To complete our busy April travel schedule we popped over to Prague, Czech Republic, on Friday, April 30th for a three day stay. We had heard amazing things about Prague (being very pretty, relatively inexpensive, great beer, etc.) and were really excited to check it out for ourselves.
Known as the city of a thousand spires, we arrived in Prague late on Friday night and got to bed for our early tour of the Stare Mestro (Old Town) on Saturday morning. The tour started in the old town square at the famous astronomical clock, the Kinsky Palace, The Church of Our Lady before Tyn, and St. Nicholas Church. Our guide did his best to narrate the Prague history associated with this public square and its status amongst medieval Bohemia, the Roman Empire, the Nazi, and the Communists.
From there we headed to the Estates' Theater where Mozart famously premiered Don Giovanni in 1787. The city still takes great pride in that fact, and visitors can still catch shows at several theaters around town. Afterward we visited Wenceslas Square and learned more about the Communist occupation of Prague. From the square you can see the expansive National Museum, where several student protesters martyred themselves in the 1960's against the Communist regime. Today, the Czech's treat these students as national heroes, and their memorials were definitely worth a visit.
Next, we swung by the Powder Tower (old fortification that used to hold all the gun powder) on our way to the Jewish district. Here we stopped to learn about the Czech Jews and their fates during WWII, before heading over to the famous Charles Bridge and a beautiful view of the Prague Castle.
From here Shea and I took the opportunity to walk over the Charles Bridge to the New Town, located at the foot of the Prague Castle. We had some afternoon snacks and enjoyed our first taste of the some local beers. We decided to take another tour for the Castle and New Town on Sunday, so we headed back to the Old Town to inspect some sights more closely. We toured some of the churches and wandered through the quaint streets and learned about a 20 year Independence celebration concert that night. We decided to attend after some local specialties for dinner, which included goulash for me and Shea with some wild game...both of which were really good. We then headed over to the concert and partied with the Prague-ians.
On Sunday, we headed back to the Astronomical Clock tower and watched the centuries old top of the hour trumpeting. We then headed to the top to get a view of the city from up above...and were treated to a spot to take some really great pics.
Next we headed over to our New Town tour where we were shown the world's largest medieval castle that has ruled over Prague since the 9th century. We visited the palace just a few weeks after Barack was here to sign the nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia. We went to the Strahov monastery and brewery, where both Shea and I agree we had maybe the best beer ever...too bad that is the only place you can get it. We were shown the "garden of eden", the Black Tower, Mozart's house, and lots of other interesting spots.
From there we headed back to collect our belongings and then headed on to the airport.
We really did enjoy our weekend in Prague and would rate it toward the top of the list of the trips we've taken. The people, the scenery, the history, the food, and the beer (and the prices!) add up to one great trip.