Easter holiday, part III: Praha

Good afternoon! I am quite a happy panda right now, as I submitted my final paper for the semester yesterday.  I still have loads of revising to do, but I am taking a bit of a break to…write more?!  Yep, that’s accurate.  But I am so excited to share more photos of my travels with you, so I will continue where I left off!

The next leg of our holiday travels was an overnight bus–yes, the second in as many days–from Paris to Prague.  This bus was through a company called Student Agency.  We dozed off and on through the evening and into the night; it was fun hearing all of the announcements in three languages.  I think the worst part of the trip, though, was arriving in Prague almost an hour earlier than scheduled.  So instead of arriving around 6.30 AM, we arrived at 5.40 AM at a rather ugly bus station.  I won’t speak for Scott, but I was half asleep, freezing, and hungry; and between the two of us we still spoke few words of Czech.  To be honest, my first impression of the city was not a very positive one.  This was exacerbated by our first adventure in the city.

Our first goal in Prague was to find our way to the train station to store our luggage for the day.  Unfortunately, we had but a faint idea of how to get to the train station.  Using that faint idea, we set off in that direction.  It was still well before 7AM and there were few people on the streets, but we came upon a kindly looking older woman.  She spoke no English but we pointed to the map and asked the name of the train station (pronouncing it as well as we could).  She smiled broadly and started talking excitedly in Czech, pointing the way for us.  We thanked her as best we could and set off again.

After walking for awhile, we spotted in the distance a building that looked like it could possibly be a train station.  We headed toward that, our spirits somewhat lifted.  Upon getting closer, however, I became a bit uneasy.  We crossed the tram tracks and neared an old, pale green building behind what appeared to be an abandoned fairground.  Beside it was the edge of a wooded park which was silent except for the footsteps of a passing runner.  Despite a protestations from me, we started up a long drive around to the building.  As we got closer, we realised for sure that we were in the wrong place.  The green building was the zoo, not the train station.  The entire situation honestly seemed like the opening scene of a horror film, and I was quite glad to be getting back to civilisation!  We stopped to re-consult the map at the nearest tram stop and realised we had veered off at some point in the wrong direction.  Luckily, we found a kind young man who spoke English and pointed us along the right way.

After we finally got our luggage stored and some money converted, we headed up the hill to the Castle and Cathedral.  We got there  before 8 AM, in perfect time to see the changing of the guard at the hour.  We were the only people on the square apart from those working in the Castle and surrounding buildings and the sun was still coming up!

I will tell about the rest of the day in the photographs below as well as in the following blog post.  A few of the photos were taken by Scott.

The sun was still rising as we walked the last bit up the hill to enter the Castle gates. This is looking toward Katedrála St. Víta, or St. Vitus Cathedral.

The sun was still rising as we walked the last bit up the hill to enter the Castle gates. This is looking toward Katedrála St. Víta, or St. Vitus Cathedral.

 

The courtyard of  Pražský hrad, or Prague Castle. It was so peaceful, cold, and beautiful!
The courtyard of Pražský hrad, or Prague Castle. It was so peaceful, cold, and beautiful!
We spent a good bit of time in this area in front of the Castle gates, just taking everything in.  I have seen few sunrises as pretty.

We spent a good bit of time in this area in front of the Castle gates, just taking everything in. I have seen few sunrises as pretty.

 

This is the best photo we got of the flag that flies over the Castle.
This is the best photo we got of the flag that flies over the Castle.
Of course, I had to pose with one of the royal guards!  We later heard one that was off-duty giving directions to some tourists.  Scott and I were trying to imagine how cold they must be, standing there for an hour at a time in literally freezing temperatures.  We were so cold ourselves, and able to move around!  Their noses were quite red by the end of the hour, bless them.

Of course, I had to pose with one of the royal guards! We later heard one that was off-duty giving directions to some tourists. Scott and I were trying to imagine how cold they must be, standing there for an hour at a time in literally freezing temperatures. We were so cold ourselves, and able to move around! Their noses were quite red by the end of the hour, bless them.

Scott and I spent about an hour walking around Castle Hill, admiring the buildings and views and finding so many interesting places along the way.  I couldn’t tell you how many photographs I took, and it was quite difficult deciding which to share.

This was probably my favourite view of Praha the entire day!  I love everything about this picture, from the red roofs and bits of snow to the church steeples and the hills in the distance.

This was probably my favourite view of Praha the entire day! I love everything about this picture, from the red roofs and bits of snow to the church steeples and the hills in the distance.

One of the churches in the area around Castle Hill.  The Czech Republic as a whole is not very religious, but Scott and I enjoyed spending a bit of time in every church we visited praying.  It was an awesome experience!

One of the churches in the area around Castle Hill. The Czech Republic as a whole is not very religious, but Scott and I enjoyed spending a bit of time in every church we visited praying. It was an awesome experience!

 

Vojenský kostel sv. Jana Nepomuckého (military church of St. Jan Nepomuk);  This was a smaller church but quite lovely.  It was early enough that Scott and I were the only ones in there, which was nice.  This is perhaps one of the most peaceful churches I have ever been fortunate enough to spend time in.
Vojenský kostel sv. Jana Nepomuckého (military church of St. Jan Nepomuk);
This was a smaller church but quite lovely. It was early enough that Scott and I were the only ones in there, which was nice. This is perhaps one of the most peaceful churches I have ever been fortunate enough to spend time in.

I think this post is long enough, so look for more photographs in the next post! xx