Second Full Day In Prague

Sunday, October 18, 2009

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Today was a day of day of churches and tram rides. I spent the best part of the day on Prague’s Castle Hill, which proudly displays several palaces, courtyards, and churches with wonderful views overlooking the colorful city of Prague and all of its orange rooftops. St Vitus Cathedral ( photo above)  was the most stunning and also is the resting place of King Wenceslas ( of the Christmas carol fame) along with many other noble men of their day. Took 500 years to completely finish this church. Also saw Loreta Church with its beautiful “Santa Casa” ( like a little chapel). Then I sought out the interesting sculpture of “Wenceslas Riding an Upside-Down Horse” to round out the day. 🙂 Lesson for the day – don’t guess which direction tram you should get on , especially if you know your sense of direction is not the best. I have a dozen excuses why, but in the end, that’s what I did- rather than look it up, I guessed which tram to get on. I was wrong. So I had a nice city tour which basically took me back to where I started and I started over – going the correct direction this time. Tomorrow is my last day in Prague. Gotta wrap up everything I haven’t seen yet – its going to be a busy day!

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King Wenceslas Tomb

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Golden Lane on Castle Hill

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Loreta Church’s Santa Casa

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Wenceslas on Horse

First Exciting Day In Prague

Saturday, October 17, 2009

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OMG, if there was only one time you could travel abroad, I’d say you have to go to Prague. It is the city you will fall in love with. Everywhere you look are beautiful buildings, inviting squares, interesting neighborhoods, and it’s all full of history and energy. I spent the day meandering around the Old Town again, popping into a couple of old churches, made my wish on the Charles Bridge as legend says you can……, walked thru the Jewish Quarter , which wasn’t the best pick of days seeing as it was Saturday – their Sabbath and everything was closed-but I’ll go back! Then I walked by the crazy building “Dancing House”, thru one little narrow street after another just exploring and then found myself strolling along the fast moving Vltava River just soaking in the scenery. There was no rain and no wind today, (thank goodness) plus I discovered a great cure for frozen fingers ( its hard to wear gloves and shoot photos): hot mulled wine – sold just about everywhere. Warms up those hands pretty darn quick. Oh, and I might have stepped in a shop or two…….
I keep pondering what my dear friend Amy told me before I left – “just buy another suitcase to bring home the souvenirs you bought!”

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Fred and Ginger

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Make A Wish on the Charles Bridge

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Bohemian Glass Everywhere…

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Thought Provoking Street Art

Prague, Czech Republic Arrival Day

Friday, October 16, 2009


The 5 hour train ride to Prague was very relaxing with a good part of it was along side the Danube River, very scenic with the little towns on the river banks and the snow up in the hills.

Prague is fantastic! It is everything everyone says is it. There are not enough superlatives to describe how beautiful the city is with all of the different styles of architecture. And I haven’t even begun to see all the hot spots yet. Prague escaped WW II damage ( actually I think they had one building that was hit) so all of it is original. Plus, being the very touristy spot that it is, its also filled with shops and food, etc, etc,. My hotel is wonderful – just steps away from the Old Town and the famous St Charles Bridge. It was raining this afternoon, again, and cold and very windy – made me totally understand why the Russians wear those Dr. Zhivago hats. : ) ( Which is sold on very street corner btw). So I just spent my 1st few hours here walking around, taking  photos and trying to get acclimated. Well, that’s the start of Prague – more to come in the next 3 days……

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Guess what they eat in Prague?

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Astronomical Clock on Old Town Hall

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Beautiful Architecture Everywhere

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Riverside Enjoyment

My Last Day in Berlin, Germany

Thursday, October 15, 2009


The zoo is a great way to start the day in Berlin, even if it is sleeting . My prime purpose was to see a real panda bear for at least once in my life. Berlin has 2 – although only 1 was out today. But that was enough. He was adorable!!
Very friendly also – he kept coming up to the window ( his area is enclosed with glass ) and then walking over to his food bowl – as if to say – out of all you people can’t somebody feed me? After the zoo, I hopped onto the SBahn to see more sights -a few obscure ones today – the sight where the Nazis burned 20,000 books in 1933, a funny looking little church called St. Hellwigs, and a ” ghost subway station” that was boarded up during the Cold War and not used for almost 30 years until the Wall came down. So, today it looks basically the same as it did in 1931 when it was built with the old green tile on the walls and the old signage from that time period. Then the warmth and dryness of the museums finished off the rest of my afternoon. So, Berlin comes to a happy close and tomorrow I am off to Prague. Tonight I will be cramming to learn the Czech money system. 😦

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St Hellwig’s “tea cup” Church

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Ghost subway station

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Jeannie at the end of the day.

