A Quick Czech Adventure - May 2005

05.09.05 Miami.
Our adventure began about 24 hours before we were due to fly to the Czech Republic. I called to verify our reservations and was alarmed to hear that not only was our flight had been cancelled but so had been our reservations. A few calls later and we were wait listed for a flight that was seven hours earlier than our original one.

05.10-11.05 Travelling to Prague.
Eventually, everything worked out and we were onboard Air France to Paris. We had a six hour layover in Paris so we went into the city and visited the Pantheon, Notre Dame and had lunch. We arrived in Prague around 5:30 pm and took the airport shuttle to the town centre where we caught a tram to go to the pension that was booked for us.
Upon arriving at the pension, we found out that we did not have a reservation as the agency had never confirmed our booking request. A few phone calls and an hour later we were on our way back to the town center to stay at the Hotel Triska.

This hotel was more fun than if we had stayed in the pension in the suburbs. For one, the beds creaked. All told, we were lucky to get a place to stay as it is a busy time with the beginning of the music season which starts May 12th -- the anniversary of Smetana's death.
05.12.05 We had the usual breakfast of lunchmeats and cheese. Walked to the National Musuem to Wenceslav's square -- a big commercial district. From there we went to the old town square to look at the crowds.
Lots and lots of tourists

Had lunch at the cafe by the famous astronomical clock which every hour has a "show" where the death figure turns over its hourglass and the top two windows slide open so folks can see the 12 apostles. Tourists groups stand around for almost an hour waiting for the next show.

Death and the Turk (representing Lust)

The Sun is in Taurus and the Moon is in Gemini
More clock figurines.
The country is noted for its fine crystal.

Amber and Garnet Jewelry. Note graffiti on the left -- there's quite a bit of "personal expression" going on in Prague.

Silhouette cutter on the square

Many buildings have mythological or allegorical figures "supporting" their balconies and windows.

Of course, there's always modernization.

Still, there's plenty of old stuff to see in Prague.

Took a walk across Charles Bridge where vendors are selling their goods.

There was a decent Jazz band.

On the hill is the Hradcany Castle complex and St. Vitus' Cathedral which had interesting gargoyles and a wonderful stained glass window done by Alfons Mucha. (no photography allowed).

We stopped at a compact disc store and got directions to a local restaurant. I had trout and Earl got beef with potato and bread dumplings. We then went to a string sextet concert at the National Museum.
05.13.05 Prague.
We sleep in. Took the metro to Vyschrad Park which is the old citadel above the Vltava River where the legendary Celtic Princess Libuse had a vision of a great city being founded in the valley. The National Cemetery is also here.
After lunch we went to the Prague Zoo, where there was a wonderful exhibit on fruit bats and other small animals. We decide against going to another concert and instead go to bed at 7pm.

05.14.05 Travelling to Brno.
Up early to get to the bus station to catch the bus to Brno where Earl's stamp show is being held. Unfortunately, the first three buses to Brno are full so we had to wait two hours. Upon arriving at Brno there seemed to be no way to get to the Park Hotel. No public transportation seemed apparent and no one speaks english. An official helped us by phoning a taxi. Our accommodations at The Park Hotel are very fancy. The Park Hotel is two mansions connected with a passageway. We meet up with our friends and go to the Stamp Festival Party. Entertainment consisted of the theatre orchestra, a moravian folk band, ballet dancers, and vocalists. There were two dinners -- the early one being chicken and the later one a goulash. We stayed until midnight.

05.15.05 Brno.
The Park Hotel gave a cooked-to-order breakfast so we got crepes (policinti) and an omelet. Earl's off to the stamp show so I go into the city to do some sightseeing. Walk up to the Spilberk Castle -- the alcatraz of the Hapsburg Empire. The Castles harbors a nice city museum and art gallery along with the dungeons. Afterwards, I walk down to the city centre which is pretty deserted as it is Sunday and none of the shops are open. I take the tram back to the hotel and we meet our friends for dinner in the hotel. Earl ate rabbit while I had pike.

View of Brno from the Castle window.
Another view from the Castle. The Church of St. Peter and Paul is on the right with the twin spires.

Figures above the entrance to city hall. The story is that the designer wasn't paid his asking price, so he deliberately bent the center piece on the doorway to the city hall.

The Brno "Dragon" -- an alligator given to the city in 1608

A wheel representing industriousness hangs on city hall. The story is that a carpenter wagered that he could chop down a tree, fashion it into a wheel and roll it the 40 kilometers to Brno all in a single day.
This restaurant opens at 7 pm.
Beer is very important

An interesting trompe l'oiel
Church of St. Peter and Paul.
Friends leaving Park Hotel on the way to Telc.
Click here to continue to Telc