Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Photos from Prague

We may have hit the part of the trip where I just take lots of pictures.  There isn't much to say here -- just some awesome stuff.

We started this morning by going up to Prague Castle, which is (allegedly) the largest castle (in Europe or the world, I forget) but only if you're counting the gardens as well.  Still, it's big.  Here's one of the guards in front of it (and one of the buildings).

Most impressive building inside the castle is the cathedral, a gothic number named for St. Vitus.  Here are exterior and interior.  It's something like the third-largest gothic cathedral in Europe.  Whatever.  It's gorgeous.

As we walked through it, our guide explained a lot of the history of Prague -- religion played a big part in the history, and we were able to learn about the place through the stained-glass windows, the saints honored there, and the rulers who claimed the place (and built, or didn't build, parts of the cathedral).  To the extent I have anything even remotely profound to say about today, it's this:  in the course of walking us through the cathedral and telling us the history of Prague, our guide noted that, during World War II, the Germans had plans for Prague in that (based on certain historical facts), the Germans had a claim that Prague was a German city.  Of course, Hitler also wanted to exterminate all the Jews and deport all the native Czechs.  And when our guide told us this, and mentioned Hitler's name, I sorta got squicked out, because this is a house of God, and it just felt wrong to mention his name in there.

Also in the castle was this long hall used for jousting.  Indoors.  (Mom always said, don't knock someone off his horse in the house.)

The castle, being up on a hill (like all good castles) had a nice view of the city.

Then we went to a monastery, home to some Norbertine monks and (rather more importantly) home to a really beautiful (and quite old) library.  You've got two rooms, the theological and philosophical.  They look like this:

Any book would be proud to be in either of these rooms, but the walnut walls of the latter just can't be done justice with a photograph.  But I tried:
That's about it.

(Then, we went and spent money.  I bought some Bohemian paper.  Because I am a geek.)

I have an Architectural Tour tomorrow -- gotta make sure there's still room on my SD card.  That's the last day of the tour itself.  We've got one extra day in Prague, and I'm on my own for that one, so am trying to find something to do -- I've largely overdosed on beautiful things to look at (and certainly will have after tomorrow) as well as Jewish history, so I asked the hotel concierge to find me something different -- maybe something a little active.  Apparently "active" is the magic word; he immediately brought out the brochure with 16 tours/activities ranging from tandem skydiving to playing a round of golf.  It's a bit complicated because there's only one of me, and most of these tours won't take just a solo traveller (without an additional 100% single supplement), so I'm at the mercy of whatever other travellers in Prague sign up for.  I'm currently confirmed for a nice horseback ride through Bohemian countryside in the morning and, er, they'll let me know tomorrow whether I can go shoot an AK-47 in the afternoon.  :)

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