Turns out, I'm a little bit jet lagged.
This morning, I woke up at a respectable 7:30. But then, when I couldn't keep my eyes open to check my Twitter, I put the phone back down and went back to sleep. Until 9:30. Breakfast is only served in the hotel until 10 so we headed straight down to eat and then came back up to shower and get ready for the day. The plan was to spend the day at Prague Castle.
The castle is very, very close to our hotel. Our room has a view of the street but some rooms have views of the castle. that's how close we are. The castle, and the street our hotel is on, is on quite a steep hill. So we started going up the hill and were at the edge of the castle grounds in about 7 minutes. The castle grounds are quite extensive and there are two different ticket options - the long visit or the short visit. We bought tickets for the long visit and headed off. The castle is made up of quite a number of buildings that have been built over a very long time. The earliest artifacts they've found on the site came from 3800 BC. Buildings started going up around the 800s. But, really - you know something is really old when you read that one of the building underwent renovations in 1400.
Our first stop was the Story Of Prague Castle museum. It gave an overview of the major events in the castle's history and had extensive exhibits with everything from being able to see the original furnace (from around the 1400's) to china from the 1800's. It was a good intro and helped us understand a bit more about Prague's history. From there, we went into the Old Royal Palace, where we saw a massive, massive hall along with a few of the other rooms. After that, we checked out St. George's Basilica. For the most part, it was lovely - but there was a rather macabre room with skulls wearing crowns painted on the walls and a terrifying skeleton statue. I also wasn't a huge fan of the tomb of St. Ludmila since her bones were on display but the ceiling of the room with her tomb was incredible. From there, it was into the National Gallery where we got to see some beautiful paintings by Czech artists. After that, the goal was to head into Rosenberg Palace but we somehow managed to miss it and were at the edge of the castle grounds before we knew it. We decided it would be a good time to break for lunch and after looping around, we ended up back on the hotel our street is on. We had a quick lunch and then headed back to the castle for the rest of the our visit.
We caught the changing of the guard on our way back in, which was a nice little accident. Then it was into the Picture Gallery, which is where some of the best pieces of art in the Czech Republic are featured. Moving on from there, we went to St. Vitus's Cathedral, which we think may have been larger than anything we saw in Italy. It wasn't as opulent (as everything wasn't covered in gold and marble) but it had beautiful stained glass and soaring ceilings. Then it was onto the Powder Tower to see some of the history of the guard at Prague Castle (not really my cup of tea) before wandering down to Golden Lane, which I fell in love with. It was this picturesque little alley with brightly painted, tiny houses all along one side. These houses were built into the exterior walls of the castle when a new outer wall was built. People continued to live in Golden Lane into the 1940s, including Franz Kafka. Now, the houses were little exhibits and shops. We left Golden Lane to head toward Rosenberg Palace, stopping at the dungeons on the way. Once we were done there, we wandered around the castle's moat and the royal gardens for a bit. Then, we headed back to the hotel for a bit of a rest before dinner.
We ended up at an Italian restaurant for dinner. Kevin really liked the look of the menu and after saying something about spaghetti on our way out, it was all I could think of. Our meal was fantastic. Aside from Italy, I'd say it was some of the best pasta I've had. Kevin ended his dinner with tiramisu but I had the dessert the Czech are famous for - a pancake with fruit, ice cream and whipped cream. It was amazing. It was sort of like a thick crepe and it was piled with strawberries and ice cream and whipped cream. I loved it. Despite thinking I wasn't very hungry, I gave a completely different impression when I finished my pasta and my pancake without any troubles.
After dinner, I came back to the hotel while Kevin went back to the castle to take some more photos. He's been taking most of our pictures on his camera but I've had my point-and-shoot out. I'll leave you with a few photos from my camera. The good photos will have to wait :)