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Trip Report Prague day by day not a tour

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PRAGUE:  DON’T STAY IN TOWN CENTER

MOST TRAVEL GUIDES SUGGEST YOU STAY IN THE CITY CENTER OF ANY
DESTINATION.
PRAGUE IS TRULY THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE. THERE ARE MANY CHOICES FOR
YOUR STAY.  I FOUND THE SAVOY HOTEL,  WELL APPOINTED,  REASONABLE WITH
SERVICES AND A  LOCATION NOT TO BE BEAT.
FROM HRADCANY HILL, THE SAVOY PROVIDED AN AWE INSPIRING TABLEAU OF
PRAGUE FROM ABOVE, ENGULFING ME IN AWE AND WONDER.  WITH THE CITY AT MY
FEET, I WAS INSPIRED  EACH MORNING  TO EXPLORE THE PAST AND PRESENT OF
PRAGUE.

PRAGUE TRULY HAS IT ALL;
ROMANESQUE TO ART NOUVEAU ARCHITECTURE, BOHEMIAN CRYSTAL AND  PORCELAIN
TO MODERN ART IN THE GALLERIES, HEARTY TRADITIONAL TO GOURMET CUISINE,
CLASSICAL  TO HIP HOP MUSIC,  CAFES  TO FINE DINING AND  HISTORICAL
VENUES NOT TO BE MISSED.

EACH MORNING,  I TOOK A DIFFERENT STREET DOWN THE HILL INTO THE CITY.
PRAGUE IS A COMPACT CITY, BEST EXPLORED ON FOOT WITH WONDERFUL COBBLE
STONE, WINDING  STREETS DELIVERING  DELIGHTFUL DISCOVERIES AROUND EACH
BEND. DAYTIME IS ALL DOWN HILL.  FRET NOT, AT THE END OF THE DAY, A TAXI
OR TRAM # 23 OR 24,  WILL WHISK YOU BACK TO YOUR HILLTOP RETREAT.

ANXIOUS TO WALK DOWNHILL TO THE CHARLES BRIDGE, I LEFT
THE SITES OF THE CASTLE HILL IN HRADCANY FOR THE LAST DAY.
WALKING  DOWN THE HILL FROM THE SAVOY HOTEL, I CROSSED THE CHARLES
BRIDGE INTO THE OLD TOWN SQUARE. MY TIMING WAS PERFECT,   ARRIVING TO
SEE THE HOURLY MECHANICAL FIGURES OF THE TOWN HALL CLOCK AND THE
ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK. I ENJOYED  THE PANORAMIC  VIEW FROM THE TOWER OF THE
OLD TOWN HALL BUILT IN 1338.   GAZING SKYWARD, I  RELISHED  IN THE
VARIED  ARCHITECTURE ALONG CELETNA STREET FOLLOWED BY THE MAZE OF ALLEYS
TO TYNSKA ALLEY.  AFTER A FLAMBEED “PALACINKY” AND TURKISH COFFEE AT A
SIDEWALK CAFE,  I VENTURED TO THE JEWISH QUARTER FOR THE AFTERNOON.  THE
13TH CENTURY JEWISH SYNAGOGUES, THE CRAMPED JEWISH CEMETERY AND THE
CEREMONIAL HALL WITH SKETCHES OF CHILDREN DETAINED AT THE TEREZIN
CONCENTRATION CAMP DURING WWII, INSTILLED A SAD INSIGHT TO THE PAST.
STOPPING  AT THE CITY MUSEUM, I SAW  A 1834 REPLICA OF PRAGUE.
LEAVING OLD TOWN AND THE  JEWISH QUARTER, A SHORT WALK TOOK ME    TO
WENCESLAS SQUARE, THE SITE OF DEMONSTRATIONS LEADING TO THE VELVET
REVOLUTION. AT WENCESLAS SQUARE, I WAS ABLE TO  PEOPLE WATCH,  SHOP FOR
THE LATEST FASHION, AND CHECK THE PERFORMANCES AT THE STATE
OPERA,THEATER OF THE ESTATES AND THE  OUTDOOR CONCERTS AT THE LEDEBOURG
AND PALFFY GARDENS. A LATE NIGHT CAFE DINER ENDED AN AMBITIOUS DAY OF
SIGHTSEEING.

