Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why doesn't everyone speak english?!

As you all know Brett and I went to Prague a few weeks ago. It was amazing! Amazingly beautiful and amazingly cold!!! I have never been so cold in my whole life. So after buying hats and gloves and scarfs we were off to explore the city.

Brett served his mission in the Czech Republic and spent 2 months in Prague, so he remembered where a lot of things were. Which is kind of amazing since it was 9 years ago that he was there. We took an overnight train from Frankfurt to Prague. At first I was terrified, after hearing lots of bad stories about people being robbed on over night trains. But once we got on the train and ended up having the sleeper room to ourselves, it was the greatest night sleep I have ever had. Sure it could have been because I was exhausted, but I think it was the gentle rocking of the train. Ahhh, it was heaven.

We got to Prague around 11am. It was a beautiful day, the only day of sun we had the entire time we were in Europe. We walked from the Metro station to our hotel, which was on a tourist street in the area called Lesser Town. We were just below the castle and our hotel room looked right up at it. The first day we toured around the castle and walk to the mission home. Brett was excited to visit the mission home. I've never been to a mission home, so it was cool, but the elders there were kind of lame and not super nice. And why is it ok for elders to wear stylish skinny pants but sister missionaries have to look like nuns?

The street our hotel was on. We were not very observant and walked all the way up this very long street and steep hill while pulling our luggage, trying to find our hotel. Once we got to the top and didn't see it, we asked someone. Yeah, it was near the bottom of the hill. Oops. All I can say is it was a good workout pulling that stupid bag on the cobblestone streets.

From our hotel window

The castle

St. Vitas Cathedral, inside the castle

Inside the cathedral

It was so cold inside here that we could see our breath. I would have hated to have to go to church in this building.


When I got to Frankfurt I put my hands in my coat pocket and found one of Gwen's binkies. It was fun to have a little reminder of her with me the whole trip. We thought it would be funny to take pictures of the binky everywhere we were. So here's the bink in the cathedral.

We also crossed Charles Bridge for the first time that first day. It is so beautiful, but they were doing construction on the bridge, so the tarps kind of blocked the view.

Day 2 we went to Usti Nad Labem to visit a friend of Brett's. Unfortunately we didn't get to meet up with him, so we looked around the small town and then took the train back to Prague. Brett will post more about Usti later, so here is just one picture of the city. Just like everywhere else we went in Prague and Frankfurt there were McDonald's, Burger Kings, and KFC's EVERYWHERE. It's kind of sad that America's crap food has made it all over the world.

By the time we got back from Usti it was almost dark. Brett hadn't ever seen the sights at night, so we ventured back up the hill to see the castle and the Cathedral. It was beautiful.

This is Gold Street. It used to be where a lot of the kings alchemists lived. Now it's a continuous row of shops. You go in one shop and can walk all the way to the end without leaving a building. We went to see it during the day, but now you have to pay to even go down the road during the day, so we didn't do that. But it was neat to see it at night. Kind of creepy. The buildings are hobbit sized, so it was even more creepy, but still totally cool.

This was a really cool sign for a restaurant on Gold Street. We need better signs in America.

Brett hadn't been on European time as long as I had, so he was still having trouble getting sleep during sleep hours. The next morning he woke up really early and decided to go take picture along the bridge. They are beautiful.

This staircase was on Mission Impossible. The whole bridge was really.

Later that day we had a walking tour of Prague. My friend Lindsey suggested it and we are so glad she did. It was awesome to learn the history of things. Maybe it wasn't such a genius idea to walk around for 5 hours when it was below zero degrees, but it was fun! We have never been so cold in our entire lives. Never. Ever. Not exaggerating!

We met our tour guide in front of the Astronomical clock in the part of Prague called Old Town. It was really cool. Every hour on the hour the 4 sins , vanity, greed, death and something else, animate and the clock rings. Death rings his bell and the other statues barely move. Then the 12 apostles take turns looking out the windows above the clock. That's not a great explanation of it, but it's cool to see. The really amazing part is that it was built in 1400 something (I think) and it shows the stages of the moon, the time of sunrise and sunset, everything a farmer would need to know.

The last day we were there we walked 10 miles! TEN MILES! We walked all around Prague to see everything we might have missed. This is the National Theater. It's beautiful.

This is the Lennon Wall. It's awesome and the largest group of Americans we saw was at this wall, which was funny and totally expected.

These are the stairs to walk up to the castle. They are never ending, I was glad I'm in shape. I didn't really have a problem climbing them, Brett on the other hand, got winded really fast. HA! We just saw these on a commercial the other day to!

Ok, so I had to take this picture! I was waiting for a really cute guard to rotate in, but it never happened. It was totally awkward. He knew I was there and taking a picture of him, but I didn't feel like I was allowed to talk to him, so that's why I was making a funny face.

Along the river

The Dancing House

Wenceslas Square- a very expensive shopping and business square. The large building behind the statue is the natural history library. It was beautiful too. We went in but it was too expensive to go through it. We tried to take some pictures, but the guards wouldn't let us. Apparently part of Mission Impossible was filmed inside. Cool.

Brett used to set up street displays on this square.

This is back on the Old Town square. I stood in one spot and Brett went around me in a circle taking pictures. It's an amazingly beautiful place. Everywhere you turn there is something awesome to see. We also went to see the Mucha exhibit in a museum just to the back of the square. Brett was in heaven and probably could have spent a few hours just looking at all of his prints.

Funny story. We were on Charles Bridge and we asked this guy to take our picture. He took the camera from us and started to take our picture. I asked him to kind of move to our left to get more of the city behind us. He said, "trust me, this will be good." So he took this picture.

Good? Yeah. But then he took this next picture. After he took it he said, "yep, this one was better." hahaha. Ok, maybe you had to be there. It would be even better if Brett's eyes were totally open.

Our last dinner was at a really cute restaurant near the Old Town Square. We walked in and the only tables available were a 4 seater and a VERY small 2 seater. So we sat at the 4 seater so we could be comfortable. A few minutes later a couple with 2 small kids came in. The server said the only thing available was the tiny table in the corner for 2. So they sat there. It was comical seeing this family of 4 squeeze into that small table. So Brett and I gave them our table. When we went to sit at the smaller table, we realized just how small it was. It was a freaking sewing table! My Nana had one I used to play on when I was a kid. It had the peddle and all underneath, which meant there was no room for our legs. As uncomfortable as the table was, the food was delicious and it was fun to be there.

After we left the restaurant to walk back to our hotel, Brett made me walk down this scary street. Most of the streets look like this, so it wasn't really that scary, but still. I told him my mom would be pissed if she knew he was taking me down this street at night!

Beautiful shot of the castle from the other side of the river.

Walking across Charles Bridge there was this man playing the violin. It was totally romantic and a perfect end to our perfect trip. A special moment that we will never forget.

And to ensure that we will return to Prague someday we rubbed the statue for good luck. The superstition goes that if you rub this statue you will return, we rubbed it every time we passed it.

We had an amazing trip and we feel so blessed that we were able to go. I started writing this post a while ago and in the meantime we received a letter from Brett's friend that we missed while we were there. It was heartbreaking. He was so sad he missed us and it made that part of our trip even more bitter. We have agreed that we will go back to Prague for our 10 year anniversary, and our main objective will be to see Vladamir.