Hi everyone! Almost catching up!
As I mentioned before, our hostel here in Prague is far from the center of town. You HAVE to take public transportation to get anywhere unless you want to walk around forever before even getting to the sights. The hostel is aware of this and sells public transportation tickets. They even have monthly tickets that they rent out to you for however long you want. So Sam and I got a couple of these and can now ride the tram, metro, or bus without any problem!
We got up fairly early to try to avoid the crowds at Prague Castle. According to everything we'd read and what everyone had told us, this place gets jam packed with tourists groups, so we wanted to go as early as possible to avoid them. After breakfast, which you have to pay for at this hostel, we took the tram. It left us right at the top of the hill, so we didn't even have to climb anything.
We got there a little later than we would have liked so there were plenty of tourists and huge tourist groups around, but we tried our best to avoid them. You can buy a ticket for a long tour or a short tour. We chose the long tour and bought the audio guide as well.
First up was St. Vitus Cathedral. It is huge. An immense Gothic monster. Really intimidating from the outside and breathtaking from the inside. I can't even guess at how high those Gothic ceilings and arches reach. But it's amazing. And thanks to our audio guides we were able to learn about all the crypts and altars and paintings and decorations inside. Lots of local saints and kings are buried there, including St. Wenceslas and St. Ludmilla, who I now know everything about. The audio guide was really informative, if a bit overwhelming at times.
After the cathedral, which was chock full of Spanish, Japanese, Italian, etc. tourists, we climbed the bell tower. The view of the Old Town is great and we took nice pictures there. We climbed back down and headed over to the Old Royal Palace where we saw nice Gothic rooms where everything from coronations to markets were held. We also saw the Basilica of St. George, a Romanesque church, and a very nice collection of 19th century art in Bohemia. I really liked the collection they had. Some of those paintings were incredible. Finally, we quickly saw an exhibit about the History of Prague Castle. Sadly, by that time we were completely exhausted, so we rushed through it.
As we left the castle, we popped into a section of the Royal Gardens. Then, we headed off to lunch. We went to a very nice place that one of the hostel workers had recommended to us. Of course, we had traditional Czech food. And, if you're in the Czech Republic, then you have to do like the locals and enjoy some fine pivo (beer). Yum!.... although, I did like the Hungarian dumplings better.
After lunch, we were feeling a bit refreshed and walked over to a very nice park. Along the way, we did a bit of wandering through the lovely streets of Prague. I have to say, the city is beautiful. It's got great architecture and nice little streets where you can lose yourself. The people are another story. They're not as friendly as in other cities. And they just give a general impression that is not welcoming.
The park itself is up on a hill, so we had to climb a bit. It was nice and relaxing up there, but walking all over that castle complex and wandering the streets had made us very, very tired. So, we called it a day and took the tram back to the hostel.
This is an edit done by Sam...
Brenda forgot to mention that after the castle we walked around an area of Prague called Little Town. Believe it or not Prague was once actually all different cities that have now been put together. There's the castle town, little town, old town and new town (not very new actually) . Well in little town we passed by The Church of Infant of Prague (this part is entirely for you Aileen) we did not get to see the garments collection because it was quite late and it was closed by the time we noticed it. We did get to talk to a Carmelite Priest who even blessed us, so that was cool. He was from India but actually spoke English and Spanish very well.
We did see the Infant of Prague dressed in a very nice outfit and lots of pilgrims who came to pay him a visit. (for all my friends from San Juan Bosco please tell Jose that I couldn't buy him the rosary of divine mercy because i couldn't find it but i bought him one of the Infant of Prague)
Well that was my edit, stay tuned for more on Prague or Praha as it's called here.