Friday, March 29, 2013

The Prague in the Well - Part 1

The last couple of days were pretty action packed.  By the time we would get back to the apartment,  I didn't have any energy to work on the blog.   We are currently sitting in a cafe in Dresden, Germany.  We got up in the wee hours this morning (6:30 train) to make our way to Strasbourg, France.  If all goes well on the connections, we will arrive in Strasbourg around 19:00 tonight.  So ya, we have a long travel day ahead of us.  But that's ok, the train makes for great downtime which is something we don't have a lot of on our trips.

So let me start getting you caught up on the last few days.  Firstly, Prague is awesome.  If you like architecture, history, beer and sweets, then Praha is for you.  The weather while we were there was absolutely savage for the end of March.  For most of our time there, it was around -9C with windchill.  We prepared for cooler, wet weather by bringing layers, but we were not prepared for winter-like temperatures.  As a result, we ended up buying the much needed "I heart Prague" and "Czech Me Out" sweatshirts for the kids.

The apartment that we rented was in a fantastic location for exploring the city.  The "Old Town" is broken up by the left and right banks of the Vltava River, which is the longest river in the Czech Repulic, spanning over 430 KM.  The left bank, where we were staying, is referred to as the "lesser Quarter".

On Thursday morning, I got up early so I could take a few pictures of the Charles Bridge with no people on it.  Any other time of the day, it is swarming with people.  They started building the bridge in 1357, and it was completed in the early 15th century.  Taking that long to build, it sounds like it was a government project...Here are a few of my favourites.

Facing "Lesser Quarter Side".  Prague Castle, and the awesome Gothic Cathedral St. Vitus are on the upper right.
Facing the "Old Town".

I am really glad that I got up early and made the short walk to the bridge.  I wish that I would have had the time to do it this morning though.  When we left the apartment, there was a blanket of fresh snow on the ground and rooftops.

Sweet smile Fin...
Walking towards the Old Town Square.
The kids looking for "The Prague in the Well."  Or is it "The Frog in the Prague"?  So confused. 

Opening that leads into Old Town Square.  Every Saturday since 1100 there has been a market here.  It has also been the home to large military gatherings over the years.

The third oldest Medieval Astronomical clock in the world (1410), and the only one still working.  Every hour the doors open at the top and the Saints make an appearance, while the skeleton who represents death, rings the bell.  We waited for 15 mins to see it, and it was quite unspectacular.

St. Nicholas Baroque Church (1735)
Interior of St. Nicholas.

Czech lady preparing those tasty churro things.  We think they are called Trdelnik.

Despite the snowy skies, we took a climb up to the top of the Old Town Clock Tower to check out the vista.

You can avoid the climb up the clock tower by jumping in this ultra hip tube elevator.  The Medieval dudes had it all figured out...  We walked.

Tyn Church (1385). Gothic Exterior, Baroque interior.  Think black clothes with white a black make up on the outside, and Beverly Hills girly girl on the inside.

Old Town Square and the Easter Markets.

This was the first time we had seen the sun since Calgary.  It lasted about 40 seconds.
Kooky skeleton handling the bell.

Fin checking out the view of the Old Town and Charles bridge from Legil Bridge.

The sprawling Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. 
We ended the evening with a stop for a cafe and dessert at the highly recommended, Cafe Savoy.  We did some major damage to their pastry supply, then called it a night.

Cafe Savoy.
A tram whizzes by as we cut up the street, past the police and guards at the US embassy, and into our apartment.