Finally the day arrived for the most wistful journey of my life, namely a bus trip to the Czech Republic and Prague. The city that I have seen many wonderful pictures of and heard so much about for many years. Not least of all the names the town had received over the years. Here are some examples of what is called Prague – The Golden City, the heart of Europe, The jewels of the world’s crown, urban city, the Hundred Spires City, central Europe, Paris and Rome, Europe’s most beautiful city, the eternal capital of culture and an exquisite gem, and now I really know about all the wonderful name matches the city of Prague is the Czech capital and is located in Europe.
The six-day bus trip to “the most beautiful city” of Prague in the Czech Republic, started on Tuesday morning at 6:30, June 26, 2001 from the center. The journey continued south into the country against the city of Helsingborg, but stopped occasionally to pick up passengers all along the way to Helsingborg. In Helsingborg, we met another bus with passengers who came from different towns in southern Sweden. We changed the bus for a bus to go to Prague in the Czech Republic and the other will go to Paris, France. When the bus switching was done, it was time for a ferry ride across the Sound from Helsingborg to Helsingor on Zealand, Denmark. We went through the whole island of Zealand in Denmark, smooth, scenic countryside, past the big green cornfields to the town of Gedser at the bottom of Sealand in southern Denmark. We took the ferry to ferry us over to the city of Rostock in northern Germany. It takes about two hours to ferry across the Baltic Sea. We went on tour in Germany down to Berlin and on through Saxony.
In the morning at 6:00, June 27 we arrived at the border post Zindwald. We had slept one night on the bus. Then we proceeded directly to our hotel called the ILF in the “Golden City” Prague. When I got off the bus at the hotel. It was a wonderful feeling to finally be in Prague. We had a good and long awaited breakfast before we set out on the first outing at 10.00am, which was a guided city tour of Prague’s Old Town.
We took a bus to old Prague, then we continued by foot, because buses are not allowed in the old town. The city tour took us through a huge portal to the old town. Still inside the portal stood two beautiful buildings, one of the buildings was a convent from the 1200 AD. The second building is a library. We continued walking in the old town with its narrow, quaint cobbled streets, historic, beautiful churches, houses and buildings, some from both the Roman style of the Renaissance and even in the Baroque style. I felt like I went back several centuries in time. There were so many nice buildings to look at so I was quite enamored of all that is beautiful. I was too busy to photograph everything. While we were guided around the old city, there were a number of tourists from different countries. You could hear different languages.
The church that I thought was the nicest, was the fabulous Loretakyrkan with its golden tower, built in the 1600s. The Church who actually called the Virgin Mary Church, which began building in 1365 but was not finished until 1511 it was then the most important church in Prague. The church has two towers that are named after Adam and Eve. All the churches that we saw on the tour was a Catholic. On the Lesser Town Square stands St. Nicolauskyrkan Prague’s best coffee mania Baroque church and St. Veits cathedral tomb is the Bohemian kings’ burial place, this is such Charles IV was buried.
Astronomical Clock on Old Town Square.
One of Prague’s major attractions are located on Town Hall Square and the Astronomical Clock in the square outside, it is still full of tourists waiting for the clock to beat. This opens two small ports on the clock and you can see some finely carved wooden figures, which are apostles, to pass by. Besides the time you get to know the sun’s and moon’s position relative to Earth. On Town Hall Square is the Town Hall, the oldest house in the whole Bohemia. All houses and buildings are richly decorated with angels, small rims, small and large towers, curved soft rounded roof and around the window with various ornaments in the house’s facade. Most houses are from the 1500s, but there are also buildings from the 1300s.
We have now arrived at the famous Charles Bridge that crosses the Vltava or Moldau River, how it is also called. This river runs through the whole of Prague. Charles Bridge is the most visited of all tourist attractions in Prague, the current bridge dates from 1357 with a wooden structure from the 900s that the bridge is built. Charles Bridge is decorated with more than 30 large and beautiful sculptures. Along the whole bronze sides are the vendors selling memorabilia from Prague, artists who paint portraits of the tourists, and various musicians of all types who sing and play folk music, jazz and the melodies of Beethoven, Mozart and even of the great Czech composers Smetana and Dvorák .
We finished the city tour with coffee in a quiet and cozy cafe on a street below the main street. When we had the coffee break we took then the subway to our hotel. After the city tour in a few hours, we were quite tender in our bodies when we got back to the hotel. We checked into the hotel and unpacked our suitcases, which had been kept in a storage room at the hotel while we were on tour, because we did not have access to our room until the afternoon. Then we rested for a while, before the evening took a delicious three-course meal with wine, the hotel restaurant. It is above all very cheap in the Czech Republic, so you could really afford to eat the finest cuisine that was served in the Czech Republic.
