Prague, Czech Republic

The story of our trip to Prague which almost didn't happen!

Background story:
I was left alone in Broome, Western Australia in September of this year because John's time had run out on his working visa and he had to leave the country immediately. It was decided that he would go back to wait for me in London while I stayed to pack up our life in Broome, sell our vehicles and sort out everything related to moving. Our leaving came as a big shock to both of us because we had been waiting over 9 months for our residency visa to come through and had thought it would be granted before we ran out of time on our current visas. This did not happen and we were left having to pack and move. So, because of all the stress and pressure put on to my shoulders John surprised me with a holiday in Prague when I arrived in London..

October 12, 2009

The morning came and we packed a small bag and got ready to leave for the airport to check-in for our flight for Prague which was leaving later that afternoon. J went online to check the booking and realised that he had mistakenly booked one-way return tickets from Prague back to England and not a flight to get to Prague! So basically we didn't have a flight to catch!! After spending an hour on the phone with the airline carrier, trying unsuccessfully to change our flight, we sat down and decided what we would do.. We chose to book another night at the Park Inn in Hyde Park and pay for flights to Prague for the following day. It would only allow us one full day and two 1/2 days in the city but since we already had return flights we thought it would be a fun trip regardless. This actually turned out well, because we were able to relax in London for another day and ended up spending the afternoon in Chelsea.

October 13

Finally on our way! We flew EasyJet and arrived in Prague at 4pm. The weather was in one word COLD!!! but after we checked into the hotel we bundled up and went out to do some exploring. We walked to the iconic Charles bridge which dates back from the 14th century, and is Prague's most celebrated structure. Unfortunately construction was taking place so one side of the bridge was covered in white tarps, but we were still able to walk across. After that we meandered slowly through the winding alleys of Old Town until we reached the square. The view from the middle of the square was unbelievable! The sun was setting and the light was beautiful. I will forever remember how it looked as it made me stop and stare in awe.
Old Town Square

After the sun had set we started looking for a place where we had been recommended to dine, and ended up walking around in circles for an hour and a half until we finally just gave up and walked into the nearest restaurant. Our waiter hardly spoke english but it ended up being a charming place and a jazz band played in the corner while we ate. A common staple in Czech food is sauerkraut and potato and bread dumplings. I preferred the potato dumplings over the bread. yum! After dinner we walked back to the Charles Bridge and went up into a tower that overlooked the river. It was about 12 flights of stairs till we reached the top! The photo below shows the Prague Castle in the distance.

October 14
This was our only full day to explore Prague so I made sure we were out of the hotel by 10 am. Not a very early start but early enough :) We started our day by walking back through Old Town Square and taking an elevator up to the top of the Astronomical Tower for panoramic views of the city. It was windy at the top but definitely worth the trip up. Next tourist stop was The Old Jewish Cemetery where we stood in line only to find out, when we reached the front, that they didn't take credit cards. After what seemed likes ages we finally found an atm machine and went back to purchase our entrance tickets.

Jewish Cemetery

It has been estimated that there are approximately 12,000 tombstones presently visible and there may be as many as 100,000 burials in all. When the cemetery ran out of space and purchasing extra land was impossible, more layers of soil were placed on the existing graves, the old tombstones taken out and placed upon the new layer of soil. This explains why the tombstones in the cemetery are placed so closely to each other and has resulted in the cemetery having 12 layers of graves! It was a very thought provoking tour and we both left feeling somber.

After the Jewish Cemetery we crossed to the other side of the Charles bridge to view the Prague Castle. John and I shot bows and arrows up in the archery tower and I was a better shot! This was a very action-packed day as we tried to see as much as we could before it got dark. We were able to tour St. Vitus Cathedral and the Jewish museum and walked through Wenceslas Square. Next time I think we'll take more time to explore bars and restaurants and take it a little bit easier. We ended up finding an amazing place to eat when we stumbled in through a door thinking it was something else. The food was tasty and the room was cozy with a lit fire and big candlesticks placed on the wooden tables.

October 15
We left Prague this morning and as our driver took us to the airport it started to snow! This was an incredibly romantic trip and I am such a lucky girl! Prague is a beautiful place & we will definitely want to visit again in the future and spend a bit more time here.

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