It was another early start for our group as we actually are staying two nights in the same city! We left early, Susan, Robin Erika and I, before 9am to go to Prague Castle. We were all very happy we had, since the crowds (and many many tour groups) increased in size and quantity (as did the lines) as the day progressed.
We took the metro to the castle, which was easy and quick, then walked a few blocks. There was a bag check and hand scanner but we all passed and were allowed into the castle, got tickets and audio guides and started exploring.
I went to the church first, a gothic/renaissance blend which was awe inspiring, but viewing was impeded somewhat by the numerous and very large tour groups. The stained glass windows were beautiful on the side (the ones that were left) and on the end.
I went next to the palace and learned something of the palace history. It dates from the 8th century. Currently the Czech president has offices there. This area is Bohemia. At one time the palace occupants ruled the Roman Empire. Other occupants ruled Bohemia. It’s the largest ancient castle complex in the world according to Wikipedia. The great hall was certainly huge. There are nice views of the city from the side of the palace on various terraces.
I also walked down into the dungeons, one and two stories below the main level.
Overall the castle is really impressive and well preserved.
The castle tour took a long time and we walked down afterwards towards the Charles Bridge. Erika split off to rest and we stopped, had some crepes for lunch and continued towards the old town, across the Bridge. I climbed up one of the towers and the view was fantastic, especially of the castle and Charles Bridge. When I came down, we did some shopping and I took photos. I had been eying the soft serve ice cream served in a funnel shaped pastry, which I learned is called a trdelník chimney, a funnel-cake filled with soft-serve ice cream that’s sold all over Prague now, but which originated in Prague bakery Good Food. I don’t recall seeing them here a few years ago but now there are shops making and selling them every few feet. It was very good and I shared with Robin and Susan. The three of us didn’t finish it!
There are a lot of bridges in Prague (18 in all) over the Vlatava River, the longest in the Czech Republic, about 267 miles (thanks Wikipedia). We walked over the Charles Bridge, a pedestrian bridge and into the Old Town towards the Astronomical Clock. However, it was under renovation, but we still ended up in the Old Town Square which is pretty impressive and bordered by beautiful, colorful buildings and a church. By that time it was well after 6pm and we were toured out. We took the metro home, hit a Czech grocery store and called it another very nice day.
Tomorrow is our last day as a group since Susan will be leaving us to visit her relatives after we see Karlovy Vary. The rest of us will continue on to Munchen/Munich.