Blogography Logo
spacer

   

Day Eight: Prague to Karlštejn

Posted on March 27th, 2010

Dave!Last night I made plans to visit Karlštejn Castle, a popular tourist attraction about 20 miles south of Prague. And since I'd rather be punched in the face than pay $50 to join an organized tour bus group, I decided to go it alone via train.

After walking across the river and making my way down to Smichov Train Station, I bought my $4 round-trip ticket and then tried to find "Track 3" that I was supposed to be on. Except none of the tracks are numbered!! Not only that, but the reader boards only show the one train that's next to go... none of the trains afterwards! So I'm guessing the plan is that you run around from track to track until you find the train you're supposed to be on (hopefully you know the end-of-line city for your journey, or I guess you're fucked).

After finding my track by dumb luck, I thought the day's strangeness was over.

But this is me we're talking about.

And so there I am getting settled in my lower-compartment window seat when this guy comes walking down the aisle. When he gets to my row, he pauses for a second then continues on. The compartment is completely empty, which is nice, because I don't have to worry about a gum-smacking whore sitting near me. But then the guy comes back and sits down... right next to me... IN AN OTHERWISE EMPTY COMPARTMENT!

Not exactly sure how to react, I flash him my "seriously?" look. His response was to say "I am lonely." Not knowing exactly what he means by this, my only reply is "Uhhh... yeah... sorry, but I LIKE to be lonely," and then I headed to the upstairs compartment. On the up-side, he was a young good-looking guy, so it's nice to know what my options are if I should ever change teams.

Karlštejn Castle is quite a hike from the train station, but I didn't mind (hey, it was nothing compared to hiking up to Petřínská Rozhledna last night!). The castle itself is nothing extravagant, but still nice. The most interesting thing about my visit here was the weather. It started out pretty crappy...

Karlštejn Castle

But a half hour later it's an entirely different story...

Karlštejn Castle

No photos were allowed inside, of course.

The castle was founded by King Charles IV of Bohemia, and one of my favorite things about my visit was learning about his patron saint, Saint Catherine. The legends about her vary, but she pretty much kicked ass all around. After converting to Christianity in her teens, she went to the Roman Emperor Maximus to try and get him to stop persecuting Christians. The Emperor refused, but was taken by Catherine's beauty, and decided she should marry his son. After meeting Catherine for the first time, the son converted to Christianity. Upset at this news, Maximus sent his wife to talk Catherine out of her foolish religious ways. But instead, Catherine converted the wife to Christianity too. Outraged, Maximus had both his son and wife sentenced to death, and decided he would marry Catherine himself. In a final effort to have her give up her faith, Maximus sent fifty wise men to Catherine in order to make her see reason. That didn't go so well, as she converted all fifty of them to Christianity too. Maximus was beside himself with rage, and sentenced all fifty wise men to death, and decreed that Catherine would be tortured and killed on a breaking wheel. Except when she touched the wheel, lightning came down from heaven and demolished it. Left with no other option, Maximus eventually beheaded her, making her a martyr and eventual saint.

When I returned to Prague, I decided to hike up to Vyšehrad Castle, which is just south of Old Town. The locals I spoke with recommended the area because it doesn't get nearly the tourist traffic of Old Town. As an added benefit, it has a bitchin' cathedral and the views are pretty sweet...

Vyšehrad Cathedral

Vyšehrad Castle View

But what I liked best was the cemetery and its statues. I took quite a few shots with a wide range of exposures in the hopes that I could make some nice HDR photos from them...

HDR Angel at Vyšehrad

After walking most of today and yesterday, I had blisters on top of blisters and my legs were aching so bad I could barely move. I decided to take a Special Pill and lay down for a couple hours to recuperate a bit. By the time I had dragged myself out of bed and wandered back into Old Town, the rain we had been promised finally arrived. As expected, Prague is every bit as beautiful when wet...

Rainy Prague

The hotel manager suggested a vegetarian restaurant called Lehká Hlava (I think it's supposed to mean "Clear Head"), which is a kind of a Mediterranean/Spanish/Mexican fusion place that was unbelievably good. So good that I would gladly fly to Prague again just to eat here. I had hummus and tortilla chips followed by a quesadilla-type dish that was out of this world...

