Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Czech Republic-Day 3 The big surprise.

Sorry about the delay.  We had an unexpected trip to the police station last night and didn't get a chance to fill in the blog.  I will start here and get to that incident later in this blog.

The morning was typical.  We got our breakfast and head out ready to start the day.




I was trying to think of all of the cardio that I was getting on the way to our destination.  It took some doing to even consider doing all those stairs and then walk all day too.  But I managed to smile considering what was waiting for me......


yep..........


You know the drill......


Prague is so rich with history that they even have sculptures in the subway stations........


We were going to have to catch three modes of transportation to get to where we were going.  This is the second stop on the way to the subway surface car.

Chris wasn't sure of the directions at this point and stopped to double check with a local vendor.



You gotta love the willow trees........:-).


After finally getting to our destination I was able to snag a shot of one of the many stops we would be making.


As we walked toward the courtyard, we were amazed at how well the soldiers maintained their composure even after Chris took one of their pictures.....hahaha.  


The square was huge, but we were ready to take it on. Our tickets included 8 or 9 buildings and was good for two days! yay!

 He is trying to show you our tickets and our pass to take pictures.  Oh, yes they charge for those too.


We hadn't been there that long when we realized we missed the changing of the guard.



the royal musicians.......

And there it stood.  So large that no matter which way I turned the camera, I simply could not get the whole building in the lense.  Welcome to St. Vitus Cathedral.....:-).  They started building this in the year 1334 and completed it in 1929!


Most of the Cathedrals from medieval times were adorned with gargoyles and angels as it was believed to scare off evil spirits.  It is hard to see them in the picture, but these are about 3 feet long and have had to be supported by medal straps and supports.



This is the main hall or entrance........


There's my baby trying to capture all of the beautiful things in his camera......


Cathedrals are often also serving as the final resting place of many Roman Catholics that had a place of prominence in the church during the reign of the Holy Roman Empire.  Prague was considered the seat of the Holy Roman Empire at one time.  This is the tomb of a cardinal (I think) who is buried here.  Others have placards on the wall but their remains are not here.
 

I wondered how long it took just to do this thingee with the spiraling staircase inside of it??



Here is another view of the opposite side of the room........


the place is huge!  And as you can see, there are various sculptures adorning the walls......

  

Here is a close up of one.  This was as close as I could get with my little lens.....



On the second floor was the pipe organ.  We were not allowed to go onto the second floor......


This area was roped off and no one could get closer than this.  I used my zoom too!  There were men at work doing a restoration of this.  I could not tell if it was an altar or a crypt.  I think it is an altar.


Here is a sculpture of the Arch Angel Michael killing the dragon.


We did not have the privilege of hearing any of this in English.  It was all written and spoken (by tour guides passing by) in Russian and Czech.  But it appears to me that several people are buried here or have at least been memorialized here indicated by the placards on the wall.  There is at least one Knight buried here.


This is also a Knight who apparently lost his head in battle. He was born 1092 and died 1194.  Not an old man by any stretch of the imagination.



Some of the crypts were in the floor.  We saw this before in Austria when we visited the catacombs.....



I tried to look this person up.  Of course it was in Czech when the page came up and the translation was not that great.  But as far as I could tell, he was an Archbishop who became a martyr of the Catholic Church and he was entombed here once his body was recovered from the river.  The dates are 1345-1393.  He was only 45 years old.



But he went out in style when he was entombed.  This is his crypt.  Solid silver and gold with marble and precious stones.  There were guards standing by....I wonder why....ha. I inquired as to whether he was buried in the top of this or the bottom.  It was a bit of charades since the guards on speak Czech.


He (at least I think this is what he said) is entombed in the top half that you see here.  The silver casket is his final resting place.


I happen to see the Czech Coat Of Arms which had been painted on the cathedral wall many years ago.


We spent quite a bit of time in there as we sometimes like to read the placards and things even if we can't understand them.  It was a way for us to practice our Czech language....:-).  The grounds also had several cafe's and shops dotting the landscape.  This is the outside of a toy shop that we passed.

