Castles and the eating machine
Yesterday and today were castle days. Not entirely, but they took up the majority of our days.
First up yesterday – Prague Castle. It is apparently one of the biggest tourist destinations in Europe, which was clear from the crowds of tourists. Specifically, the tour groups. Oy, man, the tour groups! Why is it that people in such groups seem to either not realize or not care about simple manners, and that there are other people around who are also trying to get photos, see what is there, etc.?
Anyway…in the morning Jen had something to do so Linda and went on our own. We followed Jen’s directions, but because of work being done around the city, the tram did not stop where she said it would, and we ended up taking a different tram back, then walking up to the castle. It was a pleasant walk through a quiet area, but as soon as we rounded the last corner, oh, the crowds!
Prague Castle is called that, but you do not actually see much of the castle itself. You see the courtyards, the outside of the buildings where the president lives, St. Vitus Cathedral (inside this as well), the Basilica of St. George, Golden Lane, and the castle gardens. There is a part of the castle that is open to visitors, but it is small, and also empty. I found myself thinking “this is it?” I have not as yet readjusted my expectations of what a castle should look like. After seeing numerous castles in western Europe, I was expecting something similar, and castles in eastern Europe are very, very different.
After the castle, Jen met us and we had Chinese food for lunch – hooray! Then we visited the famous “Piss” sculpture (by David Cerny) in front of the Kafka museum, crossed the Charles Bridge, looked in souvenir shops, and met a friend of Jen’s for dinner to celebrate her (and America’s) birthday. Imagine how excited I was to have Mexican food for dinner – another food I have been without for a year and a half!
Today we took an excursion outside of Prague, to another castle called Karlstejn. It is located at the top of a hill, which we walked up (of course). We were happy that the sun came out as we were walking up, and saw it as promising. After we had been at the top, it turned cloudy and started sprinkling – this we could have used on our way up that hill!
But the castle was nice – we had to go on a guided tour, but I understand why, though it was interesting to follow the guide into a room, which she had unlocked. She locks the door behind us, then we are basically trapped in a locked room while she conducts the tour! Afterward we bought a bottle of wine from their shop (we found out that the grapes from which the wine is made are actually grown in Karlstejn), had the lunch we brought, took some more photos, and started making our way back down the hill. On the way back down, we found someone that opened the wine for us (laughing at us, probably for buying the wine in the first place), then we sat and had a snack while watching people go by.
So I had had breakfast this morning, then a snack before we went to Karlstejn, our late lunch, and another snack, and I was STILL starving. I had not been hungry this often since I was in my twenties! So on our way back to the train station I stopped and got a crepe (with raspberries and Nutella) from a man with a great deal of personality. Because I answered his banter, I got rewarded with extra berries. 🙂
So I ate again, and we returned to Prague, to visit a beer garden (where we saw a lot of Czechs but no other tourists), where I was asking about the food. “You can’t possibly be hungry AGAIN?” Jen asked me. Well, at that point I was not but the sausage LOOKED good, so yep, I had some. I surprised all three of us with my appetite today!
Oh my, I think this vacation will be the opposite of most of my vacations…most of the time I lose weight because I am running around all day and forget to eat, or am not hungry. Then again, most of my other vacations were taken when it was hot outside, and I don’t want to eat then anyway.
Before we were to return “home” this evening, we had one more sculpture to visit – another sculpture by David Cerny called “Horse“.
So two more days have gone, and as much as I would like to share the photos, I am unable to do so because we are not able to upload my photos onto Jen’s computer – she has too many on here to do so! So the photos will have to wait.