Monday, Day 7 – Prague (Czech Republic)

I can’t believe we are getting on another bus so soon but here we are at 5:45 a.m., gluttons for punishment to head to Prague. We arrive at 2 p.m. To our Panorama Hotel, a four-star here in the Czech Rep. But not in the U.S. Our carpet is worn, we have twin beds that are also quite used and in order to get the electricity and AC to work, we have to place our room key card in a slot by our door! The bathroom is decent, the room is clean and our breakfast is a full blown buffet, definitely a bonus. Everything else costs extra: aka to use the pool and fitness room so we don’t use them! At 4, we go into Old Town for a walking tour, or should I say sprint? Our guide gives the tour in German – duh – so John and I take up positions at the rear while he snaps photos and I try to follow along with the street map! We are such a pair – can’t even keep up with the white-hairs, who are looking as tired and confused as we are! Aside from the eccentricities of our tour, the streets are like a movie set of architectural dreams with buildings designed in Gothic, Baroque, Rococco, Renaissance and NeoClassical styles – every one is like a flower in an architectural garden. I am attracted to the tall ornate Baroque buildings in colors of pink, yellow, green, coral and baby blue. Their third story statues of smiling maidens invite us to linger in the Square just to admire them from below.
I can go on in great detail about our four days here, but the highlights for me were the dinner cruise on the Vltava (Moldove) River that runs 31 KM through Prague with 18 bridges. The buffet probably tasted better than it was because we were so hungry and tired but the ride down river offered us a comfortable breeze and incredible views of the bridges, buildings, churches, and royal palace. My other memorable activity was Tuesday night when John and I mastered the subway in Czech to attend an evening performance of Mozart’s Opera, Don Giovanni, performed with tall marionettes at the National Theatre. Mozart composed this opera at a friend’s home in Prague and it premiered here in 1787, a definite source of pride to these people and their Golden City. Talk about cultural confusion! Here we are in a Czech city, after learning a bit of German to get by (which nobody can understand), using Kroner after we just left the Forint in Hungary and barely knowing what Euro equals for dollars, watching a puppet opera performed in Italian! It’s wonderful!
We are off to Salzburg Saturday, then to Neuschwanstein Castle Sunday before returning to American soil July 4th.

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