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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 the afternoon.

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 later removed. 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. Numerology : 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 Fun Time

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

Prague cuisine 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. Other sights: 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!