Sunday, November 13, 2011
When I’m away from my blogging career, hopefully, I’m working hard at my real job, it helps pay the bills. . I’m back now to rescue my readers that I abandoned in the middle of the Czech Republic. We head north to another incredibly beautiful city. Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the larger cities of Central Europe and has served as the capital of the historic region of Bohemia for centuries. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava River, the city is home to about 1.3 million people. My Sweetheart insisted we get a glance of the city by doing a short and quick city tour before we started roaming. The city tour occurred in a low roofed mini-van at about the speed of a Nascar race. I remember seeing Prague’s famous Crazy Building from ground level as a burr passing by quickly. By the time we reached the Prague Castle I was ready to bale and bale I did. Of course this means I would have to walk from the Castle District back across the Charles Bridge to our hotel in Old Town. The Charles Bridge is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River and was constructed in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge or the Prague Bridge but has been the "Charles Bridge" since 1870. Today after my long walk up and down it’s entrance stairs, I have my own name for the bridge. The bridge is 1675 feel long and nearly 40 feet wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The steps leading up from the bridge and the Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas. The most popular is the statue of St. John, a Czech martyr who was executed by being thrown from the bridge into the river. Rubbing St. Johns belly is suppose to bring good luck and also ensure your return to Prague one day. During the day the bridge and all of Old Town is a very busy venue with painters, owners of kiosks, and vendors alongside numerous tourists crossing the bridge, but at night Charles Bridge turns into a quiet place and it is in this area of Old Town we found a wonderful sidewalk restaurant for dinner and a glass of the local wine. Weakened by my long walk and the cooling night air, I slept in the following morning while my sweetheart visited the Jewish Cemetery. She enjoyed the guides tour of the cemetery and I enjoyed a much needed rest before we headed for Dresden, Germany.