BC: Stacy & Betty
FC: Europe: Prague & London May 2008
1: Prague, Czech Republic Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic London, England
2: After all the planning and researching and worrying...we were finally going. We arrived in Prague on April 30, 2008. And our adventure begins.
4: Our first Czech meal... | Our new home... | (Hawaiian pizza and beer!)
5: And our new Praha neighborhood... Legerova Street in Nove Mesto.
6: Day 1: After "exploring" our new neighborhood aka wandering around lost (couldn't find anywhere to exchange money or to buy metro tickets), we found a tour group that drove us around Prague so that we could see the different sights of the city including the Dancing House (see above).
7: The main focus of the tour was the enormous Prague Castle & St. Vitus Cathedral. It was so big that our tour guide lost us... but a couple panic-stricken moments later we were back following the umbrella.
8: On the grounds of Prague Castle & St. Vitus Cathedral
11: We also enjoyed the sights drinking pivo on a boat floating down the Vltava River. There was Charles Bridge, the Kafka Museum and the Hermes boat which is actually a homeless shelter.
12: A quick glimpse of the Jewish Cemetary and the cool clock at the New Old Synagogue. | We're walking and we're walking... and we're walking through Josefov (Jewish Quarters.)
13: Old Town Square
14: The infamous Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square.
15: A view of the National Museum in Wenceslas Square and our first taste of Czech goulash & dumplings at H.O.T.
16: Day 2: After our misadventures the first morning, we finally exchanged our money and found the tram to take us across the city to Mala Strana. Wandering around the area, we found a parade of American WWII military vehicles and brass band commemorating the May 2nd Liberation Day. Since we were in the area and saw other embassies, we wanted to find the U.S. Embassy. We walked all around the neighborhood, peeking into churches like the Church of Our Lady Victorious trying to find the Embassy. Little did we know that the entire time we were watching the parade, we were right in front of the U.S. Embassy. Oops!
17: Beyond the Embassy, we climbed this monstrous hill (Petrin Hill) to get an amazing view of Prague.
20: Church of St. Nicolas | Europe's largest fresco, Johann Kracker's 1770 Apotheosis of St Nicholas
21: We walked all around looking for the Wallenstein Gardens. We even went all the way up the Castle steps again! But we were only able to catch a glimpse of it from the steps of the Castle Garden. So close but so far away. | But we did get to see some more amazing views of Prague.
22: Another chance to explore Prague Castle. | And we found an interesting photo exhibit on the castle grounds.
23: St. Vitus Cathedral | St. George's Basilica | Entrance to the Story of Prague Castle that goes through 1000 years of castle history (we didn't visit the exhibit, we just faked it)
24: Castle Steps | Golden Lane, once inhabited by goldsmiths, artists and the like but now not so golden. Just super crowded with tourists.
25: Czerny's Pissing Statue in front of the Kafka Museum | Kampa Island
27: Crossing Charles Bridge was... worse than Times Square in the middle of summer. There was construction on the Kampa side of the bridge which meant everyone crossing was walking on half the width of the bridge. There was no chance to really see anything on the bridge, all you could really do was raise the camera, snap the pic and hope that you got something. We should have listened to the guide books this time, come early early in the morning or late at night.
28: Day 3: the mission was to go to the Astronomical Clock and look for someone holding a green umbrella. Mission accomplished! And we were rewarded with a day driving through the Czech countryside to Sedlec to visit the Ossuary and to Kutna Hora to visit the Cathedral of St. Barbara.
29: Someone really liked those fields of yellow flowers. Can't you tell? Apparently they're called rapeseed but we have no idea why there are fields and fields of the stuff all across the countryside.
30: Ossuary at Sedlec
31: Bones bones and more bones!
32: Walking around the streets of Kutna Hora & the restaurant where we had lunch.
33: It used to be a water tower way back when and it looked like a water tower.... but it wasn't.
34: The walk from Kutna Hora to the Cathedral St. Barbara (patron saint of the miners)... | It was a pseudo Charles Bridge-esque walk.
