We spent our last day in Prague walking – according to our step counters, we were both in the 12K plus range by the time our day was done. All of this was done on cobblestones! They came in all sizes from really small to really large. Fortunately neither of us took a header which is amazing considering we were doing more looking around than watching where we are going.
We should have upgraded our map before heading out today on our own. The Scenic provided map was fine UNTIL you got off the beaten path. Complicated by all signs being in Czech (what few street signs there are) and a building/house numbering system that uses dual numbers based on distance from the river and I think a count of a facility in the district – just confusing.
Our first walk took us to Wenceslas Square. The square was named for Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia, who was martyred in 935. He was known for his heroic goodness, resulting in his being elevated to sainthood, posthumously declared king. He is the patron saint of the Czech state. He is also the subject of the Christmas Carol we still sing today. Today this boulevard is a lovely mixture of places to eat, hotels, and some shops. It is mostly older architecture though one end of the square was bombed near the end of WWII and then rebuilt. During the Nazi occupation, it was used as a parade ground. The rain picked up so we headed back to the hotel to wait it out.
Later, we went back, entering the Old Town by the Powder Tower. One of the original 13 gates to the Old Town, it dates back to the 1400’s. It.is.huge! Wandering down the streets, we were trying to use church steeples as landmarks. Problem was we picked the wrong church! Oh well, we ended up seeing parts of the Old Town close to Bethlehem Chapel, where Jan Hus, an early reformer of the church, preached in 1521 (he was martyred – burned at the stake in Prague – for heresy – primarily because he dared take on certain customs of the Catholic Church). We walked along the river, back to the Charles Bridge and then up into Old Town Square (from there we were able to follow the crowds). Along the way, though, we meandered through some alleyways and side streets that were loaded with local culture – little cafes, shops, neat architecture, and colorful people.
We reached the Astronomical Clock just prior to the 13:00 chiming. It is interesting and complicated. A skeleton, of all things, pulls the chain to ring the bell. It chimes the hour (for the 24 hour clock). Really cool.
By then, we had done 12,000 steps each for the day and were ready for lunch! We chose Imperial Cafe on the recommendation of Patty and Chris Ethridge and were not disappointed. Service was excellent. Food was traditional and excellent and well presented. Our chocolate imperial dessert (think chocolate sundae on steroids) was amazing. The interior is covered in beautiful ceramics in whites, yellows, and blues.
Yesterday we checked out at 630AM and shortly after headed to Prague’s airport. We had two delayed flights but still managed to make Jackson on time last night. After a 23 hour day, we were ready for a long nap!
Am thankful for this opportunity to experience this part of the world. So much history – the church, the political landscape, people. And I am again reminded of how much I have to be thankful for.
Still choosing joy!