Lehká Hlava Restaurant in Prague

For dessert, I had to grab me yet another Trdelník. Usually I avoid foods with the word "turd" in the name, but these are so delicious that I just can't help myself. Bread dough is wrapped around a thick stick, baked over hot coals, then dipped in a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, nuts, and toffee bits. You then unroll it to eat, and it's just as delicious as it sounds...

Trdelník Shop

Since it was my final sunset in the city, I decided to take my Trdelník and walk across Charles Bridge one last time. The rain had stopped, but the cobblestone streets were still wet, which always makes for nice photos...

Charles Bridge at Night in Prague

Charles Bridge at Night in Prague

Across Charles Bridge at Night in Prague

And now I suppose it's time to pack my suitcase. Whee.

   

Day Seven: Prague

Posted on March 26th, 2010

Dave!Today was a glorious day in Prague, and so I took to the streets early so I could snap a few photos.

I ended up taking 537. Most all of them keepers.

The problem with Prague is that you start out all excited because everything is so pretty. It's like "ZOMFG! That building is so pretty! So you take a photo, walk 100 feet, and then "ZOMFG! That building is so pretty! Then another 100 feet, then another, then another... and just when you think that Prague will run out of pretty buildings, you suddenly realize that you've walked two miles and that Prague will never run out of pretty buildings, so you just give up in frustration.

I did go back and take a photo of the Hard Rock Cafe in daylight, because it is a very pretty building...

Hard Rock Cafe Prague

But they all are, really...

Prague Pretty Building

Prague Pretty Building

Prague Pretty Building

Even the clocks are pretty...

Prague Astrological Clock

I'm sure that the Pooferflargen Museum is pretty, but I didn't really feel like looking at a bunch of "sex machines" before lunch...

Pooferflargen Sex Machine Museum

Speaking of pooferflargen, Prague seems to have a disproportionate number of naked men statues. You'll be walking along minding your own business when WHAM! Some statue guy is hanging out all "How you doin'?"

Prague Pooferflargen Statue

But it's not like you have to worry about it killing your appetite, because Prague restaurants do that all on their own...

Jellied Meat + Beer Restaurant Sign

All I can say is that it had better be a LOT of beer, because I can't imagine there being any circumstances that I'd want to eat "jellied meat" unless I was very, very drunk.

After my non-jellied-meat lunch, I decided to walk across Charles Bridge so I could visit Prague Castle. It's a really cool bridge that's flanked with creepy-awesome statues...

Charles Bridge in Prague

But those statues pale in awesomeness compared to a statue that hovers above Prague Castle's main entrance gate...

Prague Castle Statue

It's like the city of Prague wants to be very clear that not only will they cut a bitch if somebody pisses them off, but that they are more than happy to stab people in the back when they do it. That is so shark-extreme I just can't stand it.

Prague Castle is dominated by the St. Vitus Cathedral. It's a very nice church, but pretty much like a lot of the other large gothic churches I've been in throughout Europe...

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle

St. Vitus Cathedral Interior

After walking fifty miles cataloguing the pretty buildings of Prague, I decided to go back to my room so I could take a Special Pill to keep my legs from falling off before I headed out again for sunset. I figured I'd take a tram to Petřínská Rozhledna (Petřín Lookout Tower) and snap a few photos of the city at sunset. It was a great plan, except the funicular tram that goes up the hill was out of order...

Funicular Tram Petrin Hill CLOSED!

Which meant that I had to walk another fifty miles uphill and THEN climb 299 steps up the tower. I don't know if it was all worth it, but I did get some pretty pictures...

Prague at Night

Prague Castle at Night

And then came the real challenge... climbing back down the hill.

At night.

With no lights.

I could barely see anything, and ended up having to use my iPhone to illuminate the trail a couple times. Not that you are ever confident which trail to take, because they're all unmarked (of course). I ended up removing the memory card from my camera and buried it in my pocket so if I were to survive being raped and stabbed on the unlit trail, I'd at least have my photos to show for it.

But I wasn't raped or stabbed, so I stopped by "Mystic Pizza" (!?!) for dinner. I remembered seeing it earlier in the day as I was climbing up to Prague Castle...

