Blogs from Czech Republic, Europe - page 241

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Europe » Czech Republic » Prague June 16th 2005

Those of y'all who know me, this is no surprise. But it's interesting, I was reading elsewhere here that some intrepid young traveler has arrived in Prague for a 12-day stay. I just cannot imagine staying in one place for that long! And, of course, with the surprise windfall of two extra days next week, I've every intention of cramming in at least one more city. :) Stay tuned. Yesterday we saw more of Praha (Prague) than I ever imagined possible. We headed off to Pražský Hrad (Prague Castle) with every intention of spending the entire day there. On the way, I thumbed through the Rickster's guide and he says that most of the castle sights are skippable. We were pleased to take his advice, and of the critical five he recommends, we even skipped one ... read more
Hidden treasure at Prague Castle
I attempt to perpetrate art


We set off up the trail. Our destination was four kilometers away, the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe. A huge group of school kids were ahead of us ... thank goodness they were ahead of us. In fact, we slowed so they would get far enough ahead that we could not hear them. When in the woods we prefer the sounds of nature to the sounds of 40 excited school children. I must say the kids were having a great time, and that is good. We had been told the trail is quite steep and difficult. Pleasantly surprised we did not find the trail particularly steep nor particularly difficult. We have hiked more difficult trails in the Shenandoah National Park and climbing through the slot canyons, Peek-a-boo and Spooky, in Utah was more difficult. We ... read more


Climbing on up the mountain we finally reached the top of the mountain where the largest natural bridge in Europe stands. Below and at one end of the bridge an old hotel still operates as a restaurant, but accepts no overnight guests. The employees have to hike in each day to their job. All supplies for the restaurant are brought up the mountain in a small cable car. The cable car is not large enough to carry any passengers. In fact, when I saw it in operation I think I would call it the cable bucket. The motor is tiny and the supplies come up a little at a time. The natural bridge is at least fifty to sixty feet high and I would guess at least one hundred feet across. No one is allowed to ... read more
The Natural Bridge and the restaurant.
Once a hotel, now a restaurant only.
The bridge and restaurant.


During our hike through the mountains we were pleased at the number of wild flowers we saw blooming. I wish I knew the names of all of them. But I needed and did not have a Central European Field Guide to Flowers. Some, like the Foxglove, I recognized, but there are so many that were unfamiliar to me. ... read more
Wild Foxglove
A Mountain Wildflower
A Mountain Wildflower

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague June 15th 2005

Well, we're getting by OK not speaking the local language, but there sure is a difference (for an English-speaker) between not speaking German in Germany and not speaking Czech in Czechia. No, I couldn't understand a word of spoken German, but at least I could make some sense of signage and the names of stores. In Czech, nothing looks or sounds familiar (I don't remember enough Russian to get into any kind of Slavic groove), so there's no faking it. Even if the workers in all the shops speak excellent English (as is widely claimed in guidebooks), we'd like to figure out which stores to go into first! The practical upshot of this is that we're sticking to tourist paths, where English signage is more common... at least for tonight. No matter how many times I ... read more

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The area known as Czech Switzerland, or Bohemian Switzerland is located on the German border between Prague and Dresden. The Elbe River has cut a deep canyon through the mountains leaving behind high sandstone cliffs. To avoid river taxes in centuries past, smugglers used this area to carry goods into both countries. Small villages developed in the mountains to provide services to the smugglers. I am not sure if smuggling still exists, but surely tourism is the major business of the area. There has been a national park on the German side of the border for a number of years. Now, there is a newly created national park on the Czech side, the National Park Bohemian Switzerland, or in Czech the, Správa Národního parku České Švýcarsko. Look it up on the Internet. We set out about ... read more
Bill
Looking down to the trail we had just passed.
Closeup of the sandstone.

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague June 14th 2005

Hello Everyone! This is a rather long entry, so if you want the short version here it is: now in Prague, Vienna was great, but exhausting, my butt hurts from the hike we took, wine+tram= fun!, prague is cheap and we are having language issues (but this has been an ongoing problem). Amy and I are now in Prague, just coming from Vienna. Vienna was great! We got there two nights ago and went to an opera. We managed to get really cheap tickets, only 2.5 euro! Although it was standing room only but it sounded great. Since we stayed longer in Munich, we only had one full day in Vienna so we crammed a bunch of stuff into one day. In the morning, we did a tram tour out of a book that Amy had. ... read more
Vienna - the city of music, and one of my favorites!
got off the tram to see this in Vienna

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague June 14th 2005

Oh! My feet! I went on a walking tour of the castle today. Pretty much a waste of time. Mr. Gottfried our guide who must have been as old as dirt was bad. His accent was so thick even I couldn't understand him much of the time, let alone the two women for Jersey. The information he was giving was bland and un-interesting and he couldn't understand any of our questions. I was bored. I stayed with it only because it included admission to the inside of the castle which I hadn't seen before and Golden Lane which I wanted to see again. The last time I was at the castle entrance to Golden Lane was free. Ah, how far the Czech have come in capitalizing on the tourists which seem to have overrun the city. ... read more


Do you remember in the blog on going to Dresden that I mentioned the beautiful mountainous country we passed through and I said, "Nancy and I have to learn more about this area. There must be some wonderful hiking in that area." Well ........ when we returned to IBTS we metioned the beauty we saw to several people. Each enouraged us to return and hike there. In fact PP said, "Take two days off. Go there and see the beauty." So, we did. But this trip will take several entries. We left Prague on Tudsday, going by bus from Prague to Decin, and then by local bus from Decin to Hrensko. Hrensko was our base for hiking. The town is right on the German/Czech border. It is a town with two streets, shaped like a "T". ... read more
A smiling egg
Breakfast
Hrensko

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague June 13th 2005

The best day of the year. If you don't believe this, just ask Nancy. Of course everyone in the world has this date on their calendar saying "Best Day"-- relax, have fun. This morning I asked a dear little boy named Brandon if he knew what day this was. He said, Saturday? I said, no it is Monday but it is my birthday too. He immediately asked, What kind of cake will you have? I told him Johanna got me a piece of Czech cake yesterday and that it was very good but I would not have a big cake. He then asked what I would do, I said I would work in the library. He looked strained. Then he said, Will you need a gift? It was obvious he was thinking about the need for ... read more




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