Berlin, Germany – A Full Day to Explore

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Busy day I had ! Saw the well knowns of course – Brandenburg Gate, Reichstagg, Checkpoint Charlie, (only the actual checkpoint building and site – the museum’s line went down the street), the Memorial to Murdered Jews (which is incredible!), the Victory Tower which is huge and Hitler had it moved from its orginial location (!), a stretch of the remaining Berlin wall which is at the area where Hitler’s Gestpo and SS had their command center. The command center was bombed of course and its been decided to always leave that area in rubble , but there are many exhibits to read. Then I went in the Jewish Memorial – I knew it would be heart wrenching but I really wanted to see the building . It was built with weird angles and windows with the purpose to disorient you. To say the least, the purpose succeded with me – I had to leave after seeing about a third of it. Also saw the TV Tower Hitler had built – ugly!), twin churchs in the beautiful square , and walked by the Hotel Aldon where Michael Jackson did his imfamous ” baby dangle”. Those were the highlights. I also found out that the hotel I’m staying in used to be the Nazi Chamber of Commerce. I thought the building was a little creepy 🙂 Then at the end of my sightseeing, I was on the bus, held up in traffic, and we had the front row seats to watching the EMTs fish some body out of the river. Tomorrow, I need something light hearted – maybe the zoo?

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Brandenburg Gate

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What Remains of  the Berlin Wall

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Memorial to Murdered Jews

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On a lighter note – Mercedes kid’s peddle car

only 189 Euro.

Berlin, Germany, Arrival Day

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009


It’s exciting to arrive in Berlin! It’s a huge city – their train station is the size of St. Louis’s airport, then, take your pick of public transportation – SBahn, UBahn, trams, buses, taxis – I always prefer my feet but this city is too big – I will have to figure out the bus schedules! SBahn to the hotel was easy as can be but the hotel desk person, tells me Bus 100 and 200 is for the tourists. : ) Guess my English gave me away. I did take the Hop on Hoff off Tour Bus to try and get my bearings – there is a lot to see!. I walked to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. After it was bombed in WWII, they left the ruins standing as a reminder. It’s full of photos of the destruction and also photos of the services they held in the ruins that Christmas. Then I walked down to Berlin’s largest and most expensive department store (for fun) Kaufhaus des Western, KaDeWe for short. It’s only real rival is Harrad’s for sure. It’s so large I easily got lost, just on one floor even!. (They have 7 floors.) Once I found my way out, I headed back for the hotel and stopped at the discount store to buy another fleece and another pair of gloves. No rain in Berlin, but its COLD and WINDY. Thought I’d add another layer to the 5 I already had on today. I know as soon as I buy a real coat, it’ll warm up. Ok, that’s it for my arrival day – stay tuned for the 2 full days to come.

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Church before the war

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There are bears everywhere.

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Ampelmannchen Stop Light

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Communist Building  and Propaganda  Mural

left over from the Cold War Days

Last Day In Dresden, Germany

Monday, October 12, 2009

Skyway

The motto for today was ” Get me out of the Rain!” Cold, wet, windy, nasty, chill to the bone day. Good museum day. Saw Dresden’s 1700’s Treasury Collection – lots of priceless “stuff”, including, my favorites: gems and gem-decorated stuff – to put it simply. I started to count how many diamonds were in the collection and finally gave up when the count was in the hundreds. The star of the show was the 41 karat green diamond (pear shaped) which was mounted with 411 other “smaller” diamonds. Yes, it was beautiful. Tacky? Not in the least! Would it go with anything I have to wear? No , but I could go shopping. : ) Then I walked down a few of the streets known for the ugly buildings that were built by the communists -blocky, plain, drab, and stumbled upon a shopping mall ! It was dry and warm and I had a great sandwich -salami, pickle and butter on some kind of funny bread. It still amazes me – people have their dogs with them everywhere – even in the mall. And 98% of those dogs had on rain coats. St. Louis dogs are under dressed. Tomorrow morning I am off to Berlin.

