It’s our last day in Prague as the end of our trip is tomorrow. We decided to spend the day relaxing, wandering around taking pictures, visit the Powder Gate Tower, Vysehrad fortress, shimmying down the narrowest street in Prague, doing a little Bohemian crystal shopping, and our final Michelin dinner at V zatisi.
One of the things I have loved about Prague is the support for Ukraine. Throughout the city we saw the Ukrainian flag, either by itself, or flying side by side with the Czech flag. It was uplifting to see the difference from Hungary in that respect.
The first thing I wanted to do, before it got too crowded, was find the narrowest street in Prague which is located in Mala Strana (Lesser Town), not far from our hotel.
While it isn’t a true street, it is a cute little passage way complete with street lights. It is so narrow that you can only go one way at a time and though it does have green lights and red lights, people seemed, just like when driving, incapable of following red is stop and wait; green is go. It took several false starts before we, and a younger couple decided we’d just force the red light/green light rules and started our way down the narrow stairs. Once you get to the bottom, there’s a small café with a terrace but it wasn’t open and so there was nothing to do but turn around. Once again we got to navigate red light/green light and try to prod the people stopped in the middle of the ‘street’ taking pictures to keep it moving before the light changed again. While not an essential stop, it made for a fun few minutes and a novel picture. Been there. Done that!
We wandered over the Charles Bridge, grateful the crowds were gone, and pausing to take pictures from various view points and of course putting my five fingers on the stars to get my wish in one year and one day as I had done on other days. Then once across the bridge, I really wanted a picture that encompassed as much of that side of the river that I could get.
From there, we crossed the bridge and stumbled into this ancient little church, the Rotunda of the Finding of the Holy Cross, that still has services. Okay, actually, we were lost. I don’t remember what we were looking for but we were on the wrong street – so I guess karma led me here because I really loved this building. Sometimes being lost is good. The first mention of this rotunda is from 1365 but the building is much older and thought to possibly to have been a private sanctuary that was part of one of the old mansions. I love that it was restored instead of being destroyed, which was the original plan in 1860. It currently is used by the Old Catholic Church.
We decided to go back to the hotel and drop off our backpacks and a few other items we didn’t want to take for the rest of the day and ended up eating a delicious lunch at the hotel. We had enjoyed the staff every morning when we ate breakfast and we were once again treated to excellent service and kindness. Our afternoon promised to be busy so we headed to the Vysehrad fortress and Strabo Monastery.
Many legends and stories are interwoven into the history of the Vysehrad fortress. Founded in the 10th century, it became the seat of the first Czech king in the 11th century. Charles IV, kind of Bohemia, integrated a pilgrimage during the king’s coronation process to bring back the importance and glory of the fortress.
The basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul originated in the 11th century and was Romanesque in style until it was damaged in 1249. It was then rebuilt in Gothic and later Neo-Gothic style. It wasn’t open to enter when we were there so instead we walked around one of the numerous walking paths, enjoying the views of Prague, the river below, and the overall scenery.
The Rotunda of St. Martin is one of the oldest buildings in Prague and unfortunately, also wasn’t open but I loved the shape of it as it is one of the more unusual buildings we have seen in Prague.
Founded in 1143, the Strahov Monastery is one of the oldest Premonstratensians monasteries in the world. While the monastery has seen more than its fair share of trials and tribulations, burning down in 1258, looted by the Hussites in 1420, ransacked and looted during the 30 years war and under siege by the French in 1742. In the 18th century, the brewery was built and the sales of which helped support the monastery. Czechs consume more beer per capita than any other country in the world. Yep, they drink more than Germany. On average they drink 161 liters per person. I tasted it, it’s good! I can see why they drink so much.
Not far from the monastery is the Petrin Lookout Tower. Designed to resemble the Eiffel Tower, it was built as part of the Jubilee Exhibition in 1891.
Czech kings have entered the city for hundreds of years through the Powder Tower. The Monument is the entrance to Old Town, built in 1475. The stone decorations on the tower depict kings, Czech saints and Czech patrons.
Next to the Powder Tower is the Municipal House which is a converted hall and and restaurant. The inside of the restaurant is restored and quite beautiful.
Returning to old town square one last time, it was the last of my shopping at Erpet Bohemia Crystal. Glassmaking in the Czech republic dates back to the 13th century and is one of the finest crafts in the country. Bohemian crystal is lead free and considered one of the best crystals in the world.
Erpet ships to the US with very reasonable shipping and insurance rates. The staff was friendly and helped make the shopping experience fun due to their enthusiasm.
We have loved being in Prague and enjoyed all of the food, sightseeing and experiences we have had. After nearly three weeks, we are ready to go home.
Rodin created the sculpture that represents me at the end of the trip ….. “Lorretta Exhausted.’
And then it ends…. Just as it began…. With a toast of champagne and a long plane ride home.