1.6.12

Prague, Czech Republic Round 2

Double-tailed lion is the coat of arms symbol of the Bohemia region -  Czech Republic
Thank goodness for second chances, or in this case, second visits! Chris and I had a disaster of sorts on our first trip to Prague, so it was refreshing to see Prague through the eyes of a couple locals. The second time around, I quickly fell in love with the historical city that locals are extremely proud of and anxious travelers can't wait to experience. 

Reece introduced us to his friend's: Ludik, Susanna and their new addition, Jacob. Hooorah for new friends! The three of them currently live in Regensburg, Germany but home is Prague, and they were overjoyed to share their love and knowledge of the city with three clueless, American expats. 
Half way up Petrin Hill, we stopped for a quick, morning coffee - Prague, Czech Republic.
We started our tour of Prague at the base of Petrin Hill. A top Petrin Hill, there is an observation tower that resembles the Eiffel Tower - it's a very mini Eiffel Tower that promises a great view of the city. There is a tram that takes tourist half way up to the tower (for a small fee), but we opted to take the 30-minute walk through lush gardens and quiet little cafes. The hill partially wraps its green arms around Prague, and it offers a great backdrop to the picturesque city. The hike is fairly steep and if it's hot, you'll want a water bottle or two. A little bit of exercise was totally worth it and we got a great panoramic view of the city without paying for the observation tower. Ascending the hill, we realized that we were some of the only people around, but as the path leveled off and we slowly made our way towards Prague Castle, the throngs of tourists reappeared. 

We got a great view of Prague as we walked up Petrin Hill. 
Chris, Lana and Reece on Petrin Hill. That's Prague Castle/Cathedral behind my head. 
What a view! Cute cafe near the entrance to Prague Castle. Probably not the cheapest coffee in town!
St. Vitus Cathedral inside Prague Castle. 
St. Vitus Cathedral proudly stands within the walls of Prague Castle, and I learned from our local guide that this stunning piece of Gothic architecture is the biggest and most important church in the Czech Republic. St. Vitus is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. The Cathedral that we see today is actually the third building that was built on the same site and dedicated to St. Vitus. The first church was built in 925 A.D., and the third one (what we see today) was founded in 1344 A.D. While there are so many amazing relics, stories and tombs inside St. Vitus, (to me) one of the most interesting things about the structure is that the original foundation still remains. Tourists can peer though thin wire and actually see part of that first structure. 

Inside St. Vitus Cathedral Prague, Czech Republic. This is where all the tourists were hiding!
Stained glass inside St. Vitus Cathedral Prague, Czech Republic. 

No trip to Prague is complete without at least one trip across the Charles Bridge.  
Love locks along a canal in Prague - Mala Strana.
European "love locks" - From what I understand, "love locks" are a sweet little gesture that says, "our love is forever and can never be broken." Couples have their names engraved or written on a dainty lock, they then fasten the symbol of "never ending love" onto a bridge, and finally they throw the key into the murky water below. Locked together forever through the twists and turns of life. It's cute, but these "love locks" seem to show up all over Europe making it confusing to figure out what bridge deserves your token of everlasting love. Is there one bridge that has a better success rate than others? Just silly questions I ask myself. The fate of my our love will never be locked up on a random European bridge. Needless to say, Chris and I have not joined in on the trend of "love locks."

What do you know about these European "love locks?"
Once a normal wall in Prague, this wall is now known as the John Lennon wall. 
One of my favorite new discoveries in Prague was the John Lennon wall. Ludik and Susanna took us over the Charles Bridge and we suddenly turned a corner and found this amazing tribute wall staring right back at us. This was a typical Czech wall until the 1980's when youth filled it with pictures of John Lennon and fragmented lyrics from Beatles songs. I am not excited about graffiti as a tool for vandalism, but graffiti with a purpose just has to be viewed as art. This wall is no exception, and it is constantly changing as new artists and tourists leave messages meant for the deceased singer. The mural of Lennon has long since been covered up with new artistic expressions. We even saw a few tourists adding their own messages to the wall while we were standing here. 

Next time we are in Prague, I will absolutely visit the John Lennon wall 
to see how much it has changed.

There's Ludik (our awesome guide/new friend) in between Chris and Reece. 
Prague Astronomical Clock - third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and oldest one that still works. 
A view back on Old Town Square as we said goodbye to Prague.