A week on from my last blog and I’m still suffering from my cold-like virus, which is generally leaving me wiped out. Last night I propped myself up in bed to stop the coughing and this morning woke with a stiff shoulder…roll on next week as I’m hoping a dose of some sun and sea will shift these ruddy germs and heal me.
I’ve been looking into a feasible way to travel cheaper, it’s something I live for but on a student budget quite difficult. I think if were a couple of decades younger then I really would just put everything into storage and backpack the world, but alas at nearly 50, this is becoming less of an option. Further research into cheap and free travel is a must!
Anyway, back to Prague and my remaining two days in the Czech capital. Day three and I decided to explore Wenceslas Square, on the instruction that it shouldn’t be missed. Oh, how disappointed I was – there was a great statue of Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia but apart from that, there was simply traffic, shops & pollution, oh and a lot of trams!
After consulting my now somewhat worn map, I decided that it would walk to the Castle at Vyšehrad and visit the cemetery – established in 1869, the Vyšehrad cemetery (Vyšehradský hřbitov) is the final resting place of many composers, artists, sculptors, writers, and those from the world of science and politics. Now, I should know by now that my map reading skills leave a lot to the imagination and what looks like a very short distance, inevitably turns out to be a full-on hike! Needless to say, I got lost, had to get directions at least twice and at one point ended up in a slight dubious area and witnessed a man weeing up a wall. However, it was all worth the frustration of covering those several extra miles and I saw parts of Prague that most would never experience, and hey, I know a great automobile repair centre 😉
The cemetery was eerily quiet and very beautiful, not crowded at all and made me feel quite emotional, especially at the sight of several of the graves, the centrepiece being the Slavin tomb designed by Antonin Wiehl. I’m a classical music lover, have been since I was a little girl and to be in the presence of both Smetana and Dvorak’s headstones brought me to tears. After I ventured into the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, a neo-Gothic church, founded in 1070-1080 by the Czech King Vratislav II – so stunning and very peaceful.
By now, I was beginning to flag somewhat, and decided to take a walk back along the river – always the best of navigational points and see the ‘dancing house’. I stopped off at Estrella restaurant (www.estrellarestaurant.cz/en/) for some very late lunch (great food but rubbish service as I had caught them at the end of the lunch service & they were more preoccupied with their own food than mine), but the artichoke risotto was quite divine all the same. I walked right by the dancing house but realised just in time to catch a shot of it – again a bit of a disappointment, maybe I was just expecting too much of a static dwelling 😉
After a long day, I hate to admit but I all I really wanted was an early night (- a sure sign that I’m getting old) and some cake. I managed to find an incredible raw food eatery – MyRaw Cafe (www.myraw.cz/) and was served by two of the most lovely Chinese girls, who were presumably working their way around Europe and who fell in love with my accent – think quite well-spoken, south of England. They were delighted because they could understand everything I said (& so was I!). I simply was amazed by the array of raw food delights on offer, a sight for sore eyes and ended up with ‘dort’ x2 – a slice of ‘milkshake’ and a slice of banana/caramel type cheesecakes and both were 100% vegan. I also grabbed a Treldnik from a street vendor, a pastry of yeast dough, wrapped around a cylinder, rolled in cinnamon sugar and then baked over an open flame. Cake and pastry in hand, I headed back for a sugar feast and then bed.
Day four and my final day in Prague started with a breakfast fill-up at the hotel and then I headed towards the Jewish Quarter in Prague, known as Josefov. Located between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River, its torrid history dates from the 13th century when the Jewish people were ordered to vacate their disparate homes and settle in one are which became known as the Prague Jewish Ghetto. It’s beautiful, filled with very poignant history and a must see! I got a ticket costing 330Kc, which allowed access to six areas including four synagogues, the Ceremonial Hall and the Old Jewish Cemetery (to visit the Old-New Synagogue was extra).
The first photo is of the Hebrew clock on the top of the Old Town Hall, just below the regular clock, it has numbers in Hebrew and runs backwards.
Check out was at midday, so I rushed back to the hotel and grabbed my suitcase before a painless navigation via the AE bus back to the airport terminal, only to be faced with an hour’s delay, but it gave me a chance to catch my breath. Prague is truly wonderful, all you’d expect from a historical capital and so much more besides.