Prague, September 9-11, 2005

We went to Prague, which is the capital of the Czech Republic, the weekend September 9-11, 2005. Prague held quite a few memories for us, as we went there in May 1985, it was the trip we got engaged. Actually I don’t remember very much of that excursion… The country belonged to the Czechoslovak Republic back then, after the breakdown of the communist system, the country split up into the Czech and the Slovak Republic.

We arrived Friday early afternoon, and almost got lost in the city. Although we had an up-to-date travel guide, the maps didn’t show the one-way-streets! It took a while until we found our way to the hotel. The hotel was a surprise of its own. It wasn’t just a room, it was a complete apartment in an old house just a short way south of the Prague Castle. There wasn’t a separate room for breakfast, we had to call the reception and they brought it directly to our room.

After a short break we took our cameras and headed downtown. We crossed a bridge over the Vltava river and explored the Old Town. So much had changed – I was astonished to say the least. Restaurants and shops everywhere, a pulsating life where literally nothing much had been 20 years ago. What I didn’t expect, was the masses of tourists. I mean, I did expect tourists, but not that many, that we couldn’t really walk down the narrow lanes, we were shoved! The most famous spot in Old Town is the Charles Bridge (Karluv most), with two impressive towers on each side. We climbed up on one, having a great view over the city. On the bridge are “flying merchants”, selling pictures, photographs, artsy stuff and jewelry. You have a wonderful view down the river from there.

The next day we took the tram up to the Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world. Again – hundreds of tourists! We visited the St Vitus Cathedral, climbed up the cathedral’s tower, saw the riding hall, St.George's Basilica and visited the Golden Alley. In the afternoon we did a short boat ride on the River Vltava – it was nice to escape the crowds for an hour! We then walked again through the Old Town until we found a restaurant close to the river.

On Sunday we visited the Strahov Monastery, then walked down to the Jewish Quarter, which is right beside the Old Town. What I didn’t know was that the Prague International Marathon took place that day, we also watched a couple of runners arriving. Early afternoon we took the subway back to where we had parked the car and drove home. It was a wonderful weekend with so many wonderful impressions.