August 3 2009: 20,000 steps in Prague


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With a full day in Prague, we took a look at our map and decided on a few destinations. We had a great breakfast and made sandwiches to take with us (though I don’t think we were supposed to). The first place we wanted to visit was the museum that we missed out on the day before:

It turns out that admission was indeed free, but I had to pay for a sticker to use my camera (~$5 I think). We had no idea what to expect in this museum, so we were surprised to see the largest rock and mineral exhibit I could imagine. There were well over a hundred of display cases just like this:

I took quite a few photos here (many more in the gallery below), and as we were walking around I was zooming in on the photos to check and make sure they were sharp. As I was zooming in on a particular image, I noticed something shockingly familiar and went back and took another photo:

Yep, Nickel from Sudbury in a museum in the Czech Republic. I shouldn’t be surprised, as I’m told that Sudbury has some of the purest Nickel deposits in the world. Seeing this excited me, and also made me a little homesick. Desi commented that she thought the minerals were beautiful, and I would certainly agree. Many of the samples they had on display sparkled and shimmered with naturally complex geometry.

We continued to walk around the museum, and discovered enormous animal exhibits – hundreds (in some cases maybe in the thousands) of species of birds, reptiles, mammals, etc. Here is one small corner of the bird exhibit:

Most of the animals represented here looked like they were once living and now are stuffed specimens. They also had a wonderful human history exhibit with artifacts from the beginning of civilization up to a few hundred years ago. A few musical instruments, too!

After we had our fill of the museum I gave my camera sticker to another visitor that was just entering, and headed off to see the city. We wanted to visit the Prague Castle, so we hopped on the metro and got off at the closest station. “Close” probably isn’t the best word, it was still quite distant so we simply started walking in that general direction hoping we would get there eventually. The streets on the way there looked something like this:

many of the streets were lined with gift and souvenir stores, and we took the time to visit a number of them looking for gifts. In hindsight it might have been smarter to wait until the end of the day to buy things, but it didn’t matter – we were still having fun.

We happened across a church at random in a small intersection, so we headed inside and were presented with this outstanding architecture:

We spent some time here admiring the details, and even ventured upstairs – one of the only churches we were allowed to do this. We noticed a few interesting things, including graffiti dating back to the early 1800s carved into the woodwork, and the amazingly beautiful organ:

We continued our climb, higher and higher as we looked for interesting things. It turns out we were a little off course, but we were rewarded for our adventure with this view:

We sat at a restaurant and took in the sights for a bit, and I ordered a beer to continue the series (this time it was Pilsner Urquell). There were wildflowers around which had attracted a number of bees to our table so we didn’t stay long. Before we left, we made sure to commemorate our exhaustive hike with a portrait:

How with the giant cathedral at Prague Castle back in our sights, we headed in the proper direction. As we approached the castle grounds, we noticed some ornamental guards standing near entrance ways. Take a look at that bayonet on his rifle, definitely intimidating!

We finally arrived at St. Vitus Cathedral, one of the most visible landmarks in Prague. The inside of the church was simply massive, easily one of the largest we had seen:

After a quick rest here admiring the stained glass artwork, we decided that the walk home would likely take the rest of our energy and began heading back to our hostel. While trying to find our way out of the castle grounds, we made a few wrong turns and found a beautiful garden walkway with a great view of the city:

We finally found our way, and headed back along the same path we had climbed. We used some of the exchange places along the way, and when I did the math it was clear that at some point we had been ripped off. Not by much, but enough to be upsetting. However, the exchange place was uphill in the opposite direction so we decided to cut our loses and keep heading forward.

By the time we took the metro back to our hostel, we had just enough time for dinner and headed to rest as the sun was setting. One of the most tiring days in our journey, and one of the most memorable.

Comments

  1. Diane and Walter Enns
    December 6th, 2009 | 7:17 pm

    Hi Don and Desi

    Once a again a fantastic read of your day’s adventure. Good thinking to make sandwiches to go even if you weren’t suppose to. Such remarkable cathedrals and stained glass window. Don once again a beautiful photo of you and Desi…what a nice collection to have. Quite impressive to see that nickel from Sudbury made it into the minerals collection at the museum.

    My favorite photos are the Amethyst, pink flower near the restaurant followed by all the stained glass windows and the street photo taken from the window of your hostel.

    Love Mom and Walter

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