Monday, January 21, 2013

The Last Leg: Prague

 A magnificent view of Prague Castle

The last leg of our Christmas Adventures. So sorry about the late posts but we have been pretty busy trying to finish up our semesters here in Oldenburg.

What to say about Prague: beautiful, magnificent, awe-inspiring, and friendly. We stayed at the Plus Hostel just outside of town. Ashley and I were accommodated very nicely in the female-only dorms while Alex, unfortunately, was placed in co-ed dorms. We took some quick showers and met in the lobby to commence our new plans. First: Explore.

 The Astronomical Clock!
     We started out just wandering around the city. We chose a random stop off the subway and walked around for a few hours. This way we were able to see some national monuments and some local hospitality. We stumbled upon the historic district which was so big! It was this giant town square with towering buildings and massive cathedrals. As we entered the Old Town Hall began its hourly entertainment: The Astronomical Clock. Every hour on the hour the Astronomical clock would begin to chime, play music, and rotate different images and sculptures which created a very cheery atmosphere. First installed around 1410 it comprises of 3 main parts: The astronomical dial that represents the positions of the sun and moon in the sky and displays various astronomical details; The "Walk of the Apostles" which hourly shows the figures of the Apostles rotating with a skeleton in front-right of them that represented death; finally, the calendar dial with medallions that represented the months. If you ever have the chance to visit Prague, this one is a must! From there we just continued to walk and explore various buildings, shoppes, and the remains of the Christmas Markets.

That night we participated in a Beer Tour of Prague. It was a fairly cheap tour where we were guided to 3 different local breweries, taught about how to make a brew and what makes a certain kind of brew, and then tried some of the local brews. Talk about a great Tour! The tour guide was hilarious and even drank a few of the beers with us. At the end we were presented with our "Beer Diplomas" and went on to explore a few more pubs on our own. :D

All of us with our Beer Diplomas!

Needless to say the following morning we were a bit hungover, but, we all agreed to champion the day! A rough start- no hot water in the Hostel. But we were given a free meal because of it. Talk about a bad morning start being hungover AND cold! This day we headed out to the Old Prague Castle and its little hill-town it is nestled in.

The inside of St. Vitus Cathedral

     On the way we read the map wrong and ended up a bit lost-but for the better. We stumbled on this vast and beautiful hidden view of the city. It was so beautiful that we stuck around for a bit and relaxed in the crisp air. After a half hour we made our way to the right path to the Castle. We took the Old Castle Stairs (which was more like a slope than stairs) and into the gates of the town. Talk about cool! The walk to the Cathedral and Castle took us through some side streets where we saw some of the older buildings now being put to use as souvenir shops and cafes. Then, behold! A huge and beautiful Gothic Cathedral- St. Vitus. Both inside and out were gorgeous and a rare sight to be seen. This Cathedral was founded in 1344 by Jan Lucembursky and was finished 600 years later in 1929- still built according to the original plans of Matthias of Aras.

The outside of St. Vitus Cathedral

Finally, we concluded our short (but filled) day by going to the Old Royal Palace. Built in the 16th century by and for the Bohemian kings and queens. It was a very simple castle but very charming. I would love to come back in the Spring when the flowers are in full bloom. I can only imagine what it all must have looked like while still in use by the Monarchy.

 Ash and the view we accidentally found!

    For the rest of our trip to Prague we simply walked, explored, ate, and shopped. We decided to take it easy because the rest of the trip was so heavy. But we all agreed of all the places we visited during our trip that we would have wanted to spend more time here.

Love and miss all of my family and friends back home.

XOXO Emily

Travel Tips:

If you are having trouble working out some issues with a friend, try going to a local pub and loosen up a bit with a drink (note: A drink: meaning 1, you do NOT want to get drunk and talk about it).

Ash and I found the U.S. Embassy!

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