Prague, City of a Hundred Spires…
We were lucky the train station was pretty close to our hotel, just a ten minute walk…
The sky was very threatening this morning, very black indeed, but the rain held off while we walked to the station as we got to the small train station (Město), we were hoping that this was the correct train station as there are two in Kutna Hora!
We got our tickets to Hlavní Nádraží, which is the main station in Prague, on the train we wanted to double check with the ticket collector, as we thought we may have gotten onto the wrong train as it was heading in the wrong direction, the grumpy short tempered ticket collector told us to ‘sit down’ and told us in no uncertain terms ‘this is the correct train’..feeling like naughty school children we did as we were told, a young girl in the seat in front of us must have felt sorry for us and promptly told us that the train is going the wrong direction, but it is the right train for Prague…
But you need to get off at Kolín station, then catch the train Hlavní Nádraží thus going past the Kutna Hora station that we left on!
The train was quite fast and we passed the very beautiful country side, but it was raining hard, so we made the right decision to leave the bike at the hotel…
An hour or so later, we could see we were very close to Prague, what a beautiful city we could see in the distance, i’m not sure how we missed our stop, but we did and we were soon on the wrong side of the river, we weren’t the only ones who weren’t paying attention a couple of young Japanese students did the same, they were wanting to go to Prague Castle like us, we all got off at the next station and tried (with no luck) to find out where to go, we all ended up hoping on the next train that we thought was going in the correct direction, back over to the side of the river that we needed to be at.
Phew…we got off but the young students didn’t, not sure where they were heading but it wasn’t anywhere near the castle.
Within taking a few steps off the train we new we had come to a place that was very special, the architecture this side of the river was spectacular, so heavens knows what it will be like on the ‘Lesser’ side of the town…we couldn’t wait to start exploring…this is what travelling to the ‘far and wide’ is all about (for us anyway).
We needed to follow the Vltava River from the side of ‘The Old Town’ and across the Legii Bridge to ‘The Lesser Town’.
We find our selves walking through a park along the embankment, despite there being quite a few people around it was peaceful, until we came to a huge blackboard with American tourists deciding what to write on the ‘Before I Die’ board, it seemed it was a big decision to make and they needed to discuss it very loudly with their friends spoiling the peace…I can’t tell you what we wrote or it won’t come true!
A short way along the path we came across some big poster boards of the devastating floods that they had earlier in the year (2013).
The Kampa Museum was close by so we took a look, there was certainly some strange art, but very clever though, we also came across this ‘fella’ Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007) a spiritual teacher. The beautiful statue was created by British sculptor, Kaivalya Torpy, during the floods earlier in the year, Sri was up to his neck in water!
As we were walking through the old cobbled streets, we recognised many of the buildings from the photos about the flooding it was hard to believe that the water came us so high, it took us back to the floods of our city of Brisbane in 2011.
The weather has turned on us, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying the beautiful old buildings that have been loveingly transformed into souvenir shops, restaurants and stylish hotels.
The cobbled stones were a challenge at times, as not to slip up on them!
Time for a coffee and hopefully the worst of the rain will go!
Checking outside its still raining, so we decide to carry on through the maze of small cobbled stone streets, outside some of the shops were canopies, the trouble was everyone was under them trying to keep dry, proving a little difficult to get past everyone at times.
Eventually we make it up to what can only be described as a massive courtyard filled with imposing buildings, this place is incredible, the umbrella had to come down, as it was restricting my photo taking!
Prague Castle was built in about the 9th century, and over the centuries it was expanded. Around the castle, a small community started to grow and was known as The Lesser Town. Its free to get in, but if you want to see inside the magnificent buildings it will cost you, but being on not just a budget but a time limit we will have to decline checking out the buildings until another day.
After the First World War the castle became the seat of the government of Czechoslovakia and today the president of the Czech Republic still resides here.
The stunning main entrance to the palace has a guard on both pillars, and if you are there at the right time you can watch the guards change over.. we missed it…
Within a short walk around the square you come across Smiricky Palace, Sternberg Palace,St. Nicholas Church and Holy Trinity Columnthe which was erected to celebrate the end of the bubonic plague.
We make our way down the narrow cobbled streets between the tall narrow buildings and come across a semi-famous statue of a boy, the statue of the boy is black, but his penis is shinny and gold from all the polishing!
