Prague 2005
Prague was the first of our "honeymoon" trips - we have 4 holidays, 3 small and one big, planned for 2005 to celebrate tying the knot. We arrived on Good Friday evening so having checked in at the K&K Hotel Felix (very nice), we took our cameras for a night time walk to photograph the Castle, Charles Bridge (Karlov Most), Old Town Square etc.
While wandering around the Old Town Square, we were handed a leaflet for a concert so we thought ... we both like classical music so why not. This concert was in the Church of St Nicholas and the alto soloist was wonderful (as was the rest of the orchestra).
Having viewed the castle from afar Saturday seemed a good day to go and visit it.
We decided to walk and took the scenic route, crossing over Jiraskuv Bridge ...
... and tramping up (and up and up) through various gardens to the castle area. It was a bit early for any flowers ... plenty of green though.
As you can see the trees are fairly upright on the picture which gives a good idea how steep it was. Thankfully the climb up was on a zigzag path so not too bad.
We gradually got nearer to the castle but even here it was still quite a way to go!
Walking up gave us plenty of opportunity to see the town from above with the pretty colours and interesting roof shapes.
We didn't have enough time to explore the Strahov Monastery in detail so only "visited" that from the outside.
All the streets have red labels. Thankfully our map had the Czech names whereas the guidebooks tend to have the English translations - not much help when you're trying to find your way around but good when you get there!
The Loreto was another building/complex we could only see from the outside which was a shame as it looked really interesting.
Having reached the top it was time to eat - the shows at dinner time were the soldiers coming back from the castle and just generally gazing around at the wonderful buildings.
Finally we entered the castle grounds and headed straight for St Vitus Cathedral.
The inside was pretty good to look at too ...
... and the stained glass was spectacular and made the climb worthwhile all on its own.
The other building we spent a bit of time in was St George's Basilica
and finally a real skeleton in a box!
We left the skeleton behind and wandered about in the castle grounds for a while
Finally we strolled down Golden Lane ...
... and out to the Royal Gardens. Again, not many flowers as too early in the season but a nice calm area to wander about in.
Eventually we left the castle area and ambled down into town. We had a glimpse of the Charles Bridge from the other side.
The afternoon sun was wonderful on the buildings at the side of the river ...
... and the sunset wasn't bad either.
By now we had caught the concert bug (there are loads to choose from in Prague and, if the ones we saw were a typical example, the musicianship is superb).
Today's concert was in the Marble Hall. It was like a big sitting room, very intimate with the musicians close enough to see their finger movements clearly. The soloist at this concert was a violinist and, again, he was wonderful.

Sunday took us off to the Jewish area - it was packed! Still very interesting and we followed the walk in our guide book (just like real tourists!) but didn't go into any of the synagogues etc. as they were simply too busy.
The ladder up the wall of the Old-New Synagogue looked extremely precarious and not one that we would like to climb!
There was an area of Cubist architecture
There were also some Christian churches in this quarter - this one is the Church of St. Simon and St. Jude.
There was even a convent - St. Agnes's.
One of the most eye catching buildings in the area was the Jewish Town Hall with its wonderful clock.
Having wandered around that area we took ourselves off to the Old Town Square so we could see it in daylight.
The Old Town Hall has an astrological clock that does strange things at the hour so we stood and watched that do its stuff. Death (the skeleton) starts it all off then the doors open and the disciples move around etc.
From there it was a short stroll to the Charles Bridge (with everybody else!) ...
... and over the other side to the Little Quarter where we found another Church of St Nicholas.
It was all lovely but the most spectacular part of the church was the artwork on the ceilings.
Our treat for this evening was a Dvorak concert played by the Dvorak Concert Orchestra in the Municipal Hall. This, for me, was the highlight of the holiday. A wonderful setting with stunning performances from the orchestra and the solo cellist
As you can see, pretty on the inside and the outside was spectacular too.
Monday and our last day so we didn't venture too far from the hotel. However, we did find some flowers as we ambled down to the Botanic Gardens. Their snowdrops were out and the crocuses just coming out so they're about 4 weeks later than us.
The star of the show here was the greenhouse area with tropical and sub-tropical areas together with a cactus house.

From there we wandered off to see the Church of St Cyril & St Methodius. Unfortunately, as it was Monday, it was shut. This church sheltered some of the Czech resistance who then took their own lives rather than surrender to the Germans. The bullet holes in the walls (see pic below) were from the siege.
Just opposite this church was a lovely cafe so we spent a while in there. Jonathon asked for their recommendation of a typical Czech cake - it was apparently lovely but rich!
A final look around Wenceslas Square (close to where we were staying) and a final goodbye.
The plaque on the right commemorates those who lost their lives to Communism.

Our overall impressions were that Prague would have been even more beautiful had it not had quite so many girly clubs, gambling places and stag party type venues. However, we didn't feel threatened at all.

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The Prague people were lovely and friendly, the cafes and restaurants were great, nothing was rushed and it was a good place to relax and wander, stopping for "coffee and cake" at regular intervals.