The city of Prague is downright charming. Astonishingly, Prague emerged from WWII with its medieval old town almost entirely intact. Visiting the city is like stepping into a fairy tale. Visitors stroll elaborately decorated cobblestone street and sidewalks, sip coffee in hidden courtyards, and admire the whimsically painted buildings.
To get to Old Town, we crossed the famous Charles Bridge. Construction of the bridge began in 1357 and finished over 150 years later. The bridge is over 2,000 feet long and is lined with thirty baroque-style statues of saints and patron saints.
We spent most of our time in Prague walking around the city in awe. The architecture is unique and each street contains a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and Art Nouveau buildings all living in harmony and perfectly preserved.
Near Old Town lies the Jewish Quarter which was formerly the Jewish ghetto. Starting in the 13th century, Jewish people were ordered to vacate their homes and relocate to this area. Over the centuries, Jews were banned from living anywhere else in Prague. This also meant that they had a restricted area to bury their dead. At the Old Jewish Cemetery, the tombs were layered on top of one another as the cemetery ran out of space. This resulted in the cemetery having up to 12 layers of graves with possibly over 100,000 burials.
Prague is a very walkable city. We spent our days strolling through the cobblestone streets and over the many bridges that cross the river. In the center of the Vltava River sits Střelecký Island, a green oasis in the middle of the city. The entire island is a park surrounded by beautiful trees and gravel paths.
Old Town Square dates to the 12th century. The square is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings with colorful Renaissance and Baroque facades. At over 80 meters, the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn towers above the square and surrounding buildings.
Every hour on the hour, visitors gather in front of the Astronomical Clock, the oldest one still in operation. On the hour, the 12 apostles emerge from the clock and march past the clock as death waves an hourglass. The show is concluded with a crowing rooster. Built in 1410, the clock displays the time, the moon phase, time of sunset and sunrise, and the placement of Sun and Moon in Zodiac.
From Prague we left Lina and Joe and headed to Paris to visit our friend Johannes before flying to Iceland. Paris, like Prague is an extremely walkable city. In fact, it is possible to cross the entire city by foot in only a few hours. We spent two days walking up, down, and across the city stopping at cafes for the occasional coffee or beer.
We had a great time catching up with Johannes and having tasty meals and good times with him and his friends. From Paris we jetted to Iceland to start our last adventure before a brief respite back home in the USA. Iceland here we come!