Somehow a story got started that rubbing the penis of this statue gives a person good luck, i had to give it a go, can’t miss out on a chance of good luck now can i…?
Blue skies greeted us as we head towards Charles Bridge, Charles IV had this bridge built to replace the 12th-century Judith Bridge, which was washed away by floods in 1342.
The new bridge was completed in 1390, and only took the name ‘Charles’ in the 19th century – before that it was known simply as Kamenný most (Stone Bridge).
We struggle to make our way onto the bridge-it was packed not only from an army of tourists, but also hawkers that lined the bridge, selling touristy trinkets etc, thankfully we didn’t have to worry about traffic on the bridge as since 1965 it has been a pedestrian bridge, so at least we didn’t have to worry about cars running us over, just tourists!
In the late sixteen and early seventeen hundreds, thirty statues of various saints, knights and a crucifix, were erected along both side of the bridge.
We noticed that a few statues had brass spots on them this had happened due to the sculptures being rubbed by mostly tourists, these statues were inundated by people pushing and shoving, so gave those ones a miss.
There is a plaque that marks the exact spot on the bridge where St. John was thrown into the Vltava its marked with a small brass cross with five stars above it, portraying the stars that hung over the water that fateful night!
You can make a wish come true by reaching for the stars, touching one star for each finger tip, while sending a Plea to the universe!
Hmmm everyone needs good luck so i line up in hope of ‘touching the stars’ this proved very hard, as i was getting pushed out of the way by excited people, it got a bit too much when the elbows came out, so i decided to get in on the ‘fun’, i got to touch the stars with nobody getting in my way!
At the end of the bridge is the famous sandstone Gothic Old Town Guard Towers, you can see why this bridge is one of the most visited places on prague its simply amazing.
As we head of down the old streets past building of five or more stories high, we suddenly feel like we have been transported back in time, we are now in the 600+ year old square, its massive, but before we explore we need to get something to eat, all this walking and cold air makes you hungry, we really didn’t have time for a sit down meal, so we opt for a delicious Czech sausage hot dog, that were being sold on trading style old carts, the sausages were huge and sooo tasty, while eating them we sat on a nearby bench, taking in our centries old surroundings, amazing…
We reflected on how lucky we our to see so many amazing things on this trip and we our so glad we had the guts to take on this epic trip of a lifetime…
The rain had held off for quite a while now, but just as we finished out sausages the rain came down like no tomorrow, we quickly raced (with hundreds of other people as well) to the closest shelter, the rain continued at this fast heavy pace for about 15 minutes, before it subsided to a drizzle.
With the coast clear we walked back into the Old town square, then onto the Jewish quarter, then back to the old town square, just as the rain decided to come down pretty heavy again, typical as i wanted to get a photo of the Astronomical Clock, which is a 600 year old medieval timepiece on the facade of the city hall and displays the twelve apostles as the clock strikes, sadly we didn’t get to the clock in time to see it strike but i did mange a couple of photos, it is a fascinating clock, in fact Prague is fascinating, charming, and so old, its clear to see that its a City well loved by tourists…
After a long day of walking and adsorbing the spectacular City, we head back to our quiet little town on the train for our last night in Kutna Hora.
Back in our room and feeling exchusted we decided, that we weren’t hungry enough to go out for dinner, to many coffees and cake again…. we just longed for a hot shower and have a relaxing evening packing…
The next morning came around fast, and some of our washing was still pretty damp, the heating was off, so i had to resort to socks over the tops of the bedside lamps, hoping they wouldn’t catch fire from the bulbs and turning the hair dryer on and trying to wedge it somehow so i wouldn’t have to hold it while it dried the rest of the clothes, it proved to be a challenge lol, but i did it and all our clothes were put away dry!
It was sad to leave this charming little town we wished we could have stayed a little longer, but we had to get to Germany by a certain date to meet a friend, plus we had we had one more stop that we wanted to make in Czech before we left.
Well at least we have a defitnite plan now where we are going, we have been zigzagging around Europe for the last month, mainly because there is so much to see and it doesn’t really take long to get anywhere…
The chain on the bike is still giving us grieve, our daily adjustments don’t last long, we are sure if it wasn’t for the extra heavy chain we put on, at the beginning of our trip we would have replaced it a long time ago…