Europe-We Came, We Saw and We Were Conquered
Bonnie Moss (c)September,2013
Mid-Eastern Europe- Part 1 PRAGUE
We Came, We Saw, We Were Conquered
Indeed, we went to conquer this part of the world- instead
its culture, history, beauty and majestic art conquered us.
So much so that a second trip is under contemplation.
Frankfurt airport is impressively organized. It is a very
big airport to navigate for those who have to catch
connecting flights. Struggling with breathing problem,
I had to use the transport car to take me to the right
gate as the rest of the group went their way.
My dear sister went along with me. That was a big help.
PRAGUE: First stop
Here I am, Prague-Lisa
It was past noon by the time we got to Prague.
We had to wait for the rooms. But this did not
stop the rest of the group from using every
minute taking photos here and there. There
was no stoppping them, one would think we
were tired, and had to nap for the rest of
No way. After we were settled in our rooms,
sis Jane asked the receptionist for directions to
get to a shopping area, places of interest and
of course- restaurants within walking distance.
Off we go on a walking tour by ourselves to conquer
Prague. Being strangers in the city, we asked for
directions. Lanquage problem was a bit of an
inconvenience,but we got to where we wanted to go.
The first landmark was the Powder Tower. It is
something to behold.
Brief history of the powder tower-
The Gothic Powder Tower in the
Old Town used to be a gate to Prague
in the middle ages. It was built in a ditch
around the town´s ramparts, about 9 metres
below the present ground.
The future kings of Bohemia used to enter
the town through this gate when they were
on their coronation parade. This parade went
on the traditional Royal Way to the Prague Castle,
where the coronation took place.
Together with the Old Town Bridge Tower,
the Powder Tower is the only existing part
of the former Prague Old Town fortification.
The Powder Tower bears its name because
of the gunpowder, that used to be stored there
since the 18th century. The tower was damaged
by shooting of the Prussian army in 1757.
Many decorative sculptures were damaged and
The city was teeming with people- hard to tell which
were the tourists and who were the “locals.” I found
this interesting. In my travels, I looked for the
“local flavor.” Tourist spots were interesting but
these areas only try to display the best there is-
in my opinion.
Our final stop for the evening was a restaurant.
We made sure it served authentic Czekoslovakian
cuisine. We were not disappointed. We were advised
to hail a cab only where the TAXI sign was posted
with yellow cabs just waiting.
Next day was a tour of Prague after breakfast.
The famous Infant Jesus of Prague was a must stop.
Brief history:from Wikipedia-
The Infant Jesus of Prague (Czech: Pražské
Jezulátko) is a 16th-century Roman Catholic
wax-coated wooden statue of child Jesus
holding a globus cruciger,located in the
Carmelite Church of Our Lady Victorious
in Malá Strana, Prague, Czech Republic.
Pious legends claim that
the statue once belonged to
Saint Teresa of Avila and
allegedly holds miraculous
powers, especially among
expectant mothers.The statue is known worldwide
in relation to earlier child-Jesus icons, most
prominently the Santo Nino de Atocha in Spain and
Latin America (13th century), the Santo Nino
de Cebu (1521) in the Philippines, and recent ones
such as the Holy Infant of Good Health
(from Mexico, 1939), and the Divino Nińo
(from Colombia, 1940's).
We saw the palaces, learned some of the history,
the politics and power that ruled the country dating
back centuries. Famous names were mentioned- Kepler,
Kafka, composers like Beethoven who spent time in
Prague, the place where Franz Schubert stayed and who
can forget the prodigy Mozart. Add to this the monarchs
that ruled the country.
It was actually too much to sink in. Amid the
old architecture- it is surprising to see the
famous Dancing House. This actually is a modern
day structure, a tribute to Fred Astaire and
Ginger Rogers. I thought- go figure.
Other points of interest are the Astronomical clock,
which I can not do justice to in this article.
The Charles Bridge.
The Charles Bridge over
the river Vltava is definitely
one of the most beautiful
places in Prague. It is the
oldest bridge in the city, built
between the 14th and 15th century,
it spans the river with 16 pillars.
It is lined with statues and lamps and this scenery together with the
Gothic bridge towers on both ends makes the Charles Bridge
a breathtaking historical monument.
: Charles Bridge (courtesy of Prague.CS)
Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. had the Charles Bridge built there
in the 14th century. He laid down the foundation stone on 9 th of July 1357,
at 5:31 a.m. It is no coincidence: this date was carefully chosen, because
it makes an interesting numerical scale.
When it is written in the chronology the year – the day –
the month – the time, it makes a scale, going upwards and
then downwards: 1 3 5 7 9 7 5 3 1. It is not the only
one “magical” circumstance of building the Charles Bridge.
You can see all of them in a movie, screened in
the Old Town Bridge Tower. There is no better place in Prague
for a walk in the evening
A night out at the Cloud Nine Bar of the Hilton Prague
was truly energizing. We sat around with our rounds of
our favorite drinks and pleasant company. C'est la vie.
Tess- I got you Prague
We can learn a lot about a country's culture through its cuisine- the presentation,
taste, general environment of a restaurant and service.
In North America, we take for granted that glass of water waiting for us
as we sit down in most restaurants.
Well- in the three countries we visited- water must be
a rare and precious commodity. You have to order water,
sparkling or distilled and it is not free.
The Bohemian performers really put on an act of medieval dance and music. They
were in the Town Square all afternoon to the delight of the crowds.
This man was " levitating"- if you
can believe that!