Prague Day 3

This morning we visited Prague Castle first.  At the castle we bought the ‘short’ ticket, and hence saw the grounds, St Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, and Golden Lane.  The short ticket cost 250 crowns per person.  The castle was pretty crowded, but still worth seeing.  The cathedral was the best part, and certainly the most beautiful.  It looks so different than the rest of the castle – which is pretty remarkable.
We ate lunch at a restaurant in a courtyard just outside the main entrance to the castle.  Katie had a pancake stuffed with spinach and covered with cheese – a nice light Czech alternative to the heavier meat and dumpling options (which is what JT had…).  It started to rain as we were finishing lunch. The restaurant had a remarkable (30-foot?) expanding awning which they deployed to cover most of the courtyard. Despite the rain, we decided to venture forth anyway.
One interesting note is that beer is often as cheap, or cheaper, than other beverage options like water or soda. In general, it seems Czechs drink beer as if it was water.
After lunch, we visited Saint Nicholas Church in Little Quarter.  The cost to visit this church was 70 crowns per person.  JT thought this was the most beautiful cathedral we had seen so far, and wondered why our Rick Steves guide book barely mentioned it.  We then strolled across the Charles Bridge in the rain to visit the Church of St James.  Although complex with decoration, it was difficult to appreciate its beauty as we were confined to attempting to view everything from a small area at the back of the church. Along the way, we stopped at a crepe cart for a handmade crepe with Nutella – which brought back JT’s memories of Paris with his Mom and Kate. We then visited Tyn Church on Old Town Square, which was over the top with its icons and copious images of Mary.  Additionally, the manned, essentially mandatory donation at the entrance was annoying (if it is going to be mandatory, make an entrance fee!), as were the many signs saying ‘silence’, ‘stay off’ ect. Topping it off, there were literally coin slots built into the middle of the pews, as if you must pay before kneeling/praying! Overall, not a welcoming church to visit.  We then visited the Havelska Market, where we bought strawberries, an apricot, and some little red berries (as well as some trinket “memories”).
To cap off our Prague trip, we took the funicular to the top of Petrin Hill.  Once there, we wandered through a rose garden and then walked up 400 1890s-era metal steps to the top of Petrin Tower – a smaller replica of the Eiffel Tower, built just two years after the Paris version.  We decided to climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, as it was cheaper and we felt it would be a better experience (cost to climb up: 105 crowns for adults, 55 crowns for students).  This climb afforded an awesome view of Prague, which was an excellent way to end our time in Prague.  We took the funicular back down the hill, but were only able to buy one ticket as we had no change (and there were no change machines or nearby stores/restaurants at the top of the hill to provide change).  As luck would have it, this was the one time our tickets would be checked.  JT was detained by the metro workers, while Katie went to an ATM (10 minutes walk away) to obtain the 800 crown fine (we only had around 200 left, since we were leaving the next morning).  We paid the fine and went on our way – but JT was upset because the Czech metro workers had lied to him about multiple things (“no change machines in Prague” although there are some in the main train station, “there was a worker at the top asking people if they needed change” = absolutely false, the Czechs invented robots ????) and had charged him 800 crowns when the fine listed online was only 400 crowns. Also, the metro materials do not mention this fine, but do list the option of buying a 40 crown ticket from the conductor if you did not have change for the machine (a possibility which was refused). To top this off, the “fine” was put straight into the lady’s purse and JT still had to demand his passport back when they tried to shoo us away after paying the “fine”. This put a damper on our Prague memories, but Katie still really enjoyed Prague. Prague was the city she was most excited to see, and it lived up to her expectations.

We finally headed back to the hotel.  Our original plan had been to do laundry at a laundromat that closed at 10pm, but we realized we did not have enough time.  We instead convinced the hotel to let us do our laundry there for 100 crowns, but their dryer was broken.  They gave us a drying rack, but our clothing did not dry overnight.  Hence, we had to visit a laundromat the next morning to dry our clothing.  This caused us to miss our train, so we’ll be arriving in Stadt Weldon 2 hours after we thought, around 1:30pm.
St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle.

Inside St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle.

Pretty stained glass inside St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle.

Very ornate silver tomb inside St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle.

St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle.

View of Charles Bridge and Prague Old Town from Old Royal Palace in Prague Castle.

Katie on the Golden Lane in Prague Castle.

Saint Nicholas Church in Little Quarter.

JT and Katie inside Saint Nicholas Church in Little Quarter.

Saint Nicholas Church in Little Quarter.

Crepe cart, where we ordered a crepe with Nutella.

Kneeling prayer place with built-in coin slot in Tyn Church.

View back towards Prague Castle from Old Town side of the river.

Katie in the rose garden at the top of Petrin Hill.

The rose garden at the top of Petrin Hill.

Petrin Tower – a smaller replica of the Eiffel Tower – located at the top of Petrin Hill.

View of Prague from half-way up Petrin Tower.

Katie with Prague Castle in the background from half-way up Petrin Tower.

 Prague Old Town from the top of Petrin Tower.
Panorama with Prague Old Town and Prague Castle from the top of Petrin Tower.
Panorama with Katie, Prague Old Town, and Prague Castle from half-way up Petrin Tower.

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