Prague to Paris

Bridges spanning the Vltava River in Prague

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.

Fall colors in Prague

The Charles Bridge spanning the Vltava River

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.

Many visitors “pet” this dog on the bronze relief at the base of St. Jan Nepomucky on the Charles Bridge for luck

prague

We climbed the eastern tower of the Charles Bridge to get a birds eye view

What we loved most about Prague was the unique and individual styles and colors of each building

Art Nouveau facades

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.

Speaking of unique and individual architecture, look at all these different windows that Dan photographed over our three days in Prague!

The Old New Synagogue (left) is Europe’s oldest active synagogue, built in the 13th century. The Spanish Synogague on the right, built in 1868.

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.

Top: The walls of the Pinkas Synagogue are covered with the names of Prague citizens deported and killed in the Nazi concentration camps. Below: Chaotic headstones of the Old Jewish Cemetery

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.

Faces

Strolling through the park on Střelecký Island

Scenes from one of our morning walks along the river

Public art around Prague

The John Lennon Wall. Toward the end of Communism in the 1980s, students started writing John Lennon lyrics on this wall as a way to air their grievances

Prague at a glance

The geometrically cobbled streets of Prague

Old and modern trams

Swans on the Vltava River. There were so many!

Bridges spanning the Vltava River

Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry’s Dancing House, also known as Fred and Ginger

The Charles Bridge at night

Horse drawn carts in Old Town Square

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.

Looking down at Old Town Square from Old Town Hall Tower

View from Old Town Hall Tower

The Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn towers above the buildings that surround the Old Town Square in Prague. Built in the 14th century, the church’s towers are 80 meters high.

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.

The Astronomical Clock

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.

The Eiffel Tower

Strolling the streets of Paris with Johannes

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!

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