Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Prague, Czech Republic

The most surprising part of our trip to Prague was our apartment. We arrived at the train station and found our way to tram #9 and our apartment. We were shocked we had a 1 bedroom apartment on the river for $24/night! In Prague! When I opened the door to the entrance, I was greeted with a beautiful stain glass skylight. 

Wow! I asked the girl if I was at the correct location. Yes, this was Prague Holiday Apartments. We were shown to the apartment which was fantastic! The bathroom was the size of some of the rooms I have rented. I was ready to move in and stay for a week. To make it better, there were local beers sitting on the table with a welcome note to enjoy our visit and ask if we needed anything. Mom sat down and popped open a beer. Wait? My mother was drinking a beer? What had I done to her?

Mom looked at me and asked what we paid for this place. I took out my converter app and checked the rate. It was $48 for 2 nights. Mom chuckled and asked if it was haunted. I hope not! I guess we will find out in a few hours. We unpacked and went to dinner. Mmm! Prague is known for its beers so I started trying the local drafts. Cheers!

Mom was still sampling hot chocolate and enjoying the varieties.

After dinner we walked along the river to a grocery store. We stocked up on fruits and veggies and splurged on peanut better and popcorn. Mom had been craving peanut butter since she arrived in Turkey! 

We slept well and did not see any ghosts. Mom was still preoccupied with why the apartment was so cheap. I suspected it was because it was low season and outside the tourist area. We relaxed and enjoyed our space. We made tea and breakfast and lounged on the couch reading. It felt good. We were moving from one country to the next quickly and needed time to relax. I prefer to spend 5 days and get to know a city but we don't have that kind of time. 

As morning light filtered into the window, we left our relaxing oasis and went sightseeing. We walked along the river appreciating the beautiful architecture of the city. 
Then to the funicular to get an overview of the city. We strolled along the paths overlooking the Prague and the castle.
We could hear music playing and decided to follow the rhythm down the hill.
We continued walking the cobblestone streets to the John Lennon Wall.
After John Lennon was murdered, he became a pacifist symbol and hero of the young Czech rebels against communism. They painted his picture, political slogans and poems on the wall. This became a thorn to the communist leaders and the Secret Police. They would whitewash the wall but it did not stay for long. The young students repeated the painting and slogans. Today the colors are vibrant with images of John Lennon and  a yellow submarine.
We continued our walk through the neighborhood, past canals and small bridges with padlocks symbolizing love.
We stopped and admired lifelike puppets along the street before continuing to Charles Bridge. 
This is Prague's oldest bridge and statues line each side. 
We continued to the Old Town Square and arrived at the Astronomical Clock as tourists crowded around the clock and were staring at the top. Everyone was filming or photographing the moment. I looked at mom and asked what everyone was waiting to see. She did not know either. We waited and watched. At the top of the hour, the figure of Death inverted his hourglass and the 12 disciples rotated past the window.  

As we were headed for our apartment, we passed St. Nicholas church where they were advertising an evening concert. We decided to stay and enjoy the music in the beautiful Cathedral. We had to wait for a few hours. I left mom on a bench while I went to see the Charles Bridge in the evening light.
I returned, met mom and we walked into the dimly lit church. The concert music was beautiful but the church was freezing cold. I watched the time for half the concert. I wanted to leave and warm up. I was ecstatic when we could finally go home. We walked to the metro and back to our apartment. On the way,  we planned our activities for the next day. We decided to take the night train to Krakow, Poland and we planned to visit the Jewish Quarter in the morning.  We arrived at our apartment and found a going away gift from the apartments! Such a nice surprise! Yummy wafers. A nice dessert before bed. 


The Prague Jewish Quarter was very educational. We walked to the ghetto and entered a synagogue with the names of all of the Jewish people.
It was overwhelming to see the names of those killed covering the walls. There was artwork from children at a concentration camp. It was heart breaking. We continued on through the Jewish cemetery. The cemetery  has about 12,000 gravestones - one on top of the next. Behind each turn was another section of gravestones all squished into the Jewish Quarter. The synagogues in the area provide information about Jewish traditions and customs. The Nazi's did not destroy the area because they planned to use the Jewish Quarter as a "museum to the extinct race." It was disturbing. We knew this would be a good beginning to our next few days in Poland and eventually our visit to Auschwitz. 

Afterwards, we walked back to the Old Town square and had dinner. We shopped and enjoyed the atmosphere. Prague was a charming city. We went back to the train station and prepared for our overnight train to Krakow, Poland. 

1 comment:

  1. OMG! I'm so jealous. The apartment rate is very cheap and I'm glad to know it's not haunted. For sure there are cheaper hotels in Czech Republic Prague too.
    The tourist attractions are amazing. (Sigh) Wish I could visit that place in the future.