On Thursday morning, June 28, it was again time for another outing, this time to the city Podebrady, which is one of the many crystal factories in the Czech Republic. The weather was warm and a beautiful golden yellow sun shining in the clear blue sky. We drove south-east from Prague in the beautiful Bohemian countryside, after the entire road was planted cherry trees as long avenues of trees, with dark red ripe cherries on. The Czech Republic is a hilly landscape, there are both high altitude and lowland plains.
We were given a guided tour of the Crystal Factory but we did not shoot inside the factory. Across Europe, the Czech Republic is well known for its many crystal factories. Lots of crystal that comes from the Czech Republic is usually marked with a little label that says Bohemian crystal on. It’s good quality of the crystal and it is very cheap. So there was some buying of Bohemian crystal. In the Czech Republic you can not drink water straight from the taps, so you must buy or fetch water from various water wells. Such a water well, we visited in Podebrady and the water we drank was sparkling when it came out of the well.
The route now went on to Kutna Hora.
In the 1200s it was discovered that there were large silver deposits in the surroundings of Kutna Hora. For nearly two hundred-fifty years Kutna Hora of Bohemia’s most important city after Prague. A very large part of the city’s wealth was used to decorate Prague, and to build great churches in Central Europe. In the late 1300′s, lived here as many people in London. Towards the end of the 1500s dried up the mines and prosperity, thereby taking over. In Kutna Hora we went for a walk, even where there are many ancient sites. After lunch at a restaurant called Stará Danger, the waitress who worked there came from Sweden. From Kutna Hora we go on to a suburb called Sedlec where we visit the famous Benkyrkan, also called “Death chapel.” There is an old monk cemetery with an old Gothic chapel. In this there are lots of human skeletons. Of the approximately 40.000 skeletons were Frantisek Rint 1870, four giant bells of bone, one in each corner of the crypt, and the walls of the skeleton decorations. He even built a huge chandelier made of all the body’s bones. The building materials that were left are now kept behind bars inside the chapel where they are neatly stacked. A visit to this chapel is at the very least a must if you are in the Czech Republic. It is a shattering experience to see all the skeletons hung as decorations inside the church. It was the third day’s outing.
Kutna Hora – City of Silver
Kutna Hora, the Czech Republic´s City of Silver which, in the fourteenth century, was the second most important town in Bohemia after Prague
The fourth day morning, 29 June, it was again time for one of the most delightful excursions. This time it was a visit to one of Prague’s major markets was evidence on the outskirts of Prague. There, we made several good and cheap bargains on clothing, etc., and where I took the opportunity also to buy gifts for children and grandchildren, mother, father and my sister and family, for there you could really bargain a good deal in what you bought.
The boat on the Vltava Vltava
On the same day in the afternoon was the boat trip on the lovely sunny, blue-gray river Vltava, or if you prefer to say, Moldau, both names are correct. On board the boat at the restaurant there was entertainment with romantic music and song, they played including the Vltava by Bedrich Smetana, who is one of my favorites. It was wonderful to hear the beautiful sounds while we ate a great and wonderful smorgasbord with many of the Czech Republic’s glories on, including a white cheese that I was particularly fond of and that was delicious. After we had finished eating, we went up on the upper deck. From there we could see several beautiful bridges we went under including Charles Bridge and from the boat, we saw all the beautiful old buildings that lay along the beach. Afternoon and evening went far too fast.
When we returned to our hotel, the sun was setting behind the horizon and the dark night descended quietly down over Prague. It was splendid to see Prague, after dark with all lights and lights that were everywhere. It felt like I was in a dream. While this entire day was a glorious sunny weather.
On the fifth day morning, June 30, we ran around in the shops and bought lots of goods, for it was the last chance to buy something in Prague, to 16.00 in the afternoon was the departure back home to Sweden and little Degerfors again. It was not fun and I did not want to go home, because I liked it so much in the Czech Republic and really enjoyed every day that I was there. Never before have I thrive so well in any country other than Sweden, but with the Czech Republic, it was totally different because I was feeling so good all the time and really enjoyed it. When the bus rolled out of the hotel on Saturday afternoon, days passed too quickly. But there was another landmark left to watch, because on the way home a few mil before the German border, we would stop and visit a former concentration camp in the town of Terezin. Terezin is an ancient city, founded in the 1780s.