We headed out for breakfast at 8am today and were amazed to find the streets almost totally empty of people – a complete contrast to yesterday’s afternoon crush. The sun was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect spring day. There was much less foot traffic on Charles Bridge, and it was much easier to get close to the magnificent statues of the saints lining the bridge and admire them. They looked very different in the bright morning light. The bridge is something you mustn’t miss if you are lucky enough to visit Prague.
Though our taxi driver had told us yesterday that we’d need a taxi or the funicular railway to climb the hill to Prague Castle, we decided to walk it. I’m so glad we did, as we handled the hilly cobbled streets quite well and got to see some beautiful architecture along the way. Of course, we weren’t too good at reading the Czech names on our map from the hotel, and the signposts weren’t that helpful either (although I was pleased to see a sign pointing to a Pedagogy Museum – I wonder if any of my colleagues are featured in there), so I stopped to consult Google Maps on my phone. I was very happy to discover we were only 300 metres from the castle, but was flabbergasted to see below the directions the words ‘mostly flat’. If ever I needed proof that you can’t always believe what you see on Google, here was the evidence, because our last 300 metres took us straight up a fairly steep incline all the way! Anyway, I was very pleased to feel my Fitbit buzzing to mark 10,000 steps and it was only 10am.
Prague Castle and its magnificent medieval cathedral dominate the city skyline on this side of the river. I can only imagine how grand and imposing they must have appeared in times gone by. As you approach the front gate, where two motionless guards stand watch, your eyes are drawn to a couple of rather violent statues cresting the gate. One features a figure clubbing an enemy, and the other has a man about to thrust a sword into his foe. A warning, I guess, to all who enter the precinct that they’d better be on their best behaviour.
Beyond that, I’m not even going to attempt to describe the grandeur of the cathedral or the magnificence of the castle. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. I just don’t have the words to do justice to what we saw. But we loved every minute of our visit and it has whetted our appetites for more historic European monuments of a similar scale. We found a table nearby, and sat down to admire the view over a very nice glass of Czech mulled wine. It beats working!
We found a different route back down the hill, passing through a vineyard, and providing more great views of the river and the Old Town on the far side.
I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog post that the person standing beside me at the baggage claim at Prague Airport was the great Sachin Tendulkar, who is probably the finest batsman I’ve watched in my lifetime. He may have made more centuries than me, but I’ll bet I’ve scored more runs off one ball than he has!