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On the Road in Czech

overcast 69 °F

Time to leave Prague, Dieter would be outside the hotel near 11am. We had breakfast that the hotel served: toast, meat, cheese, tomatoes and coffee. From breakfast we finished packing then went out to the square to buy some chocolates, macaroons and a cappuccino. We met Dieter, threw our things into the back of the car and were off. IMG_20140713_101941_440.jpg

On the way Dieter suggested that we go to a summer palace in Pilsen and we agreed. When we got to Pilsen it was lunch time so of course we had to eat first. We found a little pub and popped in, the weather was becoming fierce outside; wind, and very dark skies. IMG_20140713_134041_010.jpg

What a wonderful surprise; the restaurant served gluten free food, nearly everything on the menu could be made gluten free. This had been a problem in Prague, there were very few selections so this was so very welcome. I had a meal called Tavern Potatoes; consisting of fried potato slices, a cream sauce with ham and broccoli over the potatoes. Everyone agreed that this was the best dish of all and I certainly thought it was too. The warm food was a contrast to the storm outside.

From lunch we found the summer castle. Skies had cleared so it was perfect timing. The castle was closed for the day but the gardens were quite beautiful. We wandered about for some time before heading down the path for some Hungarian Coffee, a coffee with egg liquor.

Time to get back to Amberg and watch the world cup.

Posted by Miss Chris 02:05 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged food travel driving europe czech pilsen Comments (0)

Last Day in Prague

sunny 75 °F

Our last full day in Prague, our concert at the Estates in the evening.

We agreed to meet up with Dieter and Inge at 1 or so, it gave us time to tour the castle area. We walked up the steep hill, the Kings Way fighting the tourists who were taking way too long.

The castle area consists of government buildings, St Vitus Cathedral, the Royal Palace, a walk down the Golden Lane where the workers lived, a walkway inside the castle wall and finally the tower.

At the top we entered thru the gate into courtyard 1, then 2 then 3. We sat down in the shade to consult the map and found the tour we wanted to take. A family ticket for the basic tour served us perfectly, following the arrows and reading the signs. Several times we just went up some stairs out of curiosity and found a place of interest.

The tower is a place one really wouldn’t want to be sent to. It is grim!, one can only imagine the emotions the prisoners had when being led into this area. The virtual tour is online: https://www.hrad.cz/en/prague-castle/virtual-tour/index.shtml

We met Dieter and Inge, not where we’d arranged but actually in the bathroom at the Lobkowicz Palace, just next to the castle. Since it was time for a late lunch we found a restaurant on a terrace overlooking the city.

After lunch we wanted to pick up some champagne and chocolates to take out to the bridge after the concert. We left Dieter and Inge at a little café we like, overlooking the Charles Bridge and the castle. We picked up our supplies and went to the room to change for the concert.

As we were leaving our room I checked the tickets, just to make sure everything was in order. OMG, I about had a heart attack, the concert was to start at 17:00 or 5pm, and it was nearly 6pm. I quickly got online to the Estates Theater site and it said 5pm. I was sick, 5 very good seats unused.

Dale ran to get Dieter and Inge while Elias and I walked quickly to the Estates, each of us thinking of what we should have done. We got to the theater in record time, no one was around. I noticed signs for the concert starting at 8pm. We went up to the desk set up in the doorway and I showed them the tickets. The guy said “Oh that was our mistake, it starts at 8pm”. http://www.estatestheatre.cz/

We found Dale approaching with Dieter and Inge, I put my hands in front of my face but couldn’t conceal the fact that everything was actually ok.
For this concert there was no assigned seating, only assigned sections; first come, first seated. I got in line, the 2nd person. The lady in front of me had a different section so I rushed in, to the hall with the boxes finding the 1st 2 boxes for the 5 of us. The boxes have gold leaf, plush blue upholstery. We were quite the royalty.

The concert was fun, several arias by Mozart including the Magic Flutie. This time accompanied by wind instruments. A nice comparison to the string instruments at the Mozart Dinner/Concert in Salzburg.IMG_20140711_175953_416.jpgIMG_201407..031_117__1_.jpgIMG_20140710_223302_606.jpg

For our last night in Prague we went out to the Charles Bridge, as we did 3 years ago, drank champagne and ate chocolates. There were lots more people this time, but it was still beautiful.