MY SECOND DAY  WAS DEVOTED TO THE JEWEL  OF ART NOUVEAU. THE
THE HOTEL EUROPA BOSTS A WONDERFUL ART NOUEAU FACADE  AS WELL AS A
GRACEFUL AND DETAILED  ART NOUVEAU DECOR WITHIN.
THE PARIS HOTEL, PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS IN PRAGUE, MERITS A VISIT. THE
WINDOWS AND  INTERIOR DRENCHES THE VISITOR IN ART NOUVEAU SPLENDOR.
FOLLOWING A STOP AT THE PARIS HOTEL, THE  ALFONS MUCHA MUSEUM DID NOT
DISAPPOINT. (MUCHA IS  FAMOUS CZECH  ART NOUVEAU ARTIST BEST KNOWN FOR
HIS POSTERS, ESPECIALLY THE POSTER OF SARAH BERNHARDT.) THE MUSEUM HAS
AN OUTSTANDING COLLECTION OF STAINED GLASS, POSTERS AND DRAWINGS OF
MUCHA.  I COULDN’T RESIST THE POSTER OF “LE REPOS DE LA NUIT” IN THE
GIFT SHOP. AT THE MUNICIPAL HOUSE, I MARVELED AT THE MUCHA CEILING IN
THE MAYOR’S ROOM. STILL NOT SATIATED WITH ART NOUVEAU, I VISITED THE
PRAGUE INSURANCE COMPANY BUILDING  (NOW HOUSING THE MINISTRY OF
COMMERCE) TO SEE THE STAINED GLASS ENTRANCE DESIGNED BY
OSVALD POLIVKA. AFTER A NAP AND A MASSAGE AT THE HOTEL, I RETURNED TO
THE PARIS HOTEL FOR A GOURMET FEAST OF DUCK IN CRANBERRY SAUCE.

THE UNSPOILED BEAUTY OF MALA STRANA (THE LITTLE  QUARTER)
WAS EXPLORED ON DAY 3 OF MY VISIT.  I WALKED TO THE BOTTOM, TAKING THE
FUNICULAR RAILWAY UP TO PETRIN HILL. IT IS A SHORT TRIP UP AND THE
STREETS OF THE QUARTER ARE STEEP BUT FULL OF MANY TREASURES. THE CHURCH
OF ST. NICHOLAS TOWERS OVER THE LITTLE SQUARE. THE BAROQUE CUPOLA AND
BELL TOWER ARE BREATHTAKING AND APPEAR TO DWARF THE SURROUNDING QUARTER.
THE INTERIOR IS  A FEAST FOR THE EYES WITH AN ORNATE PULPIT, A COPPER
STATUE OF ST. NICHOLAS ON THE ALTAR AND  AN ORGAN THAT HAD BEEN PLAYED
BY MOZART. IN THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY VICTORIOUS, I BEHELD THE TINY
INFANT  OF PRAGUE STATUE. AFTER A STROLL THROUGH THE  PEACEFUL
WALLENSTEIN GARDENS, I CONTINUED ON TO KAMPA PARK.  THE NEARBY LENNON
WALL SERVES AS
A MEMORIAL TO JOHN LENNON AND MOREOVER,  A VISIBLE PROTEST OF COMMUNISM.

ON THE THIRD EVENING, I STARTED AT  THE FAMOUS ST. THOMAS BEER HALL AND
THEN ON TO   THE HISTORIC THREE OSTRICHES FOR A FINE DINNER AND A STROLL
ON THE ST. CHARLES BRIDGE.

