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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bohemian Rhapsody Part II-Prague

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On our second day, we woke up early to a very tasty breakfast at our Hotel. The reviews were right-the breakfast was delicious. Egg omelette, sausages and various cheese filled my stomach. After that we then went to Jana Masaryka Tram stop to ride tram no 22 that would take us to Prague Castle. I have read that the best way to go to Prague Castle was to go all the way to the top at Pohorelec. Unfortunately, my sister mixed up our IT and we were left arguing where to stop. It's a good thing I was sure that "hrad"means castle and I remembered the stop Prazky Hrad as another alternative while I couldn't remember Pohorelec.

Getting ready- our charming room for 4 at the Garni Hotel Machova

Our first time to ride a tram.

Outside the Castle Walls

While we dropped off at Prazky Hrad, you are actually entering the castle on the side. We were early so we saw the changing of the guards. Once inside the castle compound-I was in awe. It is my first time to see a castle. Okay-so when you say castle doesn't really mean it's just one building. Prague Castle is a big compound with buildings, castles and cathedrals within it. When we came in we bought the ticket (number 2). The problem with DIY is that you do not have a guide who would point out stuff and say something about it. We just went into the motion and followed people-if you are lucky you'd probably find an english-speaking tour and follow them around.

Changing of the guards.

Entering the Castle Grounds and seeing St Vitus for the first time

Our first stop is the famous St. Vitus Catherdral. I have seen cathedrals here in the Philippines-a lot are impressive like the ones in Ilocos. St Vitus was beautiful but what sets it apart from the Cathedrals I have seen in the Philippines are the sculptures inside. The czechs are really skilled in sculpting. Every detail on each sculpture looked refined and sharp. I was thankful to have a telephoto lens with me to capture the details of these sculptures.

Gargoyles-they said that the Devil is scared of his own reflection so Gargoyles are guarding the facade to ward of the devil. They also serve as water spouts.

The vaulted ceiling was impressive but it kinda reminds me of the Manila Cathedral. The nave was beautifully decorated.This is the cathedral where kings were crowned. A lot of myths associated with this Cathedral-I learned the next day at our Ghost Walking Tour.

After the Cathedral, we went on to see the castle. There were three portraits in one room and picture-taking was not allowed. As a history buff, I managed to identify Empress Maria Theresa as one of the portraits. She was the mother of Marie Antoinette, the infamous queen of France. The Hapsburg ruled Bohemia for centuries.

St George's Basilica

the remains of St. Ludmila-the saint which the cathedral near our hotel was dedicated to.

After that we went on to Golden Lane. Of all the attractions at the Prague Castle-this was the one I was really wanting to go to. Golden Lane is a small narrow alley within the Castle walls were the soldier and smiths used to live and also Franz Kafka. It is also connected to Dalibor Tower. 

The thing is, I''m currently reading the All Souls Trilogy books by Deborah Harkness and also managed to finish The City of Dark Magic and it's sequel The City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte (a pseudonym). If you happen to read this books-this will add up to your fascination with the city and of course boost your historical knowledge thought bought series are fictions. These books deal with Alchemy and the mystery surrounding it. Going inside Dalibor Tower, you'd see the the alchemical room though I'm not sure if this was where the infamous Edward Kelley once worked. Go check out the books if you're into finding out more about he philosopher's stone and are into witches and vampires.

One of the things I allotted some of my pocked money for is to buy a puppet. It was always my plan. It is the ultimate souvenir I can have from this trip. Puppetry was a way of telling a story in olden times and the Czechs were masters in the art. So as you can see, there is an abundance of  puppet shops around the old town but if you must buy-it is wise to wait and look at other shops like I did to get the best offer.

Curiosities-souvenirs. I regret not buying one of those bookclips especially that I a big bookworm.

Puppets/Marionettes Everywhere. There's so many to choose from. I ended up buying at a shop in the old town where I bought a discounted Marionette and the shopkeeper gave me an additional percent off. I ended up buying a Marionette with a porcelain head, hands and feet and thankful that although the left hand sustained a crack the rest survived the journey intact. 

I saw a witch decoration when we where on the way home from mall. The shopkeeper who was asian also, was ready to give me free batteries. This kind of witch cackles and flies around with a sensor. My mother got mad and forbade me to buy it. The storekeeper laughed while I ended up just buying a french beret.

Czech arts- they decorate eggs-as in real breakable eggs.

It rained and while the rain fell, we waited it out at a cafe nearby. We ate some panini and cake.

Walk through Golden Lane and Dalibor Tower

It was raining when we made our way down the castle.The next place I wanted to visit inside the castle was the the Toy Museum. I wanted to see their Barbie Collection. I was kinda disappointed as I have thought the collection would make me see rare barbies but only a few interesting dolls (for those who knew about barbies) was there.

Filipinos around the world- while at the grocery store looking for chocolates as "pasalubong"a Filipina heard us and helped us. We were choosing cheap chocolates with flashy/elaborate packaging but then she was able to tell us which chocolate tastes the best-MILKA! Very thankful to have met her and she is right, the chocolates are delicious. She helped us choose which among the food stops at the foodcourt serves good food.

Making our way back to town, we went on to shop at the biggest mall in Prague-The Palladium. It was a bit of a work going there as google maps can be quite limited in giving you directions. It took us another day to realize that the mall is walkable from Wenceslaus Square. It is located near the Powder Tower and can't be missed.