Mystic Pizza PRAGUE

Now, up to this point, the weather had been fantastic. Clear skies and nice temperatures. But when I left the pizzeria, a thunder & lightning storm came out of nowhere and unleashed a torrent of rain. The jacket I had on wasn't exactly waterproof, which meant walking the fifty miles back to my hotel while getting soaked to the bone.

Checking out the weather forecast, it's supposed to pour buckets all week long. I know I should be upset about that, but after being so incredibly lucky with the weather today, I can't find it in me to be unhappy about it.

Besides, I'm sure Prague is equally pretty in the rain.

Tags: ,
Categories: Travel 2010Click To It: Permalink  17 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Day Six: Bucharest to Prague

Posted on March 25th, 2010

Dave!My flight out of Bucharest wasn't until 3:00, so I decided to hire a driver into town and visit the National Museum of Art of Romania. They are famous for their medieval art, which is great, but I've seen so much medieval art that it's all kind of blending together for me. What I was really interested in was their modern art wing, because I'm not very familiar with many Romanian painters in the genre. I wasn't expecting much, but it would give me something to do until my flight.

The traffic in central Bucharest was brutal, largely because of a teacher's strike going on. At first I was worried that I had made a mistake...

Teacher's Strike in Bucharest

Until I made it to the museum and was completely blown away by the amazing works housed within.

I have been to a lot of art museums all over the world, and I can honestly say that the National Museum of Art of Romania instantly became one of my favorites. Not just because it's a nice museum (which it is) but because I absolutely love the collection of artists they've assembled. It's just one breathtaking work of art after another...

National Museum of Art of Romania

I am not joking when I say that this museum is worth a trip to Bucharest all by itself. It's just that impressive. Highest possible recommendation...

National Museum of Art of Romania

My flight into Prague was delayed a bit, which meant I landed at the height of rush hour. The route my driver had to take into town to try and avoid the worst of the traffic was a mind-boggling array of twists and turns that looked like a pretzel on my iPhone GPS map. By the time I arrived and caught a tram into Old Town, the sun had just set.

Not that I'm complaining, because you get some great photos at that time of day...

Prague at Night

Prague at Night

Prague at Night

I have been trying to arrange a stop in Prague for the better part of two decades, because people are constantly telling me what an beautiful city it is. Having seen photos, I knew they weren't lying, but it's taken to an entirely new level when you're here in person. The city is simply beyond beautiful. It's so beautiful that if I were a local, I'd wear a T-shirt that said "YES, WE KNOW OUR CITY IS FUCKING BEAUTIFUL... WE LIVE HERE!" because I'm sure they get tourists telling them how beautiful the place is all day long.

I can't wait to go to sleep so I can wake up and explore Prague in the daylight.

But of course I had to visit the Hard Rock Cafe Prague first...

Hard Rock Cafe Prague at Night

Like just about everything else in this city, it was beautiful.

   

  Home  

spacer
Welcome:
Blogography is a place to learn and grow by exposing yourself to the mind of David Simmer II, a brilliant commentator on world events and popular culture (or so he claims).
Dave FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions
Dave Flickr Gallery:
Dave Contact:
dave@blogography.com
Blogography Webfeeds:
Atom Entries Feed
Comments Feed
Dave Social:
tumblr badge me! Blogography Tumblr
instagram badge me! Blogography Instagram
pinterest badge me! Blogography on Pinterest
translate me
flags of the world!
lost & found
Search Blogography:
thrice fiction
Thrice Fiction Magazine - March, 2011 - THE END
I'm co-founder of Thrice Fiction magazine. Come check us out!
free iphone app
Ask Dave iPhone App
Put Dave in your pocket with this FREE app for iPhone and iPod Touch. All life's answers await you with the Ask Dave app!
hard rock moment
Visit DaveCafe for my Hard Rock Cafe travel journal!
travel picto-gram
Visit my travel map to see where I have been in this world!
badgemania
Blogography Badge
Atom Syndicate Badge
Comments Syndicate Badge
Apple Safari Badge
Pirate's Booty Badge
Macintosh Badge
license
All content copyright ©2003-2017
by David Simmer II
   
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
ssl security
Comodo SSL