We spent a few days in Prague, and it is definitely one of the most beautiful cities we've seen yet. Very old, and medieval looking, along with a lot of classical architecture as well. We had so much fun in just a few days and saw so much that we have to put all the pictures from the first day inside this post. So you'll have to click "Finish Reading" to read more.
The train ride was about 4 hours, and Elora made friends with a nice Czech girl who spoke about as much english as Elora spoke german. Elora repeatedly asked her, "Wie heisst du? What's your name? My name's Elora." in english and german over and over again until the girl's parents told her the girl's name was Anaka. The girl also shared a few different types of hard candy, which Elora started to eat and then discretely walked over to us, spit it out and went back to play -- how polite!
On the first day in Prague we just walked around everywhere to get to know the city. Unfortunately we really did walk around everywhere because the first thing you learn about Prague is you end up walking in a lot of circles as none of the streets are straight and they are all narrow. Here's a nice church we found on our walk. Actually a lot of the churches we came across were closed. So apparently they actually use a lot of their churches here....
Outside of the town hall was a nice rose garden. Elora enjoyed running around and smelling the roses.
Here is an interesting mural we came across painted on one wall near the National Theater. We have our own thoughts, but does anyone else care to interpret?
This is a really neat old fountain next to the river. One of the neat things about Prague is there are all these old spires, towers, and fountains just scattered about the city. So it was a good thing we walked in a lot of circles...
Here is an odd statue Elora found. It was labeled Franz Kafka, a writer famous for really descriptive and odd stories who was born in Prague.
Next we found a Chocolate Museum (or as they say čokolády muzeum). As we always love to eat čokolády we thought it would be good to learn about it. The museum showed the history of chocolate in South America and how the Europeans made it better by adding sugar to it (instead of chile like originally). But it took the Europeans 300 years after learning about chocolate to actually make bricks of sweet chocolate like we do now.
Here is a hot chocolate cup with a mustache shield to prevent "milk mustache". Neat! The museum said drinking hot chocolate was so popular that a Bishop had to ban it from church as all the women were having it served to them during mass. The ban didn't last long as the bishop was murdered with poison in his hot chocolate. What a great story. Religion vs. Chocolate, who wins?
Ollie was very happy to be out of the stroller after enjoying his chocolate truffle free sample (which was amazing). What's with the el-cheapo signo on the display? They just slapped an 8x11 sheet of paper on it... and they didn't even pick a nice typeface.
After our trip through the museum we had to have one of these. It cost the equivalent of 10 bucks. But it was worth it... We weren't supposed to put ice cream on the belgian waffle, just chocolate sauce, whipped cream and strawberries. But Chris insisted. The waitress was very proud of our creation and showed it off to her co-workers before serving us. Yes, it was messy.
Near the end of the day we found the Old Town Square.
It's funny it took us all day to come across the square because we were staying in an apartment right around the corner. Narrow, crooked streets....
This was our favorite part of the city and we kept returning back to it every day to let the kids run around.
Chasing birds is always a favorite activity for Elora. There were people feeding the birds, so we told Elora not to scare them away. She quietly walked up to the birds and then couldn't restrain herself any longer!
Oliver joined in the fun too! He loves looking at animals and gets excited whenever we pass one in the stroller. Now that he could actually teeter his way towards the birds he was ecstatic! Here is a video of Oliver "chasing" the birds along accompanied by Czech folk music. He is so cute!
More of the square, mobbed with people. Amazing city.
We think this church might be St. Peters. But Prague is like Provo, there is literally a church on every street corner. Except the churches look nice in Prague...
Here's the old clock tower dating back to the 1300s. The clock is so intricate it keeps track of the days of the year, the seasons, holidays, every hour in a 24 hour cycle, signs of the zodiac, and a bunch of other stuff. Legend has it the town council gouged out the eyes of the clock maker after its completion because they were worried he would make another clock like it (or better) for a different town and thus take away from Prague's fame. So the clock maker, who was the only one who understood the inner workings of the clock sabotaged the clock just before he died. It took hundreds of years to figure out how to fix it.
Prague has all of these amazing buildings stacked right on top of each other, so sometimes you have to walk through one building just to get to another.
Oliver was excited to stand in the back of the stroller, something that was up until now reserved for his big sister. Hopefully it won't cause too much conflict in the future...
This church was closed by the time we arrived as they hold classical music concerts in them every night. Elora still insisted on walking up to the main door and knocking on it to see if anyone was home.
More amazing architecture...
Karen crossing over Charles bridge, which dates back to the 1300s and replaced a Roman bridge in the same spot that was even older. The bridge was flanked by old statues and filled with tourists and street vendors selling paintings, prints, and trinkets.
Elora taking a ride across the bridge as the sun begins to set.
This was the entry way to the courtyard of the apartment we were renting. The whole wooden section is a garage door big enough for a car to pass through with a smaller pedestrian door in the middle. Neat! The back side of the door is fortified with huge wooden beams... apparently they wanted to protect us from battering rams...
After a long long day, the kids fell right asleep. Elora actually got up in the middle of dinner and said, "I'm going to sleep" and walked into her room. This is how we found her 20 minutes later. Notice Dirty Teddy's tail is in prime position for grabbing... but she's too tired to hold on.