Posted by Miss Chris 04:01 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged food travel concert czech mozart estates_theater Comments (0)

Stormy Day in Prague

storm 70 °F

It was forecast to rain so we wore our rain jackets. It was cool, about 65F so we all wore our warm clothes.

The 1st stop with the Music Museum, Narodni Museum.
http://www.praguewelcome.cz/srv/www/en/objects/detail.x;jsessionid=BDE23680CCCBA045EDD8C1745CCA32AC?id=44873 The museum consists of rooms of instruments mostly made in Prague: quarter tone pianos, upright grand pianos, organs of all types, glass harmonicas, horns of every type imaginable, violins, double violins, if it was made then it was in this museum. There were also a station in each room where one could hear the music as played on that instrument.

From the museum we stopped at a little outdoor café for lunch, wine and beer. From this advantage we saw families with dressed up children heading up the hill for a baptism, couples in bridal clothes going to get married, tourists from every country, city residents out to shop.

After a lengthy lunch we walked across the street to visit a private garden built into the hillside. There are 3 main terraces with hedges, flowers and fountains. From the top balcony one can see over the city.

We went on to the trolley to take us up to the top of the hill. I rode the trolley with Dieter and Inge while Dale and Elias walked up the footpath to the top. Dale and Elias were waiting for us, the line was long and we had to purchase tickets. Elias was off exploring.

We thought we‘d get a beer or coffee at the little outside bar at the top but then saw that the sky was black over the city. The servers told us to go inside as they would close in the next 10minutes due to the storm. We barely got inside when the winds started blowing and rain started pouring down.

Elias came running down from the Eiffel Tower (a small replica) and we all settled into our table. The storm blew in; thunder, lightning, wind and rain. We drank Irish coffee and watched the storm.
The storm passed and we went on down the hill ready to attend the street celebration of the French Revolution. It reminded me of our farmers markets with about 3 rows of canapes set up. All of the vendors were from France with meats, cheeses and wines. We had tastes of several wines and then bought a couple of bottles, one to take home and lay. One bottle we purchased from the wine maker as he advised us after tasting. He invited to his winery in France and we are thinking that a wine tasting trip to Europe just might be in our future.
Back to the café Salvia for dinner. Then a nighttime stroll out to the bridge. On the way back to our room we bought macaroons for a treat.

Posted by Miss Chris 13:35 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged walking travel museum czech coffee Comments (0)

Last Concerts in Prague

Our last concerts for this trip

IMG_5218.jpgDieter had to return to work after leaving Salzburg until noon today and then he and Inge were going to head our way so we anticipated an early evening rendezvous somewhere near the Charles Bridge around 6pm

Just in front of our hotel is a square named Kafka after Franz Kafka, an influential writer from the early 1900’s. This square is very small but nevertheless it is a square, maybe the size of the lot of our home. Next to the square is the St. Nicholas Church built in 1735 and it is one corner of the Old Town Square.

We decided several things yesterday: 1. We’d take Dieter & Inge to a concert tonight 2. We’d introduce Dieter and Inge to champagne and chocolates on the Charles Bridge and 3. We’d visit the Lobkowicz Palace nIMG_5024.jpgext to the castle area and attend the 1pm concert in one of the palace rooms.

Yesterday we saw a poster at the St. Nicholas Church for a concert tonight at 8 so we thought that it would be a good on to attend with Dieter and Inge.

We headed over the bridge and walked up the narrow walk up to the Palace. We got there a little early so decided to have a cappuccino in the courtyard while waiting for the line to start.

The palace was built early in the 16th century and inherited soon after by the Lobkowicz family. The family holdings consist of about 4 castles but at one time were about 10. Great-Grandpa Lobkowicz was married to a British woman so when the Nazi’s came she was already in the U.K. with the kids. She wrote a letter saying that she was dying and Grandpa got out with the clothes on his back. After the Nazi’s were gone the family returned and got everything back. Then the communists came and took everything again. This time the family came to the U.S.

The current Lobkowicz grew up hearing about castles and carriages. He came to Prague to study when the Velvet Revolution took place and he was able to recover nearly all of the lost property. He and his family care for everything today.

