For my (Graham’s) 40th Birthday, Anita arranged a surprise weekend break in Prague. Having dropped the kids off with their Aunt and Uncle we took off from Stansted Airport on 14th Jan 2006. We had a great flight and good views out of the window. Although we left a relatively warm snow-free England we soon vegan to see signs of snow below.
We were s little late arriving but Anita had arranged for a limo to take us to our hotel Corinthia a Panorama. We unpacked quickly an headed out to make the most of our two day/one night stay.
Old Town Square
Our first stop was the Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock. We were looking to get on a walking tour of Prague, but since there was an hour before we could book we chose instead to go up the Old Town Hall Tower to get a good view of the square. We got an excellent view of St Nicholas a Church and the Tyn Church as well as the square below.
Just before 1 o’clock we went to view the famous Astronomical Clock. This is on the side of the Town Hall. It is a copy of the original “Orlog” clock built in 1410. The Astronomical Clock is a representation of Mediaeval ideas of the universe – measuring movements of the sun and moon as well as the hour. Every hour, on the hour, the 12 Apostles appear from one of the windows above the clock and move past another window.
It was here just after 1 that we were going to meet our tour guide.
We signed up to go on a walking tour of the city and as it happened we were the only two. Hence we had a personalised tour of Prague.
We wandered through the streets of Prague and since we were the only two we could go at our own pace. Our tour guide brought the city alive, explaining the historical significance of so many buildings.
Many buildings had ornate signs hanging outside. One restaurant was called the “Three Ostriches”, another pharmacy had an ornate snake.
It was very cold, below freezing and we needed thick clothing, hats and scarves to keep warm.
The city of Prague is split by the Vltava River. The two parts of the city are joined by the 520m Charles Bridge (Karlúv Most).
According to Catholic legend St Jan Nepomucy was tossed from the bridge because he didn’t want to betray Queen Zophie, when King Václav IV suspected her extra-marital activities.
We visited his statue which legend says brings good luck to those who touch it. We aren’t convinced by this but it did make it nice and shiny.
Crossing the bridge we were entertained by buskers. We viewed a your boat on the Vltava and decided to do that tomorrow.
Mayor’s Office and Presidential Palace
On the far side of the river we climbed the hill towards the Presidential Palace, passing the Mayor’s Office on route.
St Vitas, St Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral
Near the top is a large cathedral which we entered. It has spectacular gothic architecture inside and out. The beautiful cathedral contains the tombs of many Bohemian Kings.
We then entered onto Golden Lane. This is really interesting part of the Prague Castle Complex. This little street dates back to the 15th Century and is lined by eleven historic houses.
Inside one the houses we found a collection of Mediaeval armour and textiles as well as souvenirs. We noticed how short the armour is compared to the height of Graham.
We stopped off for a hot drink before returning back to town. We had been walking through the town for four hours and had a great time.
Prague at Night
We wandered back through Prague and admired the city by night.
Returning to our hotel we made use of the Executive Lounge which allowed us to have free drinks day or night. We had some aperitifs before heading to the restaurant for typical Czech fare of Pork with Cabbage and Dumplings.
After a suitable rest we finally made use of the roof top pool and sauna.
Following the cloud of yesterday we woke up to sunshine. Therefore we headed back into the city to take some more photos and do a bit of Souvenir shopping.
We worked our way to the Vltava where we joined a River Cruise. As we boarded the boat for our trip down river we were given a very welcome cup of hot wine.
The boat gave us a great view of Prague Castle. It was so cold that there were icicle suspended from the arches of the Charles Bridge and the boat tunnel.
Upside Down Horses and Souvenirs
Leaving the boat we went in search of Prague’s famous Upside Down Horse Scultpture and to do some souvenir shopping. We also went to a stall serving Svarák (Hot Wine) and looked around some stalls selling paintings.
We returned to our hotel for a late lunch at the Piazza and another drink at the executive lounge before travelling back to the airport.
It had been a fabulous 36 hours!