Posted by: digibirder | April 20, 2009

Prague part 1

Well, as I mentioned in my previous post, we had a weekend in Prague for my birthday at the end of March. I’ve been trying to get my photos edited ever since our return, but I took quite a few, and also made a decision to take them in RAW format, which gives more control over the finished image, but it took hours! Days!! I finally discovered a way to batch process them to a basic level and then finish them off in Photoshop as normal, so I whizzed along after that.

Part of the delay is that we’ve also been a bit busy doing some moving of furniture and clearing out at home. We moved the office from the top floor bedroom to the dining room on the ground floor about three years ago. We’ve now decided to move it back to the original location. This involved heaving heavy bookcases up two flights of stairs, not to mention the associated books and files that belong on said shelves! At least it gave us the opportunity for a mass clearout as we were going. A lot of stuff went in the bin and the rest may be car-booted sometime. The dining room now houses the exercise bike, as it make less noise on the solid floor as opposed to where it was in the bedroom – yes, that had to be man- and woman-handled downstairs! Talk about exhausted.

Also, we thought we’d have a trip to York on Easter Sunday, now that Keith no longer has the pin in his toe. So that took time away from the photo-editing task. Anyway, they’re done now.

So, to our break. I’d heard that Prague was a lovely city, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We had a great time, even though the weather could have been a bit better, but we are talking eastern Europe in March – not sunbathing weather, that’s for sure. Our hotel was very nice, but was a bit out of the tourist areas, so that involved a bit of walking or a tram ride, which wasn’t too bad. We stayed in and around the city, so we didn’t really get to see any countryside, and we didn’t get chance for any birdwatching either, but we do intend to go again and stay a bit longer, so we might get to do some further exploring. Therefore, most of the photos are of the interesting architectural styles that the city boasts – a mixture of Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, etc, right up to the stark style of the communist era.

We booked the holiday through Prague Experience, who provided an excellent service. We arrived late on the Friday night, but we had pre-booked a taxi pick-up at the airport, and he was there waiting for us as soon as we walked through the arrival gates. He drove us swiftly to the hotel and it wasn’t long before we decided to get our heads down and get some sleep. It had been a long day.

Saturday was my birthday, so the first job of the day was to open all my cards and presents that we had brought with us. After breakfast (the usual continental style – not really my favourite) we took a steady walk (because Keith still had his pin in his toe) to the meeting point for the city walking tour we’d pre-booked. We thought this would give us an idea of the location of some of the interesting areas so that we could then explore on our own for the remainder of the weekend. The guide was very interesting and took us on quite a long tour, through the interesting and historical parts of the city, over the Charles Bridge, which was absolutely heaving with people. I was hoping to get some good shots of the bridge, but there was some renovation work taking place and about half of it was covered in scaffolding. We  also went up to Prague Castle (taking the steep stairway route) and the incredible St Vitus Cathedral. We did have to cut the walk a bit short, as Keith’s foot was beginning to play up a little, but we had been going for about three and a half hours. There wasn’t much longer to go, but he had to stop and rest. We found somewhere to have a piece of cake and a coffee and had a bit of a rest before catching a tram back to the hotel.

We didn’t have much time to breathe, as we soon had to get ready to head back to the old town again for the dinner buffet river cruise we’d also pre-booked. This turned out to be not quite as we expected, and was, in fact, a bit of a free-for-all once the buffet was opened. It was also pretty dark by this time, so very little could be seen, although some of the buildings did look quite impressive lit up. Not much chance of a photo from a moving boat, though. If we hadn’t been on the walking tour, I think a lunchtime cruise would have been better. And the food wasn’t anything to write home about either. So a hectic first day.

4828

Our hotel

Prague new town

Prague new town

Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square

Decorated building in the Old Town Square

Decorated building in the Old Town Square

Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock

Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Clock

Old Town Hall and the Astronomical Clock

Ornate doorway

Ornate doorway

Astronomical Clock chiming the hour - figures appear in the upper windows

Astronomical Clock chiming the hour - figures appear in the upper windows

Tourist Information Office in Old Town Square - the meeting point for our walking tour

Tourist Information Office in Old Town Square - the meeting point for our walking tour

Amazing fresco on this building - sadly turned into a Hard Rock Café

Amazing fresco on this building - sadly turned into a Hard Rock Café

View from the Charles Bridge

View from the Charles Bridge

The Mala Strana (Lesser Town) end of the Charles Bridge

The Mala Strana (Lesser Town) end of the Charles Bridge

The start of the climb to the castle

The start of the climb to the castle

An interesting back-alleyway

An interesting back-alleyway

Did we really climb all those steps?

Did we really climb all those steps?

Great views from up here!

Great views from up here!

St Wenceslas Chapel - the four walls are decorated with over a thousand semi-precious stones

St Wenceslas Chapel inside St Vitus Cathedral - the four walls are decorated with over a thousand semi-precious stones

A very badly-exposed stained glass window

A very badly-exposed stained glass window

And another

And another

St Vitus Cathedral

St Vitus Cathedral

close-up of fresco on entrance

Close-up of fresco on entrance

Just down from the castle - not sure what this little corner construction was, but the sloping windows intrigued me

Just down from the castle - not sure what this little corner construction was, but the sloping windows intrigued me

St George's Basilica, near the castle - now a concert hall

St George's Basilica, near the castle - now a concert hall

Note in the image above that one of the towers (the one on the left) is longer and thinner than the other. This is quite a common feature on religious buildings in Prague. It depicts male and female. You will also see this in image 5.

From a lookout point at the castle. Some of the finest houses were built under the castle walls

From a lookout point at the castle. Some of the finest houses were built under the castle walls

We had to dodge the Prague half-marathon runners to cross the road!

We had to dodge the Prague half-marathon runners to cross the road!

In need of some TLC!

In need of some TLC!

A street in the Jewish Quarter - Keith bought me a lovely Czech garnet necklace for my birthday from the shop on the right

A street in the Jewish Quarter - Keith bought me a lovely Czech garnet necklace for my birthday from the shop on the right

The Old-New Synagogue - middle 13th century

The Old-New Synagogue - middle 13th century

And so ended our first full day. Arriving back at the hotel following our dinner cruise, we fell into bed to recover for more the next day. We had already put the clocks forward for the time difference between Prague and the UK, but we then had to put them on again for the daylight saving time! So, a long tiring day, and losing an hours sleep on top of that didn’t do us any favours!

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Worth waiting for the photos – rivalling Pete for the churches bit! and the buildings!!

    I was a bit put off going to Prague as I had heard it was full of parties full of wine and beer and getting married the next week – you seem to have missed those parties well done!

    C

  2. Gosh – all that in in the first day – Phew!

    The “little corner construction” is an intriguing building. It looks as though an old building has had a new one built around it. Fascinating though.

  3. lovely pics Di. Love the cathedral!

  4. Sounds like a full day! Those old cities, especially the iron curtain survivors, have a certain austerity about them don’t they? Great pics!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: