3rd May 2009 - Prague
Prague - Day Three
Had an ok noghts sleep and up at 0830 although again we said earlier and I was the first one up. Had cornflakes for brekkie again and the ventured out.
Walked acroos Charles Bridge and made our way up the hill to Prague Castle. Prague Castle was the residence of the early kings and St Vitus Cathedral is the spiritual centre of PragueAfter some discussion decided not to buy the ticket to go inside the actual buildings and decided that if we thought we needed to go in after looking around the outside then we would go back. Took our photos next to the guards at the entrance gates - all joking for the rest of the day that my guard was trying to find me after his shift finished. they are supposed to stare ahead and not fix their eyes on anyone and the others reckoned he looked at me - a studly man at that and I wouldnt have said no (well maybe I would). They have a ritual changing of the guard on the hour every hour. Walked through into the third courtard and St Vitus cathedral rose in front of us - am amazing sight. Then saw that a line was already forming for the opening of the cathedral so decided to join it - free to go in. Near the beginning of the line there was the most glorious singing - perhaps the best I have ever heard - a group of guys singing acappella 'Closer to thee' - in another language. Honestly it was angelic. They got a huge round of applause and sang a few more songs. It made the waiting so much better. The line was extremely long and an entire tour group of about 20 people pushed in next to their guide who was waiting in line - the wrath of all behind followed but they did not move. As the line started moving forward other people tried to come in off the side and were shamed into going to the back. The inside was pretty good and I was out quite quickly and found a seat to wait for the others. St Vitus Cathedral started being built in 1344 by Charles 1 but wasnt finished until 1929. The chapels on the sides hold the remains of some of Prague's earliest rulers. Wencelas was buried here - in the christmas carol he was a king but in reality he was only a Prince who was killed by his power hungary brother and then was immortalised by the masses as a saint.
Then decided to have our picnic lunch and walked for ages to find a piece of grass to sit on. Had a lovely lunch of sandwiches and crisps and muffins. Then back o walk through the Castle and back down the hill. Another glorious day today - in fact slightly too hot by now.
Walked over the Manusev bridge and took photos of Charles Bridge. the plan had been to go to the Jewish Museum and surrounds as according to the guidebook it was the second most important place to go to in Prague. However it became an intense discussion as to whether we would do it - I think in part because of the entrance fee which was only 12 pounds and we paid far more at Easter to go into things. i was reasonably keen but said if the others didnt then I wouldnt. After starting to walk away then they all decided they would and were all rather pleased they did. Our ticket got us into about 7 different sights in the Jewish quarter - synagogues and the cemetery and the museum. The cemetery dates back to the 15th century. Prague had one of central Europes biggest Jewish communities and there was a small area that was the centre of Jewish life from about the 13th century. During all this time the jews were restricted from living outside the ghetto area but it was all relatively peaceful. In the 19th century the Jews won the right to live anywhere and many left the ghetto area. world war Two had a devastating impact on the Jews here - tens of thousands were deported and murdered in concentration camps leving behind a small community of a few thousand. Evidently the Nazis planned to build a museum here of the extinct race of Jews The first place was a synagogue here the names of all the Czech Jews who died in the war were written on the walls - there are 77,297 Czech Jews who dies in concentration camps - very sobering. Then into the cemetery which is crammed with 12000 tombstones in a very small area of ground higglety pigglety everywhere - some fallen. There are about 12-15 layers of bodies. The last grave dates from 1787. So pleased i went here - my first look at what the Jews went through in Eastern Europe.
Then we decided to go to the Choco cafe around the street from our apartment. We never expected it would be the best hot chocolates ever - literally melted chocolate with abit of other liquid to make it drinkable with cream on top and some of us with a dash of Baileys - pure heaven.
Back to the apartment and then back out for dinner - again a not so good choice for me - a rather average pizza. Then a few drinks back in the apartment and to bed.
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