Czech Republic trip Day 2 – 21 Nov 2012 – Prague Castle, St Vitus Cathedral, St George Basilica, Golden Lane, Charles Bridge, Old Town Prague, authentic Czech cuisine for dinner, ballet with frilly dresses (Don Quixote) …
Tram number 22 runs through Prague new town, across the river, past the funicular up to Petrin hill, through Mala Strana (Little Quarter), then up the hill to the castle area – a cheap way to get a sightseeing trip of Prague. Commentary is limited to tram stop names though.
Up on the hill across the river from Old Town Prague is a castle area, with church, basilica, tourist shops, and the only street I’ve ever been to where an entry fee is charged. The Golden Lane was home to gold sellers and jewellers in the past, and is now home to a ticket office and souvenir shops. Is it worth the entry fee? Probably not, it’s not a whole lot cuter than cute cobblestone lanes with souvenir shops in other cities and towns in Europe.
Then a bit more strolling around Old Town Prague, dinner in an authentic Czech city restaurant for tourists at the Old Town Square … fish and chips – and remarkably tasty and good value given the location. Sometimes it seems you don’t always get ripped off in the middle of a city. And then off to the ballet at the Prague State Opera house, this time classical ballet complete with frilly skirted dancers (the women that is). The men wore stockings tight enough to make their voices squeak.
632 – St Vitus Cathedral – building started in 1388, finally completed in 1929. Well it was mostly completed long before that, it was finally consecrated in 1929.
646 – St Vitus Cathedral.
649 – View of castle gardens and wall.
681 – Medieval gutter system for the cathedral (the tongue is the spout).
708 – More gargoyle gutter ornaments.
745 – Stained glass windows. Actually in St Vitus I think they are painted rather than stained. A useful fact that is bound to serve you well next time you’re in a pub quiz competition or in the finals of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
751 – St Vitus interior.
809 – Grave of St Wenceslas – he gets a whole room, nicely decorated, and not a single piece of IKEA furniture. Wenceslas is the name of a king, a duke, a saint, a square, a hotel, a film, and is the subject of a well-known Christmas carol. Wenceslas was born in the 10th century and brought up as a devout Christian by his grandmother initially (she was killed shortly after his father died when he was 13), subsequently ruling Czechia and building lots of churches after turning 18 years old. His younger brother, Boleslav the Cruel, however was brought up by their more pagan mother, and eventually killed (allegedly) Wenceslas. Boleslav had the body of Wenceslas moved to St Vitus church.
821- More stained or painted glass.
845 – Courtyard behind church with gluhwein and wurst restaurant, and St George Basilica (the pink building).
851 – Gluhwein and wurst consumer.
856 – St George Basilica interior.
880 – The Golden Lane.
885 – Upstairs pathway through attics of all the Golden Lane houses.
893 – The mind boggles, are these devices for real??
942 – View of Prague at dusk from castle area.
950 – Number 22 tram and square near St Nicholas Church.
973 – Castle side of river from Charles Bridge.
985 – Charles Bridge statue.
995 – Castle side of river from Charles Bridge with St Nicholas Church in background. From the top of that tower you get a good view of Prague.
998 – Prague houses and courtyard at night, down the steps from Charles Bridge, castle area side.
020 – Prague Castle area and St Vitus Cathedral at night.
069 – Prague State Opera House ballet – Don Quixote. Don Quixote is the Spanish story of a gentleman who becomes delusional after reading too many books about knights in shining armor rescuing damsels in distress. He puts a washbasin on his head as a helmet and sets out to find his beloved damsel in distress, or something, and have some adventures. Along the way he finds the wrong girl, mistakes the moon for her, gets deceived by various players who take advantage of his chivalrous nature, and gets whacked by a windmill blade (the expression “tilting at windmills” comes from the story, in reference to DQ attacking windmills mistakenly thinking they are giants). Eventually he wakes up and sees reality, takes off his washbasin helmet, and goes home to potter about. Although the ballet version ends before that with a young couple getting married as a result of DQ’s helpful intervention in a messy arrangement, but DQ gets a smack from the bride’s father because he thinks he got deceived by DQ, except DQ was only the messenger. Got it? I didn’t get it.
073 – Ballet performers. Good grief, just what do they have in their pants??
081 – Prague State Opera House interior.
139 – And some tutu-ed ballet dancers to finish.