We got very lucky on the tour. The bus picked us up at the hotel and drove us to the end of the tour. Across the river and up, up, up to the most defensible spot in the city where the palace complex sits. Our guide was very funny, making jokes about the flag meaning the president is in the country, but that doesn’t mean he’s working. It was bloody cold, but we were moving. It was also St Stephen’s Day so the churches were having mass and we couldn’t go inside. After the complex tour we looked at the view for a minute. Then we surveyed the thousand or so steps to the bottom of the hill and our next destination. A thousand. Does that sound like hyperbole? It’s not. I didn’t count, but there were about ten in each set and there were more than ten sets. Had we started at the correct end of the tour we would have had to walk up those steps – at the end of the day.
That church on the left? Mozart played there. The steam rising in the distance? The river. We went all the way down and across the river to, see those pointy spires on the left side of the picture, but to the right of the green church roof where Mozart played? Walked there. Not in a straight line.
So we went down down down to New Town as the guide explained that Prague was originally four cities that joined together so the districts of New Town, Old Town, the Jewish Quarter and Wenceslas Square were once separate legal entities. We walked all these places. It was a lot to take in. Around the middle of the tour, we had a boat ride on the Moldau that largely repeated what we’d heard while walking, but from a different perspective (on the river and from a different person.) Then, we stopped for lunch at a medieval restaurant where we ate in the basement. The name of the restaurant was something about a spider. If they had told me that ahead of time, I might have opted out. There was no spider and the food was yummy. The sauerkraut was sweetish and the light was to low, but I think the red stuff was a different kind of sauerkraut. Oh and that bottom picture? The dumplings, accidentally taken with flash. Actually, this is the only time I saw them.
When the tour ended in Old Town, our tour guide told us our hotel was just that way behind those houses. We set off. We found Wenceslas Square okay. Our hotel is only two or three blocks off the main square. After about six blocks I said, not, this isn’t right and pulled out my map.
I thought I had lost my mind. The map made no sense at all. So we went back to the last place we recognized and tried again. We had better luck (and I wasn’t soaked to the knees like I was in Venice.) In the hotel we got hot chocolate in the bar and I pulled out the map to see if I could make sense of it.
It was in Russian. No wonder I couldn’t make heads or tails of it on the street. Next time, I’ll try a map in a language I can read or at least decipher.