|After our horrible experience as the victims of a pickpocket in Budapest, we had the great pleasure of being rescued by Martina, Roberta, and Milan at the Domus Henrici in Prague. When we arrived in Prague at 6:00 a.m. with NO money, Milan met us at the station and took us to the hotel in his cab. We were fed, given one of the best rooms we've ever had, and sent on our way with borrowed money in our pockets to enjoy one of the greatest cities we've ever seen.|
|Everywhere we looked in Prague, another delight popped up. These musicians may rank at the top of the list of all street musicians we have heard throughout the years. We found ourselves standing and listening to their eclectic mix for quite a while. This is not the first bass I've ever seen on the street, but I have no memory of ever spotting a bassoon anywhere else. Music in Prague provided some of our best memories; on the day after we were pickpocketed in Budapest, our hostesses in Prague lent us enough money for dinner and a concert. Vivaldi's "Spring" did much to help us get over the despair.|
|Across the Vltava (Smetana's "Moldau"), Prague's cathedral and castle perches atop the Hradcany. We fell in love with the entire city and wonder what took us so long to get here in the first place. Our hotel was very near the Cathedral, but trams and subways make getting around very easy. Barely out of sight in this picture is the Charles Bridge which dates from 1357. Lined with statutes and with towers on either end, it has become one of the main symbols of Prague.|
|Compare these Prague horses with the ones on the Budapest page. These seem to be "dressed" a little better. Indeed, Prague itself seems to be "dressed" a little better than most of the cities in the former Soviet bloc nations that we were able to see. While in Prague, I always had a little sense of deja vu. It was only after I returned home that I remembered that much of "Amadeus," a movie I've rewatched many times, was filmed in Prague.|
|On the week before Easter,
Prague was full of the large Easter egg trees. But I'm sure this egg
is not destined for any tree. The artist worked fast on the super
egg; after we'd been sightseeing for a couple of hours, we came back by
and it was almost finished. Every square in Prague was filled with
stalls selling all manner of staples and souvenirs. Capitalism seems
to be thriving.
All the squares in Prague were full, and we were warned (just as we had been in Budapest) that the pickpockets are everywhere. The experience was enough to teach us a lesson; it's a "warning" that will last quite a while. This might be a good place to insert praise for the American Express office in Prague. Our stolen traveler's checks were American Express and the employees at the Prague office did everything possible to make things easier for us in recovering them. In general, all the Europeans were much more helpful than anyone we talked to at the American embassy.
|The "Changing of the Guard" at the Prague Castle is certainly not the same as it is in some of the other capitals we have visited; it's really not nearly as formal. As a matter of fact, on this day, the guard at the little guardhouse on the right lost his composure and had to laugh so much that he was forced to turn his back to everyone and hide out in the house for a minute or so.|
|We just lucked upon Laura's Wine Bar while walking down from the castle toward the Charles Bridge. We had a lovely meal prepared right at our table for a very reasonable price. In general, we found that Prague's hotels are a little higher than in most other cities we have visited, but the restuarants are very good and generally inexpensive. You might have to make a special effort to find Laura's, but give it a try. Great service, good music, and delicious food.|
|By all means, if you get a chance to visit Prague, don't miss the guided tour of the Jewish section of the city. It is a genuine treat. On our tour, we had an excellent guide and even though most of the places were pretty crowded, we were able to get around pretty easily. In general, Prague seems to have a great system of Guided Walks. They are similar to London Walks we have taken in the past and cover a variety of topics.|
|Every trip provides incidents that make great stories later. (Of course, the major theme for this trip was the pickpocket.) But the trip to this restaurant must rank a close second. The restaurant had a number of rooms in the basement, and Brenda and I were the only patrons in one of them. We could hear a small group in the next room. I spotted some large pretzels on a holder that I thought would make a good picture. When I started toward them with my camera, a large well-dressed goon with a radio receiver in his ear pointed at me and yelled what was clearly "NO." I truly wondered why pretzels were off limits. Only later did we discover that Vaclev Havel, the Czech President, was in the next room. (He's the dark suit nearest the car.)|