 

by now, our breakfast had worn off.  Both of us were running out of steam and needed some coffee to keep us going.



Well, and maybe some desert too.......:-).  It helps when the menu is in English as well.


Chris ordered a bowl of goulash and I ordered a chicken wrap.  I didn't like it because the chicken had been deep fried and then put inside a wrap after having been refrigerated.  I guess it was eating a bad batch of chicken nuggets that had been wrapped in a fajita wrap and stuffed with lettuce and  tomatoes.

 

There was much to see, so as soon as we were finished eating we got back in the groove and continued on walking.....


Here is a rear shot of the cafe we had just eaten at........


Our next stop would be St. George's Basilica.  When they excavated the area they found that almost the entire thing was a crypt with several remains.  they tried to preserve the area.  Some of the tombs had these tent looking things over them that I thought was very curious.  Chris concluded that they like to go camping!  hahaha  (shaking my head).


Here is a picture of an area that had been excavated


They had a picture posted of the work that had been going on and the different area where they found the remains.  These are ancient ruins in the area.

On the way out of the church we saw this elaborate memorial.  What was interesting was that the remains of the person was right under the structure in a display case for all to see.  They call these "holy relics".



There was quite a few feet between the public and the memorial and it was roped off, but I tried to get a closer shot of the encasement.  I know for some this may seem morbid.  But it is not meant to be.  Many religions honor their dead in different ways.  It was also believed that having the relics (body parts or personal articles) of martyrs made the place where they were housed more honorable and revered.


Somebody needs some coffee!  hahahaha


There is a street in the background of this shot called the "Golden Lane".....we had no idea why it was called that, but we were both too tired and wet to find out.  It had begun to rain again.


Well, might as well have a strudel with it......:-).  She heated it up for us too.  It was very good....:-)


After our coffee break we continued on and passed this shop that was already getting geared up for Christmas.  I'm thinking good heavens it's only September!  But as they say; "the early bird catches the worm"!


the royal guards were seen from time to time patrolling the areas.



One of the buildings in our list of building on our ticket was the Institute for Noble Women.



They had some before and after pictures and also this large courtyard area with a bistro set up.  I'm telling you, those bistro things are everywhere!


The doors were very elegantly adorned and this is a picture of the ceiling in the main hall.


They used period furniture and clothing articles to give a general idea of how a Noble woman would have lived here and what she used the room for.  she would study here, meditate, and take care of personal hygiene in her room.


This is a toilet that would have been in the corner away from the bed.  They were also provided with chamber pots and water basins with pitchers for washing their hand, etc.


this was an area that would have been used to have tea, etc.


Or to recline and read.......


And there was an area where they could write letters, etc.


This is the view of Prague from a window in the institute.......


another view of the city from up above......



There was also this portrait of Archduchess Carolina-  ( and a lot of other territories as well).



She was a beautiful lady......:-)


They had a little write up on  her......


This is the main hall........Those statue that you see in the background are the same ones that were on the top of the building I showed you earlier.  But these are plaster cast of them.


Here is the dinning area.......




ok, we are both bushed!  Time to go.......


We got to one of the lower levels and was able to take some shots of the city outside......



But we still had that very long walk down the stairs all the way to street level from where we stood.  And it took quite some time!


On the way down, there were two musicians who were playing their instruments.  At one point, they started playing Tango music.  Since Chris and I had studied Tango a year or so ago, we decided to give it a whirl while they played.  We didn't know that we had drawn a crowd until we stopped and people started applauding us! haha.  We have been known to break out in a Tango dance in Walmart or in a parking lot, but usually no one else was around when we did.....hahaha.    



We finally reached the bottom and hit street level.  Our subway surface car was just across the street....I could not believe I was getting hungry again.  But, decided to keep going....



I saw this statue, but was too tired to walk over there to see who and what is was.  Chris decided he would go while I waited.


