astronomical

Good morning, friends!  The adventures continue…

First up, I would like to share with you all our weak attempt to be American on the 4th of July this year.  We have been rebelling against all US fast food chains over here, given that they aren’t that great and we can get them to our heart’s content when we return home.   (ok – we did visit Chipotle in Paris…that doesn’t really count.)  We decided that the 4th of July was the perfect time to give into this “American” tradition……

I had initially been thinking fried chicken from KFC, you know – picnic style.  For some reason though, we decided to do a marathon of various fast food chains, getting a few bites at each…eating too much food is part of the holiday, right?! 🙂  After our stops at KFC, Burger King, and McDonalds…I can conclude the following: 1. they definitely don’t have the fast food process down over here, and 2. my body was very confused after a year of not eating that junk.  I think I’ll give it at least another year.

Anyway, on to the real excitement.  Last Friday, we flew to Prague where we met BC’s sister, Andrea, and brother-in-law, Jamie.  They had been on a week long journey around Italy prior to meeting us.  Unfortunately, we got in pretty late on Friday, so we didn’t get to do much that day.  But check out our hotel, highly recommend it – ICON Hotel:

Might I say, Prague was BEAUTIFUL!  I think it was one of my favorite cities visited thus far, because the architecture was absolutely gorgeous.  After a nice complementary breakfast at the hotel, we made our way to the Prague Astronomical Clock, the 3rd oldest medieval astronomical clock in the world, and the oldest one still working.  The clock has three main parts: the astronomical dial, showing the position of the sun and moon, a calendar dial which shows the months, and then a hourly clock.  We watched the little show at the top of the hour, which wasn’t quite as exciting as it might sound.  The clock is on the edge of the Old Town Square, which was a nice open square with some food vendors and street performers out in full force!  We stopped to soak it in.

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Then we made our way across the Vltava River, stopping to admire the view from the bridge.

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We started weaving our way upward, headed towards the Prague Castle.  But first, we stopped for a treat: the Trdlo or Trdelnik.  Apparently this tasty pastry is traditionally from Hungary, but has been gaining popularity in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.  It was definitely popular with our group!

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A little more climbing after that, and we stopped for a Czech brew and a little snack.  Luckily, we had found a nice place under an umbrella, because we got a few showers while we were stopped.

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Only a little further upward, and we had reached the Prague Castle.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this is the biggest ancient castle in the world.  The ‘castle’ contains a large cathedral, a basilica, a monastery, several palaces, gardens and towers.  The views from the castle were stunning!

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After a nice stroll through the castle area and through the cathedral, we descended to the Charles Bridge, to cross back over the river.  The Charles Bridge was completed early in the 15th century, and it was the only means of crossing the river until 1841, so it was an extremely important bridge.  The bridge was lined by statues, painters, vendors, and many tourists.

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Back near Old Town, we naturally stopped for more snacks.  For some, gelato or a beer.  For me, an espresso with ice cream!!  Awesome.  Then we did some souvenir shopping on some of the side streets of Old Town.  There were shops selling Bohemian Crystal, so we had to do some browsing and even some purchasing!  Then we headed back to the hotel to refresh before dinner.

For dinner, we had gotten a recommendation for a casual place serving Czech cuisine and good beers.  I should mention that this friend works for Coors, who is affiliated with the Czech beer Staropramen, so it was no surprise that he recommended a Staropramen restaurant.  But it didn’t disappoint.  We sat in the small, non-smoking section (a rare find in Prague), but apparently we were the only non-smokers dinning there.  We enjoyed some tasty Czech food, including goulash for BC, beef stew for me, and svickova for Jamie.  The beef was definitely better than in the NL.

Goulash

Goulash & bread dumplings

Beef Stew

Beef Stew

We headed back towards the river to catch a glimpse of the setting sun  over the castle.  After a few shots, we headed back towards Old Town and then to the hotel for a night cap.

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This is where we got our keepsakes!

This is where we got our keepsakes!

We had some time to kill on Sunday before our flight back to Amsterdam in the late afternoon, so we headed out to continue our sightseeing in Prague.  First up, the Dancing House.  This crazy looking building was completed in 1996, and is controversial due to the modern design (significantly different from the older styles Prague is known for).  Also, FYI – the building was funded by a Dutch insurance company…  It was really interesting to see in person!

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We casually strolled through the streets of Prague, across the bridge again, through a park, stopped for lunch and then one last trdelnik before we departed from the beautiful city of Prague!

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We had a blast in Prague with such great company!  We were blessed with amazing weather for the trip too.  The adventures with Andrea and Jamie continued back in Nederland, so I will be back soon with more details!

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND!

Until next time,
-MK-

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