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Dresden Porcelain, VERY $$$$$$

Nice
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Crown Gate – Entrance of palace of the past / now museums.

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Dresden still under construction from WWII

Arriving in Dresden, Germany

Sunday afternoon, October 11, 2009

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Dresden Opera House

Arrival in Dresden. I have never seen anything like Dresden. Their Historic Old Town was bombed flat in 1945 and has been rebuilt like the original. Very impressive. Except there are also lots of ugly buildings still around that were built under the communist era. I arrived kinda late in the day for decent photos, plus the cloudy, drizzling day didn’t help. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for photo shots. I did walk around enough to get my bearings though and still had time to go thru their “Old Masters” art collection before darkness was creeping in. Tomorrow is a full day in Dresden – looking forward to a day to sleep in, no trains and sightseeing at a leisurely pace.

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18th century tiles survived bombing

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Catholic Church for 5% of population

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Communist Mural on Building

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Left over communist building

Alex Train Ride to Dresden, Germany : )

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Sunday Oct 11, 2009

Rare treat this morning – I’m in 5 seat private compartment all to myself ! And I’m on an Alex Train! So each of the seats bare the name of my son. : ) So, here I am, my stuff spread out all over the place, I’m plugged into my ipod, singing and bopping to the music. The people on this train will never see me again, who cares if they think I’m one of those crazy Americans? There’s one song you have to get up and dance to and that’s ” This is How a Heart Breaks” by Rob Thomas – ( No. Its not sappy). But I guarantee you’ll get up and dance and burn some serious calories!

OHHHH, little bit of excitement on this train too – some guy just got taken off by 2 policeman. Looked like a nice kid too – but looks can be deceiving! 🙂

Yes, trains are the way to go, some one else does all the driving, I can do whatever and surprisingly the time goes by really fast. Here comes by stop – I got gather my junk!!!

OK, I’m on my connection now. On an ICR train this time – don’t think I’ve been on one of these. Very interesting – the 1st class car is the SAME car as the train engineer’s!!!! I’m sitting right behind him ! – No kidding! The only thing that is separating us a double glass door. No high security measures here! I can watch what he does, except , of course for what his body is blocking. He has curtains he can close but they are wide open. I can see directly out the front of the train. Actually, not sure I want to see out the front of the train after what happened on the way to Regensburg.
Also he has an open book sitting on his dash – I sure hope he doesn’t intend to catch up on his reading this journey!
(Actually it looks like the train schedules book – it looks real similiar to mine.) (Thank Goodness!). But no private compartments, so no dancing this leg. ; )

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Regensburg, Germany , A Full Day to Explore

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009 


Beautiful city with its colorfully painted buildings. Regensburgs is called the city of towers because there are 19 old patrician mansions that built their own fancy towers plus the city built quite a few. It sits on the Danube River and also has an old ugly gothic cathedral. Although, its that river and the steeples that always help me know where I am while I’m exploring so ugly gothic cathedrals aren’t all bad. There is the Stone Bridge that was built in the 12th century where I took a lot of these photos- great views of the pastel city lining the Danube. There is also an impressive palace here that was built by 2 princes , Turn and Taxi for anyone whose in a googling mood, that started the postal service in the 18th century. Their palace is now open to the public, which I didn’t go in but I did walk the grounds which where beautiful. It was a combination botanical gardens and sculpture park and it had just started to drizzle which really made for a delightful walk. I am happy the temptation of the French pastries are gone, German food is so bad, you only eat to survive here. Although they do have way too much gelalto ……. I do miss everyone but emails and skype are a wonderful substitute! Thanks to all for keeping in touch with me!

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Beautiful Pastel Regensburg

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Bratwurst and ledenhosen at the oldest wurst grill in Germany.

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Patrician Mansion with Tower and Walkway.

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What the Heck??

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