The concert lasted 1 hour and consisted of 3 musicians; violin, flute and piano, playing various popular pieces. Some of the pieces really worked for the 3 of them while some were not so great. Nevertheless we enjoyed being in an interesting Palace for some music.

After the concert we first ate some lunch on the balcony overlooking the old city then took the audio tour which turned out much more fascinating than we had imagined. We were primarily interested in the collection of music from Beethoven and instruments but ended up looking at all of the portraits, dishes, and other collections.

We’d finally finished with the castle when Dieter sent a text; they were getting on the trolley so we got down the hill arriving about the same time Dieter and Inge got off the trolley.
Inge and Dieter were dressed for the concert so we all walked back to our hotel, buying champagne and chocolates for later, although they did not understand what we planned to do. A little street food to hold us over in the square then into the concert.

There was a large group already gathered so we got into the pack for seats. No one was sitting on the seats placed in the center so we went to get those when I saw that the folding chairs in the very front row were not taken. I quickly went to the front and signaled the rest to follow so we ended up with the best seats in the house.

The concert was a string orchestra playing various pieces including Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. Now when we entered the sky was cloudy but that was it. During the Mozart we saw thru the stained glass windows behind the orchestra, a bright light flash then the thunder hit. The orchestra was thrown off briefly; it was funny to watch the reaction as we could see each lightening flash and knew that the thunder would sound.

What an ending to our trip.

Posted by Miss Chris 22:48 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague travel music tourist czech concerts Comments (0)

One Last Day in Prague

Goodbye from Prague, I'm wishing for good luck to come back.

Oh, our last day in Prague and really Europe, as tomorrow we will be riding the trains all day to Brussels.

I wanted to shoot a couple of photos of the Estates Theater and just look at it again. We’d arranged to meet Dieter and Inge at the base of the bridge so we left a little early to see the Estates on our way across the bridge.

We met up with Dieter and Inge and none of us really had an agenda for the day. We were walking along the river, something we hadn’t done before, looking for coffee when we got close to the train up the Petrin Hill. Since we’d never been on this hill before it seemed like a good idea. At the top of the hill is an observation tower, a small version of the Eiffel Tower that is visible in the old city of Prague. We went to get on the train but the line was really long so we decided to walk. The walk wasn’t really difficult and we got up much more quickly than we would have by train. Once at the top we had our coffee and looked out over the city.

We didn’t want to go up into the tower as again the lines were long; I’d wanted to cross over from the tower to the castle so we took the trails across the hills, crossing the old apple orchards and forests to the castle.

Once at the castle we wanted to show Dieter and Inge one more thing, a natural sound chamber discovered many years after the castle was built. Someone, when building the castle, built a small amphitheater, about 15’ across with stairs on the back half and a small pedestal in the center. The front looks to a small plaza. If you stand on the small pedestal and look to the back there are several rows of trees running from the amphitheater to the back of the area. Standing on the very center of the pedestal, if you speak the sound will come back but only to the speaker. Anyone around the speaker cannot hear the echo. The echo actually hurts some people’s ears while others are not bothered at all. The sensation is very strange.

From the castle we walked down to a park, where we parted ways for a few minutes, we’d meet again at a restaurant at the bottom of the bridge for dinner.

I shot some photos then went to find our 1st or 2nd choice meeting place for dinner when I heard a commotion. I ran following people who started running and ran to the stairs at the south of the bridge. There were hundreds of people dressed as zombies, moaning and groaning, yelling and screaming, walking up to and onto the bridge. I’d already read on Facebook that it was predicted that zombies were going to take over the world, so here it was happening in Prague, of all places!

Things settled down and we all met for dinner, at least our world didn’t come to an end. After dinner Dieter and Inge decided to return to their place so we parted ways on the center of the Charles Bridge, touching the statue for the luck that we will meet again.

Dale and I started back to our side when the sun, that was getting low in the sky, broke out turning the buildings golden. We just enjoyed our last moments on the bridge then bought some last chocolates and sat in the darkened square eating our chocolates and drinking some Czech red wine.

Until next time, Goodbye from Prague.

Posted by Miss Chris 21:50 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises prague travel czech old_town_square Comments (0)

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