Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prague - late afternoon

After our group photograph, we made our way the the Old Town Square. Around the Square are many attractive buildings such as these.

There are churches like the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn.............................

and the Church of St.Nicholas.

The main attraction here is the Astronomical Clock of the Old Town Hall

The clock comes to life every hour during the day but I did not find it that attractive but it is a major tourist attraction in Prague. The pickpockets could be watching your wallet while you are watching the clock so be aware. Actually, I found the ice cream parlours that are around the square more interesting and there are many flavours to choose from and they start from only 1 euro! Yummy especially on a hot day. There are also plenty of restaurants in the area for open air dining.

Then we went to Wenceslas Square. My photos did not turn up well so just the few below.

There was a large open air market nearby and also plenty of souvenir shops on both sides and my wife did all her shopping for friends and relatives here.

It was a long day in Prague. Usually we were driven around in our city tour but in Prague we did everything on foot. And I believe I have never walked so much in one day and it was a welcome sight when we saw our tour bus as we headed for our dinner and our hotel for a long awaited rest.

I wish I could spend more time in Prague as there are many more sites to see and this is one of weaknesses of package tour; you only get to see what is in their programme. So maybe this is an excuse to come back later to do your own tour.

Anyway, good night, Prague.

Ronald Kwok

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prague in the afternoon

After the satisfying lunch, we continued our walking tour, this time towards the Charles Bridge. It was like travelling back in time walking on cobblestones and passing all the old buildings. Just imagine that the cars are not there!

There were a lot of shops along the way and many of them were selling all types of puppets, many of them eerie looking ones.

Soon we arrived at one end the Charles Bridge where the crowd thickens.

As we walked across the bridge, there were various statues and many stalls selling souvenirs and other touristic items.............

and also street or bridge musicians to be exact.

This statue is special (the statue of St.John of Nepomuk) as it is believed that rubbing the saint shown on the right panel will bring good luck or you will return to Prague. Hence the shiny surface after all the rubbing!

On the bridge, you have scenic views of the Vlata River, the longest in the Czech Republic.

On the other side of the river, you have more buildings to admire.........

and the grand St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle in the background across the river........

forming a perfect backdrop for our group photograph.

Ronald Kwok

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Full Day in Prague - Morning

We started out early right after breakfast since we have a full day in Prague and also to avoid the crowd as our first stop is the Prague Castle area which is a top tourist spot. It was a bit chilly in the morning so the walk to the castle was a good warming up exercise.

First we wandered around the compound of the Old Royal Palace, home of previous kings and queens. Today the castle is the home of the President of the Czech Republic.

Outside you have the street musicians.......

The other major tourist attraction in the Castle area is the St.Vitus Cathedral which took 500 years to build. Here are some views from the outside...............

and also from the inside...............

Then we took a casual stroll down Golden Lane (used to be homes to goldsmiths, hence the name) where shops were selling souvenirs.........

passing Franz Kafka's house at No.22 (also known as the Blue House).

We then went through the Palace Garden.........

and since it was noon, we caught the Changing of the Guards at the Palace Gate. Wonder if this is patented by Buckingham Palace since this is a common practice in palaces all over the world!

From the Palace Gate we left the castle area and walked towards the Loreto (a Baroque shrine to the Virgin Mary)..........

on our way to an eagerly awaited lunch, lovely pork knuckles. Boy were we hungry after all the walking!
There was more walking after the lunch in my next post.

Ronald Kwok