Sunday morning we all squished back into the car and went to church. Afterwards, we squished back in to the car and drove to Prague (there's been a lot of squishing but I always sit in the front and Chopper always drives!). Prague is quickly becoming another favorite city and I love the hotel we stay at. This time our suite was another three bedroom with a balcony and it was awesome! We checked in, had an amazing dinner, and then walked down to the Charles Bridge to take in some sights with a few less people. It was a holiday weekend and busy although I think the summer season for tourists in Europe has definitely started!!
More street magicians.
The view from the balcony of our hotel!
My parents wanted to go to Prague castle and there were some things up there that we hadn't seen the last time so we went with them up the hill and then split up when we were there.
The kids found a potato bug while we were waiting for Chopper and my dad to get their tickets and it was great because it's free entertainment for my kids. So I'm standing off to the side watching them to make sure they don't get in the way when the weirdest thing happened.
This Asian guy crouches down behind the kids and the woman is saying "hello hello" trying to get them to look up (they don't), while another guy takes their picture! So I've heard of this happening before from other people, especially when a kids is super blond like William is but it happened twice again while we were in Prague. It was weird. But I didn't step in -- I don't think it was necessarily a bad or dangerous thing -- maybe more of a touristy thing? Abby says she's going to be famous in Asia. She might be right.
We walked around the cathedral again and enjoyed it.
Around the back we found some gargoyles we hadn't seen before -- a lobster on the left and a frog on the right. They're hard to see in the picture but they were fun. However, gargoyles are a lot more fun when it's raining and they look like they're throwing up!
Since we had seen most of the castle before we went to the art gallery and the treasury. The art gallery had some works by some famous artists (that honestly I'm not really aware of, I just know recognize the name) and the treasury was full of amazing reliquaries containing pieces of a lot of different saints -- teeth, bone, fabrics, Chopper said he saw one that said it was a woman's breast. It wasn't too gruesome although it's still not a practice I quite understand but they were quite the treasures!
Then it was a search for food -- no hard to do when their are sausages everywhere and you know a great gingerbread shop down the street!!!
We then walked down to the Wallenstein Palace with the gardens in the middle. The palace is used for the Czech Senate but you can wander the gardens freely and they are beautiful with ponds and fountains and birds and statuary.
This was part of the Sala Terrena -- the terrace or porch!
The artificial stalactite grotto
We got yelled at for being on the grass right after this picture. No translation needed!
We met up with my parents back by our hotel and walked through St. Nicholas Church. This Baroque beauty was built in the early 1700s and was amazingly ornate.
There's a flight of stairs leading up to the balcony level. Not only did it have great views into the church (and outside), but it also had a series of paintings depicting the Passion of Christ that were beautiful. I don't usually like those paintings -- they can be gory or sometimes older paintings are just weird -- but these portrayed Christ so peacefully and beautifully. I could see some of them hanging in our temples because of the way he was portrayed.
Abby's second cookie. Jeff's rabbit ears. After the church we went on the search for food. Finding food that the kids will eat is always a chore. They don't necessarily go for chicken nuggets and pizza, but they do like simpler things and that can be hard. We ended up at a great place though with fries for William, tuna fish for Abby, and a Greek salad for Megan. They were all happy. And the feta cheese and kalamata olives were amazing. We talked to the manager and he said they were from Albania because Italy is becoming too Americanized by Albania still has good quality. I believe it's true!! Lots of people go to Italy expecting amazing food and it's just ok. Anyway, this was fabulous!
After lunch the kids were pretty much wiped out. Chopper took them back to the hotel and I walked with Jeff and my parents down to the Jewish Quarter. Prague has a very old Jewish population and the oldest synagogue in Europe. We walked through several including the Pinska Synagogue. After WWII they began to inscribe the names of those Jews taken on the walls. It was stopped when the Communists took over and the synagogue was closed down but then redone and finished when the wall fell in 1989. There are around 80,000 names on these walls and a voiceover reads them aloud interspersed with various prayers. It was a really sad but beautiful memorial.
In Prague, the Jews had one place where they were allowed to bury their dead. Because they believe that you shouldn't move bodies after they are buried, they just kept burying on top of each other. Now the Jewish Cemetery is a mound rising above street level with the headstones all crazy. It's a beautiful place really.
After that we went back to the hotel and Chopper and I took the kids for an ice cream dinner. They got gelato from Amarino's where they make it look like a flower and put a macaroon in the middle. They were all good but one of Megan's flavors was lemon basil and that was really good! I didn't have one because I had gotten a Czech pastry called a Trdelnk earlier -- dough wrapped around a stick and then cooked over a fire and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Mine was filled with ice cream. We spent one more night in the hotel and then drove the next morning to Karlovy Vary.