Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Prague - Day 2

This morning we toured Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world (about the size of 7 football fields).  Dating back to the 10th century, it was the traditional seat of the Czech rulers and is the official residence of the president of the Czech Republic.  The castle includes several palaces, the Basilica of St. George, the very Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and lots of medieval-looking towers and halls and gardens.  It was thrilling to tour it and the views of the city are breathtaking.  We witnessed the Changing of the Guard at noon, complete with brass band.

To reach the castle, we experienced the legendary walking bridge - the Charles Bridge - Commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357.  It is stunning!  It spans 16 arches and is lined with 30 Baroque statues of religious figures. Of course we touched the brass plaque - a reminder of the Baroque saint (John of Nepomuk) - tradition says you get one chance in life to touch it and ask for your one wish to come true - yep, we jumped on THAT!  Walking the bridge was a good photo op and provided the best views of the Vltava River.  Holding hands, I kept thinking of all the historical fighting that happened on that bridge.

We hung out, again, in Prague's Old Town Square - I mean how often can you hear live street music in an area that has barely been touched, except for the food and beer stands, since the 10th century!

We toured the Jewish cemetery in the Jewish Quarter where an estimated 100,000 bodies were buried in layers, due to their limited area - 12 deep.  It takes you down and so we agreed to finish the day at the Communism Museum - wow, I'm glad that's over and that life in Prague seems so much better.  The museum is located between a casino and a McDonald's - oh the irony...

A dinner that included dumplings and Pilsner Urquell (and a nightcap of Lobkowicz) rounds out another perfect Prague adventure...

Tomorrow?  Germany, and a meetup with my brothers and sisters-in-laws!  Can't wait!

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