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We flew from Vancouver, non-strop on Air France to Paris, and transfered to an an Air France flight to Prague. The flights were fine, however, this holiday started like last year's with Glenn's luggage being lost. You would think with all the scanning of luggage etc that takes place that if would be more difficult for luggage to go missing. When reporting lost luggage, despite all the systems, no one can really say where it is.
Here is a case where a hotel has an advantage over an apartment. It can just be dropped off at the hotel when found. With the apartment, someone has to be home to accept the delivery. That aside, we enjoy the apartment living over hotels where that can be arranged.
Next time I think the carry-on bag probably has to carry more than camera equipment! Day two starts with a shopping trip to get some clothes. In the end, luck was with us and the luggage was delivered the next day.
Picking an apartment is all about location, location, location. Our apartment was fantastic from two perspectives. It was beautiful in design. The value of traveling with others is that it opens up a broader range of locations as the cost is split.
We were located about a block and a half from the Old Town Square,which is the center of the historic district. Prague is stunning. The historic center is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site has been described as a "3D architecture textbook". Despite being mid May, the town was very busy with travelers. It is not a "day-trip" city where at the end of the day all the travelers leave by bus to go on to the next location. The Old Town Square was packed. The area around the Prague Astronomical Clock fills up on each hour as people wait to see the hourly event.
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From the Old Town Centre we would talk down to the river, pass through the Powder Gate, one of the original city gates to the town, and cross the the famous iconic Charles Bridge. The bridge is known for its many fine old statues.
At the other end of the bridge are two gate towers that lead to The Lesser Quarter. It really means the Little Side and refers to the town that sits below the castle which is smaller than the larger old town center on the other side of the river.
Up the hill is the Prague Castle which towers overall the area. The Castle is the former home of Bohemia's kings and now the official residence of the Czech Republic's President.
Glenn had two visits to the Castle. On his first, he tripped on a small ledge, fell and destroyed his camera lens. Ouch for the fall and ouch for the expense of replacing the lens.
The Castle dates back to 970 AD, is was a walled fortress with a series of buildings within the walls. One of the noted structures is the St. Vitus Cathedral, located in the Prague Castle, is the Czech Republic's largest and most important Christian church. It was impressive and do climb up the cathedral's 97-meter main tower for great views. Yes, climb even if you have a quasi broken hip!
After the fall Glenn headed back home on the Tram. It was painful enough with a soar hip, but the pain would be too much to walk with Mike, watch him take pictures! Luckily there was a large camera store open on the Sunday. There were four floors of camera equipment. Easy. Pick up a new lens and all the required accessories like a polarizer etc. --- $2,000 later walk out of the store and return to the castle for what was left of the day.
Just walking around Prague is enjoyable. There were numerous quaint streets and scenes to capture. We even stumbled by accident on the Lennon Wall, built as a tribute to the former musician and peace campaigner, John Lennon.
But in addition to the told, there is stunning new architecture. The Dancing House (Tančící dům) is an outstanding building completed between 1992 and 1996 by star architect Frank Gehry. It consists of two adjoining towers. There are splendid curves that resemble two dancing figures, an effect heightened by the fact one of the towers is shaped like a woman wearing a skirt (hence the nickname, "Fred and Ginger" after famous American dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers).
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From Prague we traveled by private driver to Vienna, our next stop. We did stop at the Hrad Cesky Sternberk Castle. It is a 13th Century castle, considered one of the best preserved. Owned and still lived in by the family.
© Glenn & Karen Marcus
my travels in france, italy and beyond