Ahoj from The Czech Republic!
Greetings, from our rainy stay here in Prague. We have been enjoying a really beautiful visit in this country and the precipitation did not impact our adventure at all. If anything, our rainy afternoons just added to the gloomy gothic experience. Prague was truly special in that rather than one neighborhood of the city being in the “old style” almost the entire city was built in, and remains designed, with a uniform architectural style. This makes it an exciting place to visit as a tourist. You can spend hours weaving your way down any random street and the character of the city carries through, consistently. It gives the sensation of walking through a movie set. If you, as we did, pair your visit with stops at the forts and apothecary shops, you will feel as if you have been transported back in time.
Prague was our home base for our whole stay here in the Czech Republic and we made the most of it. We explored the multiple different forts on opposite ends of the city. Prague Castle is the tourist “must-see” stop. It looks out over the whole skyline and contains the official royal residences. Our favorite part was inside the St. Vitus Cathedral, specifically the windows. Lining the nave are giant stained-glass windows made up of distinct color themes each done in a different art style. They were some of the most beautiful windows we have seen and the visit up here was worth it just for them. The rest of the fort though, was filled with tourists (ourselves included). Most of the city was for that matter. It is a stunning city to visit, but even in the off-season, and the rain, it was absolutely packed with other site-seers.
Another fort we visited, which surprisingly had only a few tourists, was the Vyšehrad - and it felt like a hidden gem. Of all places, it was their cemetery that we fell in love with. I had never before visited a final resting place that I could describe as beautiful. Each individual grave was a piece of art. They were personalized, with engravings, statues, and stories spelled out over the tombstones. Each grave was raised from the ground with different marbling. The whole cemetery commanded reverence. We were stunned and enjoyed walking around taking in each feature individually. And for any classical music buffs, Antonin Dvorak is buried here, in a carved gray wall with his name in gold and a bust mounted atop the whole thing.
The central feature of Prague is Charles’ Bridge. It made for a pleasant walk across the water surrounded by well-crafted statues that have withstood the test of time (and the weather). They stand as sentinels overlooking the city and protecting it. Since we made sure to see sights on both sides of the Vltava River, we crossed back and forth to take in this beautiful footbridge from all angles. I particularly enjoyed skipping across it in the rain.
While we appreciated seeing the city and riding the train around the country, we were positively giddy about one thing we found here. This item was one which we had not seen before - Chimney Cakes (Trdelník). They are on every street corner and the smell alone will immediately catch your attention. These are cinnamon sugar dough, that is wrapped around a conical pipe and baked. The cone creates a pocket that can be filled with any toppings you would like. Everything sweet was offered including apple pie filling, chocolate, strawberries, and caramel. Shops offer ice cream and whipped cream to stuff on top of this dessert. It is indulgent, decadent, and completely over-the-top. We ate one almost every other night. Delicious.
Prague and the whole of the Czech Republic have been delightful, but alas, our bags are packed. We are on our way to the country with the world's highest minimum wage. Any guesses where we are off to next?