London – Part 10

Ladies and Gentlemen, the ticket I bought on Platform 9 ¾ didn’t get me to Hogwarts, but I did get there.

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I took myself and our Dear Hostess off for a tour of the Leavesdon Studios. Partly in thanks for her hospitality, and partly because I’m a massive fan girl. I’m at peace with this information. Would you like to know more?

Prague – Part 6

In which our unlikely heroes walk up a hill to Prague Castle! (again)

So much to see, so little time! We spent an entire day up on the castle grounds. I was also glad it was the “off-season” and we didn’t have to fight our way through crowds to see everything!

Owing to the need to buy a licence to take indoor photos in some buildings, which we opted not to purchase, you’ll get the edited version of the tour.

We were also glad that we’d seen St Vitus Cathedral earlier in the week, as it was closed for maintenance the day we went back!

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Thank goodness nothing else was closed that day, and all other maintenance was scheduled for later in the week! Though, from outside St V, the organ sounded like it was working just fine!

The Basilica of St George was founded by Prince Vratislav I. at the beginning of the 10th Century.

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It became a burial ground for the princes of the house on Premyslid. Look, here’s one now … (under the tabletop)

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This was church number six.

Then it was on to the Golden Lane. Along with everything else we’d already seen, this was a wonderful insight into how these buildings have been used through the various phases of history.

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Initially built in the 16th Century to house the castle sharpshooters and later used to house castle goldsmiths (a possible source of the name), staff and guards, at one point is also housed the castle alchemists (also a possible source of the name). The last inhabitant only moved out in 1952.

Upstairs was the most amazing armoury I’ve ever seen! (No, I haven’t seen that many yet, but I’m working on it.) We may have spent cash in this particular gift shop …

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We were out the bottom of the castle now, and it was cold, so we had a brief break to sample a traditional cinnamon pastry made right in front of us while we waited! So worth it too!

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The view from up here was remarkably good too! 😉

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Because I love you all and hear your requests, here’s a photo of Me and Himself. See how much I love you!?

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We were nearing the end of this particular adventure, and as we sat down over dinner, Beer goulash in bread (I need to perfect this recipe!) …

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… we took the time to point out to all my wonderful readers what some of our favourite sites were!

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All these things and more coming your way shortly!

Prague – Part 4

After a quick change of hotel (also highly recommended – the Bishops House) we made the great trek up the hill to the Castle.

All the streets in Prague look like this.

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Unless they look like this …

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… or this …

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… or this!

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And at the top, the Castle was just bustling!

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As we made our way through the front gates, and on to the grounds, we realised we’d missed being able to see the changing of the guards (every hour on the hour) by _that much!_ *holds finger and thumb together* So we watched it from inside the gates.

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Suddenly, before we knew it, we were in the inner sanctum, and there, rising up in front of us was St Vitus Cathedral!

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It is remarkably difficult to adequately express the grandeur of this epic gothic cathedral in photographs.

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But I tried anyway.

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After absorbing as much of it as we could, we headed back down the hill, vowing to return again before we left.

Tromping our little troop down the hill, we did manage to come across this twisted little stairway,

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… which promised two things. First was the promise of coffee. Second … Well, second was that within the complex which had coffee, was also housed the Alchemy Museum!

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I think Reginald and Rupert may have gotten in over their heads!

Our adventure will continue tomorrow!

Prague – Part 2

There were some things about Prague I was prepared for, like the garnets, and the crystal. (Please note the flamingos and the goldfish at top left, none of which I bought.)

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Though I can honestly say I wasn’t quite aware of just how prevalent it would be!

What I wasn’t expecting (not enough research, obviously!) was the puppets and marionettes …

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… the black light theatres (Yes, there’s more than one. Yes, we went to a show.) …

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… and the cannabis absinth!

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So; a mellow psychoactive? I didn’t try any.

There was also a multitude of matryoshkas. This made more sense to me when I thought about it being a Slovak folk art rather than a Russian one.

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On with the story! We arrived early and checked in to our first hotel (Hotel Liberty – the nicer one for the visit, and one I can thoroughly recommend), and of course needed to dump our bags there until it was actually check in time until we could shower. So after a quick breakfast, it was off and out into the city to see what we could find!

With the help of the English maps which the concierge had given us (one each, just in case!) we made it to the Astronomical Clock at Old Town Square, and decided what we really needed to do, was head inside and up the top for the birds-eye view of Prague.

So in we all trooped to purchase our tickets. Then we just all stopped and gaped.

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The intricacy of the murals was breathtaking!

The view from the top wasn’t half bad either! Yes, it is another picture of the castle. I’m obsessed!

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On the way down there were opportunities to take guided tours through the Old Town City Hall, which is the oldest Town Hall in Prague and gave a nice insight of just how rich and mighty Prague once was. Of course we jumped at the opportunity, and I ended up in my first two churches of the Czech Republic. The first was down in one of the dungeons. Torture devices in one room; through a small doorway and massive crucifix and saints in the next.

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The cross was made from charred beams of the Town Hall and commemorates those who fell in a war.

But up above, we ended up in the small private chapel behind the Astronomical Clock. The tower was consecrated in 1381, and we were all brought to silence by the light streaming through the windows.

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Inside the chapel’s nave were the sculptures of the twelve apostles which promenade across the outside of the Astonomical Clock every hour on the hour. We managed to time it just right so that not only did we have the chapel almost to ourselves while visiting, but it was also on the hour. So we saw the clock working from the inside!

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Just as we were done and leaving, a tour group of maybe thirty under-twelve-year-old-school-children all trouped through talking at high pitched volume as only bored school excursions can. We counted ourselves very lucky indeed!

Then it was back to the hotel for check-in and shower time!

Prague – Part 1

With the kitties shiny new passports we were able to dump them in a cattery, and jump on a train to Prague! (We are loving parents, I swear!)

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As an amusing side note, we managed to forget our own passports and may have had just a small international altercation and possibly a fine going over the first German border. (Yay for friendly German Police!) (Yes, you read that sentence correctly!) Good thing we were still awake for it given that it was a sleeper train! But we were never asked for our passports again the whole trip. So there you go.

The word that kept coming in to all our minds was “awesome”. The city was AWESOME. Such a magical fairytale city that truly looked like it had been pulled from the pages of my childhood storybooks.

The buildings are so …

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… highly …

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… ornamented …

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and around each corner, another turret or spire piercing high into the sky (Church of Our Lady before Týn – 14th Century)!

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Then wonder of wonders, the Astronomical Clock (1410).

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Then high on a hill, overlooking it all, there’s Prague Castle (870 – kinda).

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And the Charles Bridge (1357 – better photos to come) connects it all together.

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I have been over …

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…and under …

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some of the oldest buildings in the world. And I can’t even remember how many churches I’ve been in! We’ll count them together shall we? (Yes Mum, this time I got photos for you!)

Now I’m going to share that adventure with all of you!