Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pouting around Prague - the first 24 hours

As I've mentioned before if I had to choose a least favourite time of my trip (and please don't make me do that) it would be my two weeks in Europe in April.  It' not that I didn't enjoy it  but I did have a lot of negative emotions going on: resentment, anger, exhaustion, impatience, indifference and yes, loneliness.  After two and a half busy but fantastic weeks in Turkey I was ready for a rest, not to start exploring new places.  Let's face it when you are traveling it's not all rainbows and happy smiles; it can be darn stressful and annoying at times and you are thinking "I paid for this"?  It's all part of life.  When you travel for six months it is even more so - I mean really....who wakes up perky and happy every day for six months?  If YOU do please let me know what drugs you are on because I want some. 

Prague is a beautiful city however  and my cameras were certainly happy. 

 My friend Claudia and I took an express bus from Nuremberg to Prague which took just over four hours.  Another work out for my bladder and my poor old knees - what's with British and European buses not stopping for breaks?  I may bitch about the good old Greyhound but at least they let you get off now and again.  Yeah yeah there was a toilet on board but I would have had to walk downstairs on a moving bus  - no thanks. 

We took this bus from Heiligenstadt where my friend lives and the stop was right behind her house. I thought the reflection in the window was pretty cool! 

From the town of Ehermanstadt we took this train to Forcheim.  From Forcheim another train to Nuremberg and then we got the a bus, a train, another train and a wonder we were tired when we got there!

First picture of Prague taken from the bus window...

 I was so tired from the trip that I let Claudia figure out how to get to our hotel.  (confession:  I let her map read the entire time in Prague; I had absolutely no interest) It turned out to be a ten minute walk  and the hotel was wonderful...Hotel Salvator.  Right off of Independence Square and a few minutes walk to the Old Town Square. Would I stay there again?  No I would prefer to stay with a Czech family at an airbnb which I will do when I go back to give Prague a second chance in a few years.  However if you are going to Prague and you like hotels stay there!  It fit our needs perfectly.  

That evening we walked around getting our bearings and had a meal by the river.  My journaling was very sketchy during this trip so I can't even recall what I had.  The fact that I don't have a picture of it (gasp!) makes me think it wasn't anything spectacular. 

The next morning we got up, had a pastry and coffee at a local cafe and we were off..

We somehow found ourselves down by the river - looks like the one pigeon is as enthralled by the view of Prague castle as we were - the other one was like "have any food for me"?

Tram heading over the bridge towards the bridge...hint:  when I turn pictures to b/w or sepia it means it was a dull day but I really do love the effect of it as well.

I nicked the idea of this picture from Claudia - sewer cover!!!  

Laurie trying to be "artsy".  Prague brought out the mad photographer in me.  

And then we walked over the Charles bridge,  This is one of the most famous bridges in the world and was built in the mid 14th century.  The statues that make this bridge unique were added in the early 18th century.  It is stunning and we were so fortunate to see it uncrowded early in the morning.  At the time we didn't realize how lucky we were until we attempted accessing it on other days....

 Rubbing the dog is supposedly good luck so you gotta do what you gotta do right?


The Judith tower (built in 1190) which is the only remaining part of the Judith Bridge which was the bridge in place (lost to a flood) before the Charles bridge.  Through this tower you enter the Mala Strata (Lesser Quarter) which could be my favourite part of Prague....

I am a sucker for pastel buildings.

One unique fountain!

View towards Kampa Island...

Creepy baby statues...they must have some meaning but I don't get it....  Didn't stop me from posing with one with my finger stuck up...well never mind!  

We stopped at a delightful little cafe and had coffee and a pastry. (or second breakfast as Claudia calls it)  One good thing about traveling with Claudia as being as we both love to eat there was never an argument when one of us said "let's stop and have a drink/pastry/meal".  I think it would be torture to travel with a health obsessed stick insect! 

We walked through a park and ended up by the water watching a tourist boat traverse the locks....hmmm...we thought....

 We then walked back over another bridge... I never got tired of this view...

I loved this structure -  it's called the Dancing building for obvious reasons and was completed in 1996.  It was originally called the "Fred and Ginger" building by the architect but the name was changed due to the fear of "importing American kitsch" to Prague. 

Close up of one of Prague's trams - I kept saying "I want to go on one of those" and we did another day....more on that in an upcoming post.   We walked over to the famous Wenceslas Square in the "modern" area of Prague.  This is in the "New Town" which was started in 1348 due to overcrowding of the Old Town.  Wenceslas Square has been the scene of many huge events in Czechoslovakia (as it was known then) including the protest of the Russians taking over the country in 1968 and celebration of the fall of communism in 1989.  More a boulevard than a square it is very grand and all the top name shops are located here.  Claudia and I could have cared less about designer shops but were excited to see a huge book shop with English titles in it (though we both resisted; it was darn fun looking) and even more exciting for Claudia, a Marks and Spencer store.  While she scouted out clothes I walked around the food hall and I must say I did pick up a prawn and mayonnaise sandwich but thought "no no NO Laurie, you can get one when you get home to London.  And the prices were a bit shocking - no wonder it is considered a luxury store.  It is out of reach of the average Czech person.  However being there did not help my mood as I was longing to get back to my beloved London. 

Having a beer to finish the day.  Not a beer drinker (thank goodness - I have enough fattening things I love without adding yet another one!) and to be honest I only got half way through it but I had to drink a beer in Prague.   The goulash went down well though!

Stay tuned for the next 24 hours!  

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