June 13, 2004


Press HERE to see a slideshow from Prague.

Prague's Old Town Square
A Cow of Coins

Betty and I arrived in Prague late on Thursday the 10th of June after an arduous but uneventful series of flights. We left Minneapolis for Toronto mid-day on the 9th. After a four hour wait we departed for Heathrow, arriving about 6:30 the next morning. From here we took a bus to Gatwick. Ground transportation in England appears to be insanely expensive at £17 each or about $57 for the both of us. We flew BMI Baby from Gatwick. Funny the fare to Prague was only £7 each plus airport taxes. I figure that the bus company made more for the bus load to Gatwick in one hour than the airline made for the flight to Prague in two hours - go figure.

The low end for accommodations in Prague seems to be about $45 for a double, but they are hard to find, and you won't find one on the internet. Luckily I knew about one, the one that I stayed in last year - the Hotel Bonn. It is nothing special, but it certainly will do. We met an English couple that told us about their pension, which cost about the same but is closer to the center. Most of the average hotels run from $80 to 120 a night.

Betty was exhausted from the flight. It was Sunday before she had shaken off the haze created by the time change.
So on Friday, we did not get out until late in the day. I showed her a bit of the old town: Charles Bridge, old town square, and many back alleys. There is a street art exhibit going on here that I am sure that I have seen someplace else. A large number of fiberglass cows in different reposes where built and offered to schools and local artists for decoration. Most of them have been painted in whimsical form, and others were cover with the likes of small mirrored tiles, or 1 haleren coins (1/100 of the Czech crown). We ate dinner at a restaurant on the Old Town Square, called the Staromĕstská restaurace. The food is excellent, and the price reasonable when you eat inside. If you eat at their tables on the square, they triple the price of a beer from 70 cents to $2.50. At this point in our journey, the higher price did not bother us at all.

On Saturday, we also got a late start, but we managed to go to the decorative arts museum and later on a pub tour. I had been to the museum last year and liked it a lot. They have a great collection of glass, porcelain, graphic arts, metal works, and textiles going back more than a thousand years for a few of its pieces. I think the textile collection is best that I have seen with cloth and lace pieces from the last five centuries.
The pub tour was OK, but I guess I expected more. We saw three pubs, only one seemed extremely old. The food at the third pub was acceptable - but nothing special. The tour leader was a fun young man whose company we enjoyed. The other couple that toured with us was very nice. They came from England and we really enjoyed talking with them a lot.

The Bath House and Vltava River
from the Vyšehrad Fortress

Today, Sunday, we again got a very late start. It was my fault. I just could not get to sleep; and once I did, at about four in the morning, I just did not want to get up before noon. Betty was good enough to bring me some of the hotel breakfast. Oh yes, the hotels and inns usually provide breakfast here. And breakfast on Friday and Saturday was a bit crazy, as the hotel was full of people. I could hardly find anything to bring Betty when she slept in Saturday, because I arrived late. I had brought her the last piece of bread and a little meat. The hotel seemed to empty out today, so she had no problems bringing me a big plate when I had to sleep in.
We visited the Vyšehrad fortress that once guarded the south entrance to the city. It stands on one of the many bluffs that adorn the Vltava River. It was about a half-hour walk to the fortress that is now a park. We made our way around the outer wall with its breath-taking cityscape of Prague. Eventually we found our way to the Capitular Church of Saints Peter and Paul. The twin 15th century towers of the cathedral dominate the bluff on this section of the river. Alongside the church is a Slavin cemetery where many the famous Prague citizens have been interned, including Smetana and Anton Dvořák. On our way back to the hotel we had a simple meal of salad, pasta and wine.

Posted by bill at June 13, 2004 11:44 PM


good to here that you and yours are safe. I miss ya at the PO.

Posted by: Shelley at June 17, 2004 04:12 AM