Winter travels in Eastern Europe – Prague, Czech Republic


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Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town
December 22nd 2016
Published: February 19th 2017
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We drove our car 3,300 km from Minsk, Belarus where we are teaching to see the cities, Christmas markets and quiet snow covered countryside of Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic and eastern Germany.

The majority of our 3 week tour was spent in friendly Czech Republic. We have long anticipated our eventual trip to Prague and the Czech Republic. It did not disappoint. We found beautiful Christmas markets, delicious beer, comforting food, and interesting architecture. It was cold, but we made the best of it. We recorded many 10,000 plus step days on our Fitbits.

We had a fun Christmas Eve dinner near our hotel (Hostal) at the French restaurant Chez Marcel. The waiters were a lot of fun. We took an Urban Adventure tour of Prague and had a cooking class with Tereza and Pavel with Prague Cooking Class. We visited the Communist Museum that exhibited the bleak life under communism in a Soviet Bloc country, and included some very emotional exhibits about the Prague Spring revolution in 1968 that was crushed by the Soviets. Freedom finally came with the peaceful Velvet Revolution following the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany.


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Prague, Old Town SquarePrague, Old Town Square
Prague, Old Town Square

Old Town Square and its Christmas market were magical at night. They bustled with may tourists all day long.
Prague, Old Town SquarePrague, Old Town Square
Prague, Old Town Square

The square was decorated with this huge Christmas tree and surrounded by the market.
Prague, John Lennon WallPrague, John Lennon Wall
Prague, John Lennon Wall

During communism the memorial graffiti following John Lennon's death in 1980 was painted over every night by the government. It would reappear the next day. Now people add new messages constantly, covering the old to create a living work of art.
Prague, Frank Gehry's Dancing HousePrague, Frank Gehry's Dancing House
Prague, Frank Gehry's Dancing House

In October we visited architect Gehry's famous work - the Guggenheim Bilbao (1997). We were fortunate on this trip to add two more of his designs to our sighting list. The Dancing House (1996) in Prague and the DZ Bank building (2000) next to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Prague, Lokal BrewaryPrague, Lokal Brewary
Prague, Lokal Brewary

This beer hall was a favorite of ours. It had good beer, a fun atmosphere, was next to our hotel, and most importantly, was open when most others were closed during the Christmas holidays. We were disappointed that many small breweries were closed for the holidays.
Prague BeerPrague Beer
Prague Beer

A glass designed for each beer. Why not?
Prague Communist MuseumPrague Communist Museum
Prague Communist Museum

Man and woman carrying symbolic soviet hammer and sickle.
Prague Communist MuseumPrague Communist Museum
Prague Communist Museum

A pile of statues hides two fighters embracing just behind Lenin.
Prague, Franz Kafka Sculpture by David CernyPrague, Franz Kafka Sculpture by David Cerny
Prague, Franz Kafka Sculpture by David Cerny

This modern artist had sculptures throughout the city.
Prague, Man Hanging Out by David CernyPrague, Man Hanging Out by David Cerny
Prague, Man Hanging Out by David Cerny

Sigmund Freud just hanging there over the street.
Prague A book lover's sculpturePrague A book lover's sculpture
Prague A book lover's sculpture

This was inside the library. Peek inside the opening in the side and all you see is an infinity tunnel of books up and down (made possible by mirrors in the top and bottom of the sculpture.
Prague, Charles BridgePrague, Charles Bridge
Prague, Charles Bridge

A walking bridge leading from the old town to castle hill.
Prague, Old Town SquarePrague, Old Town Square
Prague, Old Town Square

Imposing Jan Hus memorial. Hus was a forerunner (by a century) to the religious reformation movement led by Martin Luther. He initiated Czech nationalism.
Hotel HostalHotel Hostal
Hotel Hostal

Home away from home.
Prague MetroPrague Metro
Prague Metro

Color coded metro stations help travelers.
Prague Cooking ClassPrague Cooking Class
Prague Cooking Class

We cooked česnečka (garlic soup), bramboráky (potato pancakes), chicken schnitzel with potato salad and apple strudel for dessert. Yumm!
Prague Cooking ClassPrague Cooking Class
Prague Cooking Class

chicken schnitzel with potato salad
Prague, Old TownPrague, Old Town
Prague, Old Town

This astronomical clock marks every hour during the day with a short show and the cock crow finale. There was always a mob of tourists waiting for the next hourly show. The clock in Olomouc is much more interesting and way less crowded.
Prague Church facadePrague Church facade
Prague Church facade

Churches seeded to try to outdo each other.


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