Greetings! Here’s Part 2 of my November trip to Central Europe. Today’s post will include my time in Prague, Karlovy Vary, and London.
Day 4 – Prague, Czech Republic
Our tour’s last stop was Prague, and it’s a truly stunning city. It was barely touched by bombs during the second World War, so it’s a wonderful place to see historic architecture dating back centuries.
After checking in at the hotel our group took the streetcar down to the Charles Bridge.
I also visited the church of the Infant Baby Jesus, whose altar is over-the-top ornate. The statue of the baby Jesus has hundreds of lush, ornate outfits, and the church is a pilgrimage destination for many.
That evening we had a group dinner at a local restaurant. The food wasn’t spectacular, but a lively older gentleman played music (keyboards, trumpet, violin and vocals!) and it was a fun outing with my tour mates.
Day 5 – Touring Prague (Last day of the official tour)
We started our day at Prague Castle up on the hill. We only saw a tiny bit of the castle complex, but what I did see was fantastic! We started at St. Vitus Cathedral, took in the changing of the guard, and looked out over the river and the city.
St. Vitus Cathedral’s main entrance
St. Vitus Cathedral interior. Wow. Just wow!
There were at least 6 stunning windows this size and shape featuring colorful scenes.
Another view of St. Vitus Cathedral
The changing of the guard on Castle Hill
We also visited Old Town Prague, and saw the famous astronomical clock. The square there has a bit of a carnival feel, with live music, horse drawn carriages, and street performers – oh, and loads of tourists. I wandered the streets and did a bit of shopping that afternoon.
Closer shot of a section of the astronomical clock
That night I grabbed dinner in a pub that seemed to be a hangout for locals – Restaurace U Parlamentu. People drinking beer (Czech’s love beer!), smoking, and visiting with friends. I have an aversion to cigarette smoke, but put that aside in order to take in a non-touristy scene.
I had Czech goulash with dumplings, and was super curious about the table of eight older men who were drinking, smoking, and visiting at the table next to me. I wish I’d been able to tell what they were talking about – who they were. :]
Day 6 – Old Town Prague
After sleeping in and grabbing some breakfast, I took the streetcar to Old Town and visited a few antique stores. I also visited the lovely Tyn Cathedral and the Old Jewish Cemetery.
The fall leaves were just gorgeous
Later in the afternoon I crossed the Charles Bridge again and revisited Lower Town, and then had a picnic in my room for dinner.
Hotel room picnic with food from the market near the hotel…
Day 7 – Karlovy Vary
For my last full day in the Czech Republic I signed up with a local tour company and took a day trip to Karlovy Vary. Approximately 2 hours away, this town is known as a bath town because of the numerous mineral hot springs. People come from all over to take in the healing waters, and I tasted water from at least four of the springs. They didn’t taste too good, but I like the idea of improved health. :]
One of the springs we drank from…
Our tour meandered through the town, stopping at many of the springs and the geyser. We had lunch, and then had time to wander along.
I saw the Grand Hotel Pupp, which was in Queen Latifah’s movie “Last Holiday” and the Bond film “Casino Royale” – fun. Mostly I just wandered, and drank in the sights of the lovely town. It was such a treat to be there and to see another part of the Czech Republic.
I loved this horsie – so cute and sweet natured! :]
Happy to be spending time in Karlovy Vary…
Back in Prague, I saw the astronomical clock do its “on the hour” thing again, and had a tasty dinner before heading back to the hotel, packing, and preparing for my trip home.
Day 8 – Missed connecting flight and my night in England
So, yeah. I was supposed to be home Saturday evening. Unfortunately, I missed my connecting flight at Heathrow in London. Booking agents are supposed to allow one and a half hours between flights, and I only had one hour and ten. I didn’t get to the next terminal (you’re bused to other terminals), through security and to my gate in time, so I stayed overnight in London. I wish I could’ve gone to London proper and seen more than the airport area, but by the time I got to my hotel it was too late and it just wasn’t in the cards.
However, after breakfast on Sunday I did go for a walk in the area surrounding the hotel. I saw some residential streets, visited a park where some adorable kids were playing soccer, and got a tiny bit of a glimpse of life in England on a Sunday morning. The missed flight isn’t something I would’ve chosen, but I made the best of it and saw yet another tiny bit of the land of some of my ancestors.
Sunday at the park…
A cute front garden in the residential area…
Standing on English “soil” – so cool!
Summing It All Up
I really enjoyed all the countries and places I visited. I had the best time, and am so thankful for all I did and saw! I’ve just provided highlights here – otherwise this post would be (even more) forever long – but I hope you enjoyed a peek at my travels. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Oh, and if you’re interested in a similar trip, I’d totally recommend Gate 1 Travel’s Affordable Central Europe trip. Gate 1 did a great job (except for the London connecting flight timing – LOL) and this is my second time touring with them. (Also went to Peru with Gate 1) I added two days at the end, which worked out well, and hope to travel with Gate 1 again. Next on my list? Maybe Thailand, India, or China. Something to work towards…