The Lennon Wall
The Lennon Wall was created after John Lennon's death in 1980 as a memorial to the singer. The wall, filled with graffiti, paintings, and poems, has been painted over and cleaned several times, only to be filled again with new tributes and graffiti. Today, although the words and images are constantly changing, the wall continues to represent a symbol of peace and love..
We started our day off by taking the metro from Namesti Republicky to Nadroni Trida. We then transferred to Tram 22 and rode it past the Prague Castle to the Belvedere Palace. The palace, a Renaissance style building, was the summer palace of Queen Anne and was built in the 1500's. We decided not to tour the actual palace because it now contains an art exhibit that didn't look very interesting. Instead we wandered the gardens and came upon a grassy area that had several birds (hawks, eagles, and owls) on display that you could hold for 100 kc (about $5). I fell in love with one particular owl, so the 100 kc seemed a bargain to be able to hold him. This particular breed of owl is quite common in Prague and is often found in the attics of homes here (which helps to keep the mice away!). I took several pictures of him (his name was Chico) and then gave him back to the handler. I wish I could have smuggled him home with me!
After leaving the Belvedere we reboarded Tram 22 back past Prague Castle and got off at the Malestranska stop near the Charles
Royal Summer Palace
The Royal Summer Palace, also known as the Belvedere or Queen Anne's Summer Palace, was built between 1538-1560 on the eastern edge of the Royal Garden. The palace currently houses several art exhibitions.
Bridge on the Mala Strana side. I had a walking tour mapped out of Mala Strana so we started at the Lesser-Town Bridge Towers. The lower tower, a romanesque style structure, dates back to the 12th century, whereas the higher tower dates back to the 15th century. After heading into Mala Strana we turned left on Lazenska Street and stopped at the U zlateho jednorezce (At the Golden Unicorn), a hotel that was a popular stop for Beethoven. There is a plaque above the front door that bears the composer's face.
Across the street we saw the Church of Our Lady Below the Chain, which was built to replace the oldest church in Mala Strana that burned down in 1420. Remnants of the original building can still be seen in the courtyard of the church.
One block over to the right (Karmelitska Street) we came to Church of Our Lady St. Victorious, home of the famous wax baby Jesus (Bamino di Praga). I squeezed between the people praying at the altar in front of him and took a few pictures. Apparently they change his outfit on a regular basis, and today he was wearing a red robe and
The Singing Fountain, located just outside the Royal Summer Palace, was built by Tomas Jaros between 1564-1568. The drops of water are supposed to sound like ringing bells, although they sounded more like drops of water to me.
matching hat. There was a museum upstairs that probably showed him in his other outfits, but we chose not to pay to go look.
After leaving the church we continued down Karlemistska Street to the Church of St. Nicholas. As this was another church that did not allow photography inside, we briefly took a peek and then left again. We crossed the street heading back toward the Charles Bridge and stopped at the Palliardi Bar & Cafe for some coffee and dessert. I was finally able to try the famous palacincky! It was filled with fruit and covered with whipped cream (with ice cream on the side), and was everything I had hoped for! I also had an iced coffee that was yummy too, and after we relaxed for a bit we continued our journey to the Charles Bridge.
As we started across the bridge, we noticed a water wheel off to the right along a narrow water passage. We saw some people standing along a walkway behind it so decided to turn around and try to get a closer look. This turned out to be an excellent decision, because as we made our way to the other
Duck on a Wall
Duck at the Royal Gardens...
side of the street, we accidentally came upon the John Lennon wall that I had been looking forward to seeing (but had no idea where it was). For anyone who reads this who is coming to Prague: If you're looking for the wall, turn left on Lazenska Street after you cross Charles Bridge into Mala Strana and continue to the end of the street, turning left once you reach the end. The wall will then be on the left side (you can't miss it).
After taking some photos, we made our way back to Charles Bridge and continued walking across toward Old Town. I stopped once again to take a photo of the St. Nicholas statue (legend has it that if the lantern near the statue goes out while you pass, you will die within a year). I hadn't noticed before (because I passed so quickly!) that the lantern is not actually on the statue but is on the balcony of the building directly behind it. Luckily it stayed lit long enough for me to take a picture and hurry along on my way! Just to be safe, I stopped and rubbed the St. John of Neponuk statue for
Walking through the Royal Gardens...
After crossing the bridge, we boarded Tram 17 and headed out for Vysehrad castle. The tram stop was a bit past where we wanted to go, so we walked back about a half mile to the bottom of the hill and hiked up about a hundred steps to the castle area. At the top of the hill is the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, which we peeked in to have a look (this is another church that you cannot take photographs of the inside). Adjacent to the church is a garden and cemetary, so we wandered around both before heading back down to catch Tram 17 going in the opposite direction.
After exiting the tram, we stopped to take a photo of the National Theatre and then made our way back through Wenceslas Square looking for a place to eat dinner. We came to a nice looking restaurant (U Zlateho Iva) with outdoor seating so we decided to stop there. This was also a good choice as the food was excellent and also half the price of the place we chose to eat the night before (630 kc as opposed to 1200 kc). I
Walking through the Royal Gardens...
had a spinach pasta and Budweiser Budvar (my favorite beer so far on this trip).
After dinner we headed back to the hotel to recuperate. Tomorrow we are doing walking tours of Old Town and the Jewish Quarter.
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