We woke to absolute silence which was just glorious and a knock on the door which was breakfast arriving, which like dinner was scrumptious – fresh breadrolls with sea salt and herbs, I know sounds really weird and on first bite also tastes weird but then the flavour hits and yummo they were great, there were jam donuts, ham cheese fruit tea coffee, a real breakfast indeed.
After our yummy breakfast we wandered back around town did some gift shopping and also purchased ourselves some lovely little handbags, so hopefully we don’t have to schlep our bags around all the time.
Then it was back to the trains (this time with a half price transfer courtesy of the pension) and heading for Prague.
On our little train back to ceske budjovice we met a lovely Texas travel agent Catherine who kept us company on our reasonably short trip to Prague which was really nice.
Little mother Prague, the cradle of Czech culture, a city of Hundred Spires – the title of which comes from the beginning of the 19th Century, when a Professor from Charles University counted 103 spires. The city also luckily escaped W.W.II almost unscathed.
Central Prague is nestled in a bed of the Vltava River, which separates Hradcany, the medieval castle district, and the Mala Strana (Little Quarter) on the west bank from Stare Mesto (old town) and Nove Mesto (new town) on the east.
We arrived in Prague found our hostel a close walk to the station and city sights. After checking in we wandered up the street to meet Zoë and Joe (from Belgrade and Sarajevo). We headed to a restaurant “primitive” for a yummy dinner and then to an Irish pub for a few beers.
A sleep in then early brunch with Joe and Zoë at a little café near Wenceslas Square – The broad avenue of Václavské nám (Wenceslas Square) stretches southeast from Staré Mesto towards the National Museum and the main train station.
After saying goodbye to them we headed to Charles Bridge built in 1357 which is graced by 30 statues dating from the 18th century which leads across the river to Prague Castle, which according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the largest continuous castle complex in the world, it is also inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
We wandered through the castle grounds watched the changing of the Guard, passing St. Vitus Cathedral, one of Europe’s great gothic churches and got an excellent view of the city of spires.
From the castle we headed into Josefev the area north and northwest of Staromestske nám which was once the city’s Jewish Quarter. We visited the Pinkas Synagogue which houses a memorial to the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia murdered by the Nazis. We then visited the Old Jewish Cemetery established in the first half of the 15th Century. The oldest tombstone which belongs to Avigdor Kara, poet and scholar dates back to 1439. Burials took place until 1787 and today there are approximately 12000 tombstones. We also visited the Klausen Synagogue which houses a wonderful exhibition of “Customs and Traditions”; and the Ceremonial Hall of the Prague Burial Society of Hevrah Kaddishah, now a permanent exhibition space dedicated to illness and medicine in the ghetto, death and the activities of the Prague Burial Society.
We then wandered into the old town square – Staromestské nám – where towering above the square hidden behind a row of houses is the fairy-turreted Týn Church.
On the hour we watched Jesus and his disciplines lead a pageant that includes the allegorical figures of Death, the Turk, the Miser, the Fool and the Rooster. This all occurs on the 14th century Town Hall complex which features a tower with an astronomical clock added in the 15th century.
We then had some dinner and did some interneting