We got half way home and things went terribly wrong from there.  It was rush hour and the transit was very crowded.  Standing room only.  A good place for a professional pick pocket.  yep, the made off with Chris's wallet.  Fortunately, there was no cash in it.  I had the cash in a security pouch under my clothes with our passports, my credit cards, and ID.  It was such a ruckus that took place on the train and it happen very quickly that it is hard to explain.  It was an old man working with two younger men.

He reached in Chris's pocket just as the doors opened and got off the train.  Chris said..."hey!  My wallet!" the two younger men said there on the floor"!  Of course we turned around and looked on the floor of the train which was about to take off and the two disappeared into the crowd  with the older man heading in a different direction.
But the old man was the one who was standing right next to Chris and Chris gave chase to the man who had gone up a fast moving escalator.  But to know avail.  By the time he got to the top, the man had disappeared into the street.

Our first thought was to make a call back to the Canada and the states and get the cards canceled as quickly as possible.  After struggling with terrible internet connections for almost an hour, he was finally able to get through to Canada and I used Skype to call my assistant and have her call the bank and cancel Chris's card. They were happy to help us!  We did learn that just that quickly, two cash advances had been attempted but failed. So, technically the thieves  didn't get away with much except his driver's license and health card.

The good thing in regard to the drivers license is that we had both gotten international drivers licenses before we left Canada for the purpose of renting scooters when we traveled abroad, but decided not to rent them.  Otherwise, making the drive back to Canada from the US which takes us 6 days or more trailing our bikes would have been quite a challenge for me.    Anyway, next stop was to the police station to file a report which we were told was protocol even though there was NOTHING that could be done.   It was after hours, so we had to ring the bell. I thought only Canada did stuff like that!      

 
We waited a good twenty minutes before we were able to get someone's attention.  Well, guess what the next problem was.......NO ENGLISH......ugh!



Chris motioned to the officer what had happened and the officer gave him a "basic information sheet" to fill out.  Fortunately, I had our documents with us....


then of course they have to find someone who could speak English at which point a female officer emerged from the back room.  That took another twenty minutes at least.  She takes our statement and of course it has to be translated into Czech or Russian!  haha.  Ok.....I guess we get to wait again.  Then the address was wrong, etc; and I asked her to make the corrections.  She said she would, no problem.  That was another 20 minutes at least.  By now, it's dark inside and outside.......

and we wait some more.......


FINALLY we are able to leave and take a copy of the report with us.  We had not had dinner and it was 8:00pm.  I hate to eat that late in the evening, but would have awakened in the wee hours of the morning starving.  Anyway, we were leaving now.....


Really......

At this point, I was NOT in a good mood.  I was tired, Chris was tired and most assuredly feeling violated and mentally spent.....
 

We got back to the hotel and decided to just eat at the hotel resturant.  I ordered bar-be-que chicken wings with garlic spinach and potatoes.....


I think I might try this one at home.....it was very good!


The bar-b-que was NOT what we would call bar-b-que in the states.  But it wasn't bad.



Chris ordered a crepe or what they call a pancake with spinach and other stuff inside.....
 

and of course his desert which this time was tirimisu....without the "su"...it seemed to be mostly cream and not much cake.


and that was the end of a very long day.  We went to bed exhausted, but grateful to God that no "real" harm had been done.  We had managed to get ahead of the thieves and get things taken care of before they could do any real damage.  We talked about whether we would have a day of rest or finish out our tickets which had another day left on them.  We decided to finish our tickets!  We came to celebrate our anniversary and by golly we are going to finish what we started!

stay tuned!

2 comments:

Scootard said...

It was a busy day my darling, & a dramatic one at the end. Manage to make it through though. Couple more days in Prague back to the States. Are you ready to go home? I wish I could hold that little weasel.

Trobairitz said...

Wow, so scary to have been pick pocketed. So glad they weren't able to use the cards.

Good thing you had the passports and such on that inside pocket. Smart thinking.

I hope the rest of the trip goes smooth.

The pictures sure paint a beautiful place. That cathedral was a sight to behold. I can only imagine the work that went into creating it. People have amazing skills.