35: Inside the Cathedral St. Barbara and its historic influences from the nearby mining towns.
37: We came back to a wet Good King Wenceslas but the weather cleared up in time for us to explore the city at night and the Prague Underground Pub Crawl!
38: There were nasty un-nameable shots, cute British boys, lost boys wanting to go home with us and stumbling around Wenceslas Square.
39: It's time to play!!!
40: Day 4: We went back to explore the very pretty Mala Strana neighborhood in more depth.
41: Wandering around the streets aimlessly... | we stumbled upon this garden and guess what it was?!?
43: The Wallenstein Gardens do you see what we see?
45: We made our way back to Old Town Square and spent a lazy sunny afternoon soaking in as much of Prague as possible. | Nearby was a stag party drinking... | and playing games... | and chasing each other around the square...
46: After hunting day & night, on our last night in Prague, we finally found Viselec aka David Cerny's 'Hanging Out' sculpture on the corner of Husova & Skorepka Street.
47: Good Bye Prague!!!
48: Hello Cesky Krumlov! (may we never see you again) Our first impressions of Cesky Krumlov were not the most favorable after being dropped off in a desolate parking lot at the top of the hill and around the corner from the town.
49: The entire town is cobblestones & hills. We were given many odd looks as we dragged our suitcases through town to the Pension Merlin. We soon realized why there were 200 hostels but no overnight visitors. Despite the fact that its a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is no reason to spend the night in Cesky Krumlov. A couple hours is plenty of time to see everything.
50: So we wandered all around town trying to find something to do. Anything. | We killed some time with lunch and beer in the main square but that still left us with plenty of time to kill.
51: We didn't find much to do but there was still some interesting works of art, cobblestones, hills and stairs. | Very odd works of art in front of a dark gallery/store/home?
54: Lions & tigers & bears oh my! Well bears anyway. Once again, we ended up climbing some monstrous hills to get to the State Castle & Chateau.
55: And making the trek was worth it since we got to kill time, took in a lot of pretty scenery and got to see some bears right outside the castle walls.
57: And oddly enough, or not so oddly enough, the Wenceslas Cellars in the castle courtyard had been transformed into | the International Gallery of Ceramic Works. And it had some disturbing pieces. Like fingers randomly laying around...
59: The town shut down very early. So we had an early night as well. We returned to the Pension Merlin, read tales out of our newly acquired "77 Prague Legends", ate chocolate, did our nails and were in bed before midnight. But wasn't the pension cute? And our new dog Charlie?
60: Our hotel, the Bailey's Millennium Hotel. | Hello London!
61: After days of "roughing" it, it was nice to have big fluffy towels, a concierge and real beds.
62: We saw London via a BIG RED BUS!!! There were parks, Londoners out and about, as many iconic London sites as we could fit in & killer trees...
65: Starting outside our hotel on Gloucester Road, we drove around Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park, down Bayswater Rd towards the Marble Arch (where Stacy was attacked by the killer tree and we almost lost the camera). Then it was onward to Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus.
66: Down Regent Street & Haymarket where we ended at Trafalgar Square and had a view of the National Gallery from afar.
67: Driving down Whitehall with Trafalgar Square in the distance was Parliament Square with the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
68: BIG BEN!!! | London Eye
70: That's Tower Bridge! | And there's more shots of Tower Bridge! From far away and up close. | From outside Winston Churchill's Britain at War museum.
73: Taking a slight detour from the bus, we got off at the Tower of London.
75: The largest knight & the shortest knight.
77: River cruise tour on the Thames! The nice old men on the boats liked waving hello to all the tourists passing by.
79: More views of the London Eye, the National Gallery, Parliament, Big Ben, the iconic red telephone booths and our wonderful tour guide John!
80: The London Eye & Big Ben | Westminster Abbey
81: Some last shots as we toured London: blondes driving a pink Smart car, Big Ben and just as the camera died, one shot of the gates at Buckingham Palace.
82: Genius! Very happy/lucky that the streets reminded us which direction to look before crossing. | Our very British meal of fish & chips with mushy peas.
84: Good-bye London!