Sunday, 20 September 2015

Surprise trip to Prague

My lovely Hubby surprised me with a trip to Prague for my 50th birthday - what a beautiful city. We stayed at the Golden Star Hotel, part of the AVE Hotel chain. It is an old Baroque building just below Prague Castle with panoramic views over the dome of St Nicolas Church and Prague centre. The rooms, restaurant and 270 year old stair case were all impressive  - it was the perfect place to stay. It was dark when we arrived but the view over a twinkling Prague was amazing.
Prague at night 
After settling in we went for a stroll up to the Castle and back along. We were surprised to see lots of old fashioned wagons, stalls and carriages covered over and straw on some of the cobbled streets. On our route back we walked down a long set of stairs which ended next to our hotel but were also full of straw stalls and other old fashioned items. We thought it was an ancient farmers market and wondered what would be on sale the next day.....

 .... to our amazement the next morning, breakfasting on the outside terrace, we were on the film set of Outlander series two. All the items we'd seen were in fact the set. It's not a series we had watched (we will now) but it made a very special start to our trip.

Outlander filming outside our hotel
Enjoying breakfast whilst watching the action

Outlander carriage with Prague Road Train
coming up the hill
The alley steps we walked down 
Outlander filming 
Taking a break in our hotel entrance
The first day we visited St Nicolas Church which although looks quite plain on the outside is unbelievable inside and quite took my breath away.

Outside St Nicolas Church 
Goldwork everywhere
Such an ornate interior
One of the amazing sculptures
Afterwards we took a stroll over Charles Bridge with all it's statues along the way. It's a beautiful town with so much to see, lots of walking and all the streets and pavements are cobbled giving a real sense of history. Trams and cars travel together along the clean streets. There were many street entertainers on Charles Bridge but one man in particular caught my attention as he played a set of wine glasses - www.alexomb.eu


Our first evening we enjoyed dinner on our hotel terrace and then walked down the hill to enjoy a classical concert. A five piece string orchestra played a variety of music including pieces from Mozart, Dvorak, Ravel and ending with Bizet's Carmen. A beautiful evening as we walked back up the hill, pausing for a traditional chimney cake on the way.

Rolled over metal bars and cooked over a flame
Delicious 
Our second day was filled with visiting Prague Castle and Cathedral. A huge complex at the top of the hill with guards outside - quite a formal change over but unlike the UK the crowds were only held back enough for them to walk through. Just outside the Castle was a small food fayre where we enjoyed a glass of wine watching the segways and tourists.

Tourists outside Prague Castle
Enjoying a glass of Czech wine
Castle Guards
The Cathedral was stunning, very different to St Nicolas Church with high columns and stained glass windows. A beautiful silver tomb glistened in the light gleaming through the windows, the highest figure being God looking down on his crucified son - quite a moving sculpture.

St Vitus Cathedral
Beautiful windows
Amazing columns and ceiling height
Silver Sculpture
Gold window
The Castle is a huge area; we visited the Old Royal Palace, St Vitus's Cathedral, Golden Lane and Basilica of St George. Although a popular place with tourists it was not over crowded with plenty of rest areas and cafes. We walked through to the outer gate, again guarded, and a little way down the hill to see the vineyard. Not quite the location you'd expect in the middle of a city but full of flourishing fruit.
Vineyard in a city
Flourishing grapes
As we'd eaten out at lunch we decided to have what we thought was a small plate of cheese to share. I also tried Sivovice Jelinek which is a traditional Czech spirit - plum brandy - very strong but very nice.
Cheers
Small plate of cheese
 Our final full day was spent across the Vltava river in the Old Town, there were many river boats and cruises but we decided to save that for another visit. The Old Town Square is huge, lined with impressive buildings and outdoor cafes. We enjoyed a glass of beer before visiting Tyn Church, another amazing place with the added atmosphere of a service being held. the outside of the church is hidden amongst other buildings but its towers, with their mid panel of solid gold, loom high over the square.
Old Town Square
Tyn Church
Pausing for a beer
 On the opposite side of the square is the Astronomical Clock which is 600 years old. It's a beautiful mechanical structure and a photo point for all tourists and newly weds, of which there were many in Prague strolling around with their professional photographers.

Astronomical Clock
There was so much more to see and we will return to Prague, maybe staying in the other side of the city on our next visit. our hotel was in a superb position and my favourite time was eating breakfast sitting looking through the open doors down the hill with views of the city - a memory I will treasure.

Breakfast with a view
and what a view !!
 Thank you Nick for an amazing birthday holiday x x 

Prague 




3 comments:

  1. Looks like a very memorable trip to celebrate your big birthday. I'll remember you when I watch Outlander and see these parts in it. You'll have to get the DVD when it comes out as a reminder of your special treat.
    Those steps look really steep, that must have been some climb!
    xx

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  2. Awww brings back memories, Prague is one of my favourite places, everyone should go to Prague! :-)
    glad you enjoyed it.

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  3. Thanks Clare for bringing back memories of Prague, we had 10 days there a while back and we vowed we would go back one day. We did not stay in Prague but a place called Dosky and we visited Prague from there. Just fabulous

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I'm so pleased you're enjoying my travel and wine ramblings - I love reading your replies too, thank you for posting a comment