Europe 17: Prague!

I can see the end of the finish line!  I’m finally almost done blogging about the trip– just two places left!

While Vienna was one of my mom’s favorite cities, Prague was one of mine.  I absolutely loved the architecture!  Where Vienna’s buildings all stood with a united front, stylistically similar, Prague was a juxtaposition of different eras and styles.  Being an architecture buff, this had my head spinning around in circles as we walked through the streets, taking as many photos as I could!

We arrived late at night and took a cab at breakneck speed, driven by a man who seemed cracked out on something, to our hotel.  Fortunately, since I myself speak roughly 1000 words per minute, I was able to understand his breakneck speed speech, and he ended up giving us a great restaurant suggestion.

Upon arriving at the hotel, we went to bed almost immediately and woke up the next day with a full agenda!

Our hotel was located right next to Municipal House, so from there we wandered down one of Prague’s most famous architectural streets (Na Celetna) to the Old Town Square and took in the cathedrals, cafes, clock tower, and shops.  When I said that Prague was a juxtaposition, it was both figuratively and literally.  It’s main cathedral was plunked down in the middle of things (or, more likely, they plunked things down around the cathedral) and is only partially visible!

Na Celetna
Na Celetna
Old Town Square!  With the hidden cathedral ha
Old Town Square! With the hidden cathedral ha

Church of St. Nicholas

Church of St. Nicholas

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Clock tower on the left (better pictures to come later in the post) and cathedral in the background
Clock tower on the left (better pictures to come later in the post) and cathedral in the background

Next we headed down Na Karlova (my other favorite street!) and toward the infamous St. Charles Bridge.  The bridge, built in the 1300’s is one of Prague’s most photographed site.  It is lined with 20+ statues (some lucky!) and connects Prague Castle (its own town) with Prague.  I have never seen a bridge like it!  It was so wide & long, but pedestrian-only, and visibly ancient.  The views both ways were magnificent!

Na Karlova
Na Karlova.  Even if you don’t know much about architecture, looking at the different roof lines here really highlights all of the different styles in Prague!
View of Prague Castle from the start of St. Charles Bridge
View of Prague Castle from the start of St. Charles Bridge
About 1/3 of the away across the bridge, looking back at where we had come from
About 1/3 of the away across the bridge, looking back at where we had come from
Looking forward to where we were going :)
Looking forward to where we were going 🙂

After crossing the bridge, we walked up toward Prague Castle and witnessed the Changing of the Guards!  This was completely unplanned and I was SO thrilled to see it!  Of all the castles I have come across so far in my lifetime, I have never been around for a changing of the guards.  We had perfect timing!  Unfortunately we had a terrible view 😦

Walking up toward Prague Castle
Walking up toward Prague Castle
Seriously, SO much contrast in the architecture!
Seriously, SO much contrast in the architecture!
Last bit of stairs to the castle area
Last bit of stairs to the castle area
Guards!!!!
Guards!!!!

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Royal palace in front, royal cathedral in back, miscellaneous palaces on both sides!
Royal palace in front, royal cathedral in back, miscellaneous palaces on both sides!

Prague Castle was crazy crowded, so we walked on through pretty quickly, enjoyed the views from the hilltop, and then headed for lunch!  Prague is known for its cheap food & beer, so we were stoked to find delicious, reasonably priced three-course meals everywhere we looked.  We finally chose the place we did because it had potato soup!  You all know that is one of my favorite foods in the universe!!

The dark tower on the right is the far end of St. Charles Bridge!
The dark tower on the right is the far end of St. Charles Bridge!
Looking at the town area we had walked through, on our way to the castle
Looking at the town area we had walked through, on our way to the castle
Potato soup!! Oh yeahhhh
Potato soup!! Oh yeahhhh
Goulash & dumplings! (Dumplings in Prague are basically pieces of white wonder bread!)
Goulash & dumplings! (Dumplings in Prague are basically pieces of white wonder bread!)
Apple turnover-- all of this for like $5!
Apple turnover– all of this for like $5!

After lunch, we were hit with a downpour, but decided to keep exploring!  Not wanting to be in any pictures though looking like drowned rats, we zig-zagged our way around any and all streets that seemed interesting.  I made sure though to keep us headed toward “Dancing House,” a building by my favorite architect, Frank Gehry!

Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square

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Looking back down through Wenceslas Square, from the opposite direction
Looking back down through Wenceslas Square, from the opposite direction
Dancing House!
Dancing House!
Pretty buildings along the river
Pretty buildings along the river

By the time we made it to Dancing House, which was a bit out of the way, we pulled a U-turn and walked along the river, back toward St. Charles Bridge. Once there, we wandered back into the Old Town Square before heading to our hotel to warm up and shower.  Then we were back out and about town, catching the sights of Prague at night!!  Soon enough though, too much time had passed, so we grabbed dinner on-the-go from a street vendor and headed to bed, determined to head out early the next day!

Up close of the Astronomical Clock, which was made in the 1300's and can never be recreated.
Up close of the Astronomical Clock, which was made in the 1300’s and can never be recreated.
The Old Town Cathedral being lit up by the sunset!
The Old Town Cathedral being lit up by the sunset!

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St. Charles Bridge at dusk
St. Charles Bridge at dusk

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Looking through the end of St. Charles Bridge, into Prague Castle
Looking through the end of St. Charles Bridge, into Prague Castle
Prague Castle illuminated, with one the most famous statue on St. Charles Bridge up front
Prague Castle illuminated, with one the most famous statue on St. Charles Bridge up front
Another statue on St. Charles Bridge, with the castle behind.  This statue commemorates the place where the Queen's priest was bound & thrown into the river to drown.  (The King was angry that the priest would not tell him the Queen's confessions.)
Another statue on St. Charles Bridge, with the castle behind. This statue commemorates the place where the Queen’s priest was bound & thrown into the river to drown. (The King was angry that the priest would not tell him the Queen’s confessions.)
Looking through the other end of St. Charles Bridge, back into Old Town
Looking through the other end of St. Charles Bridge, back into Old Town
Last view of the castle :)
Last view of the castle 🙂
Dinner!....It was a mess of sauerkraut, potatoes, and ham, that cost like $20 for two big bowls.  It was disgusting and SUCH a let down relative to our three-course lunch, but it was late at night when we finally worked up an appetite, so we were left with few options.
Dinner!….It was a mess of sauerkraut, potatoes, and ham, that cost like $20 for two big bowls. It was disgusting and SUCH a let down relative to our three-course lunch, but it was late at night when we finally worked up an appetite, so we were left with few options.
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