Praha: In the 1920s, my Russian refugee grandparents met and married “there”, my uncle was born “there”, and almost a century later, our daughter spent Spring Semester “there” at Charles University. Prague, “there”fore, presents peripherally in my life but poignantly so. It was with great excitement and anticipation that my husband and I made Prague part our Spring Baltic cities circuit (See earlier Vilnius and St Petersburg posts) and it was to be the culmination of initiating family research, as well as meeting up with one of our sons and picking up our daughter. I imagine you have had similar responses upon bringing up “Prague” in conversation. Virtually everyone has either been there, displaying genuine excitement to share their experiences, or has it on their bucket list. We were of the latter, and now join the ranks of “Oh my gosh, what a great place!”. I confess, I enjoyed it so much that I delayed and delayed this blog because by procrastinating I could relive, my experiences. I poured over the images and held fast to the belief that I just couldn’t pick “a few” pics so I continued day-dreaming Prague.

What is Prague to me? It’s a beautiful cradle of hills having at its head the stunning Hradčany “castle”, enveloping the historic city and at its heart a gem, Tÿn Church. It is with great appreciation that we give thanks that it was spared destruction in WWII and that preservation efforts continue today … It is a city that has forever and seamlessly captured the Czech essence, spanning centuries from medieval times to the present. It holds as its children great composers, artists, thinkers and architects and puts on proud display their magnificent contributions to the world. This then is a compilation of our week meandering, touring, “tramming”, dining and people watching.

First, the “Standard Stuff”: Staré Mésto (Old Town), Jan Hus Memorial, 14th century Old Town Hall with its Astrological Clock, Our Lady Before Tÿn Church, Towers on Charles Bridge, statue of King Charles IV and the renown Karlüv Most/Charles Bridge … the architecture is so diverse including Gothic, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau. We were blown away and to think our daughter walked these places, daily, for a semester!

…  the church of St. Nicholas on the Old Town Square showcases what I think is the most exquisite chandelier …

DSC_4220… later, while meandering, we encountered … “the not so usual suspects” …

… we sidetracked by tram to Veletrźní Palace to experience the 20 ginormous paintings that comprise The Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) … one can’t really comprehend the magnitude of this decades long effort or the sheer scale (25′ x 20′) of each work until you have seen them in person and spent time with them in reflective solitude …

… we walked all over the city … across the Charles Bridge to Mála Strana (Little Quarter) to Zlatá Ulička (Golden Lane), then up, up, up the hills to Petrín Hill and Tower and down, down, down into intersecting paths that exit, presenting entirely different vistas …

… we hired on a tour guide, Jarmila, for the castle and stunning St. Vitrus Cathedral segments and she was an absolute fount of knowledge, upbeat and energized …

… Sitting above the castle … Strahov Monastery and renown Baroque Library. What I wouldn’t give to spend time perusing the volumes …

…  from lofty heights, we descended to low-lying Kampa Island and brunched at this canal~side, indoor~outdoor café, Velkoprevorsky Mlyn, replete with red blankets, shearling chair covers, a water wheel and its vodník (water spirit)… delicious!

 

… leaving the energy of Old Town, we strolled down the side of the Vltava River and hiked up to the National Cemetery, Vyšheradské Sady. I love cemeteries and one of my favorites is Père Lachaise in Paris because of its meandering quality, age and sheer size. By contrast, this Sady (Garden) sits within a fortress rampart atop a considerable hill, and in addition to traditional graves, showcases loggias enshrouding elaborate rodina (family) plots … except for those “national treasures” such as Dvorak who have individual niches …

… later, as I was quietly strolling along, my eye caught a “seated” woman and an androgynous person on walls … hmmm … no comment …

… soon joined by these suspended “spirited sprites” …

DSC_3980

… but, this guy took the cake … at first I thought “What the? Holy cow! Ew … they have a guy hanging!” But then, as I circled below, I noticed he was holding on and then my final view has him just, well, hanging as though waiting for the tram to pass below … curiouser and curiouser … reality is just a matter of “perspective” …

… all this wandering made us hungry, hungry, hungry …

… and thirsty, thirsty, thirsty … we gravitated to this inconspicuously sited basement pivovar microbrewer, U Dobrenskÿch … and (often) enjoyed washing down their delicious potato pancakes with herb ale, or stout, or in my case lemongrass IPA all the while accompanied by iconic Beatles tunes …

… every day something new was afoot … dancers, parachutists, bubble makers, silly people in bubbles, and religious processions … yup, never a dull moment …

… and you know how Paris has Jim Morrison and Vilnius has Frank Zappa? Well, Prague has John Lennon’s wall … a posthumous spontaneous tribute that has drawn the faithful for decades … “All You Need Is Love” …

… a few interesting things that caught my “eye” …

… additional favorite views include …

Speaking of which … I guess this is one way to express a point of view … Don’t you think the impending storm and black drawn carriage places a fitting exclamation mark on the slogan? …

IMG_6540
Our Lady Before Tÿn

Where we stayed: Pachtuv Palace, located on the river within a block of the Charles Bridge. We had a river-facing suite, high ceilings and large rooms, thus enabling the addition of a roll away bed. Great people, great location, great service (shout out to fantastic Manager: Pavla Klímová) and an excellent time! www.pachtuvpalace.com/

Contemplating a personal tour guide? Please consider: Jarmila Prochazkova Flanagan. https://twitter.com/XJarmilaX

Don’t miss eating at: La Bottega Di Finestra (Platnérská 13, Prague 1) – an outstanding deli with charming dining areas, friendly staff, excellent desserts and an extensive wine selection: www.lafinestra.cz/en

Canal water wheel café: Velkoprevorsky Mlyn (Hroznován489/3, 118 00 Praha

Loved the microbrewer, Pivovar U Dobrenskÿch  – 2 blocks from hotel  http://pivovarudobrenskych.cz/#_=_

Dining in pretty much any of the cafés in Staré Mésto not so much for the quality of the food but just to be out there, enjoying the weather and multitudes.

Buy a blood red garnet and a watercolor painting of the Old Town Clock Tower or castle skyline!

Na zdravi! Cheers! Hope you enjoyed Skedaddling through Prague!!!

I have exciting plans for the next 18 months of Just Skedaddling so Please “Like” and “Share” on FB and sign up to “Follow” … you will only be emailed to announce a new posting!

http://www.KateStillwellPhotography.com/

 

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One thought on “Day~Dreaming Prague

  1. Prague has risen right next to Paris as one of the most beautiful cities we have seen together in our much traveled life! Small wonder our daughter fell SO in love with this most magical of places. Your photos captured so many of our moments it was fantastic revisiting all these sights!

    Like

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