Bohemia

Karlin-Prague, February 28 – Melanie arrived on Friday managing to get checked-in and to find a bank where she could exchange some money. That day, work ended around 1730 so everyone could say their goodbyes. Steve prepared to leave for Germany, while John prepared for the flight back to the U.S. Meanwhile, Melanie and I dined at the Krystal restaurant, with French food and Moravian white wine. We made a brief excursion to the Old Town that night.

Saturday, March 1 – We breakfasted late and did not get started until well after 0900. We walked to Old Town, stopping at several shops and taking photos along the way. According to at least two of the Czechs we met, March 1st was the first day of spring. Melanie was please with that notion. We looked all over Old Town. While there we also went up into the clock tower to see the view, even being present for the clock striking the hour and the trumpeter playing the fanfare. We crossed the Charles Bridge, and just made it to the castle before turning back.

While in Old Town we had purchased tickets to a concert in the clementinum. So we had to hurry back to catch the show…Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and other classics by a string quartet with organ.

After the concert, we managed to scrape together enough change to purchase 24 hour metro tickets, and rode the underground back to our neighborhood.

Sunday, March 2 – We were up earlier and on the train to Wenceslas Square before 9, photographing the National Museum and the statue of St. Wenceslas before catching another tram to Old Town. After exploring Old Town, the Mala Strana and the castle, we dined at a pricey Czech restaurant on traditional food. After crossing back over Charles bridge we diverted South to see the National Theater and a park on an island in the river. Then it was time to head back. We took the Number 3 tram back to the hotel.


Mala Strana (Lesser Town) and Prague Castle – On the other side of Charles Bridge is the Mala Strana, or Lesser Town. As old as Old Town, it is full of historic buildings, shops, restaurants and pubs. The route grew increasingly steeper as we made our way to the castle.

New Town (Nove Strana) – New town was established in the 14th century by Charles IV, just east of the Old Town fortifications. So most of the Old Town walls were dismantled and the moats filled-in. The Powder Tower is one of the few remnants of those fortifications.  One of the places I wanted to see was Wenceslas Square, where the demonstrations occurred that precipitated the 1989 Velvet Revolution. On the way there and back, Melanie and I visited a few other sites not on the ordinary tourist route.

Vaclav Havel Airport (PRA), March 3, 2014 – We departed Prague on-schedule in perfect flying weather. The weather report from home, however,  was not as good. There was heavy snowfall in the DC suburbs. Fortunately, the flight from Amsterdam was still on schedule. When we arrived at Washington-Dulles (IAD) we had to dig the car out a snow, but it was less onerous than the line through customs.