We are home now, all unpacked and recovering from jet lag so the documenting continues.
We left Vienna on a train May 11th and arrived in Prague! The train ride was beautiful with fields of yellow flowers for miles and little towns. I love trains in Europe, they are efficient and the journey is relaxing and beautiful. When we arrived in Prague, there was a man waiting to drive us into town to our hotel. The hotel was up a cobble street road, right next door to the US Embassy, where our brother-in-law worked a few years ago. Hotel Sax was unique from all the other places we stayed, with its fun, inviting retro decor.
For dinner we journeyed up the cobble stone path behind our hotel and ate at an authentic pub, I went with the safe bet and ordered schnitzel, Scott went for the house special, an assorted meat plate complete with pork knuckles, duck and more. After dinner we ventured out to get a feel for the town, walking along the river, before heading off to bed.
The next day, we explored Prague Castle which is considered the biggest ancient castle in the world. We were impressed by the beauty of the St. Vitus Cathedral on the castle grounds with its gothic architecture and large clock tower. Inside the cathedral we loved the stained glass windows, the most impressive was designed by Czech artist Alfons Mucha, who also has a museum of his work in town. As we explored the rest of the castle grounds, we saw the Czech crowned jewels, the Basilica and Convent of St. George, which is the burial place of Czech royalty, and the Lobkowicz Palace, where we saw how the royal Czech Family lived. As we were exiting, we saw a toy museum and decided to take a look. It was filled with toys dating back to the 19th century and an incredible Barbie collection with one of the 1959 first edition dolls. We even found a BYU cheerleader Barbie!
We headed across the Charles Bridge for lunch and then made our way to the Old Town to explore. We saw the Old Town Hall Tower with the Astronomical Clock and waited with a crowd of onlookers to see the clock strike the hour. Every hour the little characters on the clock move and make noise which is quite entertaining. As it started to rain, we headed for shelter and ate a delicious Belgium Waffle with chocolate and strawberries for dessert. We tried to see a few more sites but decided to head back because of the rain. After the rain stopped a bit, we went to this delicious cafe for dinner and I had the best goat cheese salad.
With a little more sun on our side, we woke up the next day and headed out to see the Jewish Ghetto. On our way, we walked to the top of one of the Towers of Charles Bridge, where we saw the bridge with all the people, street venders and statues from above. We explored the Jewish Ghetto next, where we learned about the concentration camps in the Czech Republic and the treasures of these people. The cemetery was fascinating and really made me realize how little disrespect these people had in their very own country. In one of the museums, there was artwork from children while they were in the concentration camps displayed, it was hard to read what the children had to face in their lives and how they didn't know what was to become of them. It made me realize the great blessing it is to have freedom in our country. We had Bohemia Bagel for lunch (thanks Kelsea for the recommendation, loved the endless Diet Coke!) Then we went to the top of the City Hall Clock Tower, it was the best view of Prague. There was a hockey game being broadcast in the main square so people were packed in and cheering loudly. As we crossed the Charles Bridge on our way back, we learned more about all the statues along the sides, thanks to Rick Steve. Near our side of town, we went to see the Lennon Wall which is so fascinating. I love all the quotes, colors and extreme artwork. We ended the night with dinner at an Irish Pub and a beautiful walk along the river watching the sunset.
The last part of Prague we still had to see was New Town. We took our Rick Steve’s tour of New Town and went to the Communism Museum. The movie inside the museum was very moving and interesting. It really opened my eyes to the state of the Czech Republic within communist rule and how recent it was a communist country. We had lunch at Café Colour, which was delicious, especially our dessert of strawberry chocolate crepes. Then we headed back to our hotel to pack and get ready for our flight in the wee hours of the morning to PARIS!