23)”

  1. Steve Walker avatar
    Steve Walker

    Some lovely photos, ams a nice insubstantial into different views of Prague.

    By the way, Dvořak’s first symphony is subtitled “The Bells of Zvonice”. It was composed in 1886, but because of various factors (Dvořak’s troubled relationship with his publishers and the fact that it’s a large and not very well-written piece) was only rediscovered 50 years later and premiered in 1936.

    Just so you know 😉

  2. looks a lovely sunny day and the views from the tower enhanced by the sunshine
    the book tower looked amazing i suffer from vertigo so i dont think i could stand on the top like you did.
    Meal looked delicous

    1. Best day so far.

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