SAVING MY FINAL DAY IN PRAGUE FOR THE CASTLE AND HRADCANY, I LEISURELY
ENJOYED THE REMNANTS OF GOTHIC TO NEO-CLASSICAL  STYLES.
I BEGAN WITH A  STROLL DOWN THE TINY  GOLDEN LANE. INSIDE THE CASTLE
WALL, THIS PICTURESQUE LANE OF PASTEL COTTAGES DATE TO
THE 16TH CENTURY  AND HOUSED THE  GUARDS OF THE CASTLE.
THE FORMIDABLE ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL CONTAINS THE TOMB OF ST. WENCESLAS,
ST. JOHN NEPOMUK, FERDINAND I , MAXIMILLAN II AND A BEAUTIFUL ROSE
WINDOW WITH SCENES  OF THE CREATION.  THE GOTHIC FRESCOS IN THE CHAPEL
LEAD TO THE   ALFONS MUCHA WINDOW, BRILLIANTLY BRINGING  THE CATHEDRAL
INTO THE 20TH CENTURY. BEFORE
LEAVING THE CATHEDRAL, I PAUSED TO SEE THE  RELIQUARY OF ST. GEORGE’S
ARM.  CONTINUING ALONG THE CASTLE WALLS, I ENTERED THE CASTLE STABLES
WHICH NOW HOLDS A COLLECTION OF RENAISSANCE AND BAROQUE MASTERPIECES. I
SPENT THE FINAL AFTERNOON EXAMINING  THE COATS OF ARMS IN THE ROYAL
PALACE,  THE BOHEMIAN ART IN ST., GEORGE’S CONVENT AND THE SUPERB
COLLECTION OF JEWELRY, GLASS,
SCULPTURE, PAINTINGS AND FRESCOS OF THE NATIONAL AT GALLERY HOUSED IN
THE LOBKOWICZ PALACE. AFTER A MOST MEMORABLE VISIT, I DINED  MY LAST
EVENING AT THE INCOMPARABLE NEBOZIZEK RESTAURANT WITH THE LIGHTS OF
PRAGUE BELOW . THE DINER,  WINE AND A PIANO PLAYER MADE THE SETTING
PERFECT FOR THE FINAL,  MAGICAL VIEW OF OLD PRAGUE AND THE SPECTACULAR
CHARLES BRIDGE.

IT WASN’T THE COMPANY, ALBEIT DISTINGUISHED. IT WASN’T THE FOOD,
THOUGH  COPIOUS AS IT WAS GOURMET. IT WASN’T THE BOTTLE OF WINE I
MISTOOK FOR $20.00 THAT WAS INDEED $200.00. IT WAS THE LOCATION OF THE
HOTEL WITH THE VISTA OF PRAGUE AT MY FEET, ENTICING FOR EXPLORATION BY
DAY AND DAZZLING AND ENCHANTING BY NIGHT.
I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT PARIS TO BE MY FAVORITE  CITY IN THE WORLD. PRAGUE
IS EQUAL TO THE HONORED DISTINCTION.  LIKE ALL MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES, I
LONG TO RETURN. PRAGUE- THE CITY THAT DOESN’T FORGET “DON GIOVANNI”,
MOZART, SMETANA, MUCHA, KAFKA, JAN HUS,  FILLA, JANECEK, DVORAK,HANS
KRASA,  NERUDA, JOHN LENNON OR HENRY MOORE.....THE CITY I WON’T FORGET.

GETTING THERE
CONTINENTAL, KLM , CZECH AIRLINES AND AIR FRANCE HAS DAILY FLIGHTS FROM
JFK, LONDON HEATHROW AND  PARIS CDG  TO PRAGUE-RUZNE AIRPORT.

LODGING
HOTEL SAVOY,  ROMANTIK HOTEL U RAKA, U KRALE KARLA,
HOTEL EUROPA, HOTEL PARIS, HILTON ATRIUM, JOSEF, HOTEL ELITE,
HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL, FOUR SEASONS HOTEL

DINING
NEBOZIZEK, PARIS HOTEL, ALLEGRO, TAVERNA TOSCANA, PALFFY PALAC,
U RADNICE, TROIS OTRICHES


NOT TO BE MISSED
CASTLE HILL COMPLEX, MALA STRANA, CHARLES BRIDGE, OLD TOWN,
JEWISH QUARTER, CHURCH OF ST. NICHOLAS, WECESLAS SQUARE, ASTRONOMICAL
CLOCK, LEDEBOURG AND WALLENSTEIN GARDENS,
MUCHA MUSEUM

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