29.9.13

Scenes at Vltava

July 2013

Charles Bridge, view from Kampa Island
One can appreciate the beauty of Vltava in many ways: take a boat trip in the morning or evening, strolling along the shore of Kampa Island or just walk on both shores.  All positive adjectives: beautiful, gorgeous, amazing, awesome, wow, wonderful, great, wunderschoen.............

Restaurant on Vltava, next to Kafka Museum
Vltava, view from Kampa Island
  

Charles Bridge, Prague
  


Kampa Island
 

Most Legi, Prague
Paddle Boats, Vltava, Prague
   

15.9.13

Prague Old Town Square

July 2013
























Prague is perhaps my most beloved town in Europe. Its charm never fails to win hearts from tourists.  The medieval atmosphere is everywhere.  Beautiful pastel colour houses of different styles stand together to complement instead of fighting each other.  I just left it and don't mind going back for a deeper appreciation of its details and beauty.
 
 
Staroměstské Náměstí is the old town square.  Among the south side of the square are Štorchův dům Storch House and U kemenneho beranka (Stone Lamb).  The previous has a 19-century fresco depicting St. Wenceslas, the first left of the above photo. Next is the Stone Lamb.  Go closer to view the lovely lamb between the two rows of windows.

On the eastern side stand the chisel-roofed Dům_U_Kamenného_zvonu (Stone Bell House), a late 13th-century Gothic palace.  It was concealed beneath a baroque façade until the 1970s.  It is a venue for temporary exhibitions organized by the City Gallery.  Left of it is the Palac Kinskych (Kinsky Palace), one of the city's loveliest rococo buildings. It has fair association with Franz Kafka.  Now, it houses the National Gallery's exhibition.

On the northern side stands the Minute House with beautiful Renaissance sgraffito decoration. Kafka's family lived here between 1889 and 1896.
 
Orloj (the astronomical Clock) is one of the most familiar symbols of Prague.  It was first installed at the start of the 15th century and notably improved towards the end of the century. It does not only show the time but the position of sun, moon and stars.  At each hour carved characters begin to rotate and seen at open windows.  The duration is short but attracts crowds.  Legend says that Master Hanus' eyes were put out by the city council to prevent him leaking out the beauty of his art.
The lower dial shows the signs of zodiac and the labour of seasons.  It was added in the 19th century.
Church of Our Lady before Tyn (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem) is unique.  You see it and you know it's Prague.  The top black Gothic tower should exist here only and nowhere else.  It is so different from the other buildings but they stay together in harmony and win the admiration from all visitors.


Standing at a prominent position of the old town square is Jan Hus Memorial. He is a religion reformer before the time of Martin Luther.  After he was burnt to death, his followers continued the flight to successful emancipation.  Hus gazes into the distance.  Beneath him are sculpted figures symbolizing the tribulations of his fellow countrymen.



We chose to leave in the centre for the convenience to take shots at the famous spots.  I managed to do so in the night.  They are gorgeous.  I hope I can be there in the early morning for shots without crowds.



1.9.13

Prague Practicalities

July 2013























It has been ages since our last visit to Prague.  We stayed in a small apartment outside the city centre last time.  This year we opt for the centre for its convenience and ease to take shots early in the morning or later at night.   Six thirty in a summer morning, empty Charles Bridge.  Can you imagine?

Charles Bridge, 14 July 2013, 06.30 am
Our apartment is on the second floor of a beautiful historical building located at Bethlehem Square (Betlémské náměstí).  It is 2 minutes to the Charles Bridge and 5 minutes to the old town square.  It is spacious, colourful, cosy and comfortable.  Our landlord Mira picked us up from the bus station, answered all our key questions and also took us at 6.15am to the bus station for Cesky Krumlov.  It was a wonderful and enjoyable stay.


See our adorable flat and the surroundings!


 

 
Transportation
We arrived at Prague from Nurnberg by bus operated by the German Rail (Deutsche Bahn).  The journey took about 3.5 hours.  Double deck bus and a comfortable journey.  It's right direct from Nurnberg main railway station to Prague main railway station.   If you book in advance, it cost only 19 Euro.  Last minute booking jumps to 44 Euro.  Check here if you wish to travel from / to another European city.
 
Transportation ticket within Prague can be purchased from tobacco shops, newspaper stands or key underground stations.  Journey within 30 minutes cost 24Kc or 32Kc for a 90-minute ride.  For details, refer to Czechs transport.com.
 
If you are going to another city in Czechs, Student Agency is a good choice.  Comfy journey with free hot drinks and Wi-Fi.  2 passengers from Prague to Cesky Krumlov cost 15 Euro.  Good deal!  Compare the cost if you aim to travel from / to another European countries.  They charged 38 Euro for a trip to Nurnberg but we paid only 19 Euro via Deutsche Bahn Bus.
 
Money Exchange
eXchange at Kaprova 15 offered excellent rate at no commission.  Some exchange shops show very favourable rates but then you'll notice a percentage of commission or they show their sell rate which misleads you as the buy rate.  If you are VIP of eXchange, you get an even better rate.  Well, change 100,000 czk will entitle you as VIP.
 
Supermarket
We went to Tesco nearby, 5 minutes.  It's at the basement of a shopping centre at Narodni 26, the street next to Most Legi, the next bridge south of Charles Bridge.  Other key supermarket chains like Albert, Billa dotted all over Prague.  Just google it.  They are similar to any supermarkets in Germany.