On the road – All around Prague

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We arrived in Prague on a sunday around midday. Getting there was not very difficult even though at the beginning we were trying to avoid highways to avoid toll charges. But when we crossed the border we realised that you didn’t need to pay toll charges for certain routes but rather needed a vignette for certain streets (that are not clearly marked by the way). And as the vignette for 10 days cost about 11€ we thought: well let’s just buy it and we can drive were ever we want. It took us about 2.5 hours to get to Prague and after checking into our hotel and parking our car at a 24h security parking, we started sightseeing straight away. We walked from our hotel, which was located a little east of the old city center and the Jewish quarter through the old city, up to the National theatre, over to the Lesser Quarter, up the hill to Prague Castle, back over the Vltava river through the Jewish Quarter and back to our hotel. Google tells me, that this, without detours, is a walk of about 10km.

We started by walking to the Republic Square (náměstí Republiky) checking out the gorgous Art Noveau Municipal House (Obecní dům) located there. Unfortunately you don’t get to see much of the inside without a ticket to one of the events there. Around the corner stands the Powder Tower (Prašná brána) which we used to get into the old city center and then walked to the famous Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) with the Astronomical Clock and the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn (Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem). The whole area is absolutely stunning, yet also absolutely packed with tourists and really annoying city tours on Segways.

 

We then tried to escape the crowds a little and unknowingly walked into the New Town (Nové Město) to see the National Theatre (Národní divadlo), a neo-Renaissance building with golden roof, alongside the banks of the Vltava River that we had already seen when driving into the city. We crossed the Vtlava river here (most legíi) and found ourselves, after passing over Kampa island, in the Lesser Quarter (Malá Strana) were we had a sneak peak into the Church of Our Lady Victorious (Kostel Panny Marie Vítězné) and checked out all those beautiful embassies (the German one that played such an important role in the German reunion 25 years ago by the way is further up the hill and we didn’t pass it). We did not pop into the Church of Saint Nicholas (Kostel svatého Mikuláše) because it cost quite a high entry price but rather stopped for our first Czech beer on the short side of the square in sight of Saint Nicholas. I tried to identify the place on google street view but I guess it is one of those places with closed window shield, so I can’t really tell you its name. I can just say that is was rather shabby but in a nice down to earth way, considering all those tourist places, and so were the prices. The beer was nice and the service was so too.

We then made our way up the hill to Prague Castle (Pražský hrad). On our way through the Lesser Quarter I had already seen people eating some weird rolled pastry thing that smelled super delicous. And on our way up the hill (Nerudova) we passed one of those Trdelník bakeries and I got a still warm pastry with cinnamon and sugar. It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and cinnamon, nuts or filled with Nutella. It was great and only about 2€! When we came into the castle we had the chance to see the St. Vitus Cathedral (metropolitní katedrála svatého Víta, Václava a Vojtěcha) at its best, at twilight. And even though we didn’t pay for a ticket because it was expensive, valid for different things and it was already 4 p.m. so not really worth it any more, we had a good look around the cathedral in the areas were we could go without a ticket. We then strolled around the castle and had a look into the Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička). Usually you need a ticket for this tiny lane too but as it was around 5 p.m. and with that after dark and you could enter the tiny lane for free.

At the end we left the castle through the back gate and slowly made our way down the castle hill. The views over night time Prague from here were spectacular. All those beautiful old buildings are nicely lit and looked great against the back drop of the Vltava River.

After crossing the bridge (Mánesův most) near the Rudolfinum we ended up in the Jewish Quarter (Josefov). The fact that it was dark so early paired with the distance we had already walked had made us hungry. We walked around the quarter for about ten minutes and then decided to have dinner early. We found a really nice and cheap place that was not touristy at all yet offered traditional food.  The place was not stuffy but stylish with a bike theme: the Kolonial in Široká 25/6 across the street from the entrance to the Jewish Cemetery. We both had two beers, Michael had Goulash in a bread loaf and I had Grandmother’s hopple popple (mainly because it sounded so funny. It was potatoe dumplings with Sauerkraut, Bacon and smoked duck and very tasty) and all that for under 20€ all together. If your are looking for a place near the Jewish Cemetery I can really highly recommend this place.  Finally we walked the last kilometer home and were pretty happy to have gotten a great overview over the city in just half a day and to settled in for an early night after that much walking.

On th road – Prague Josefov

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After our first big tour through Prague we started the morning with what we had finished the last night with: Walking around the former Jewish Quarter Josefov. It was really nice seeing these beautiful houses at day time: lots of pastels, floral elements and the like. Art Nouveau for the mass market, I would call it. Just beautiful.

It was definitively freezing so we thought: a museum would be nice. Unfortunately museums in Prague, like in many other places in this world, are closed on Monday. Except for the Jewish Museum (Židovské muzeum v Praze), which, naturally, is closed on Saturday. So we bought a a ticket for the museum and decided on taking the option without the Old-New Synagogue (Staronová synagoga). We started out in the Spanish Synagogue (Španělská synagoga) in U staré školy 1 with its impressive interior and learned a lot about Jews during the Nazi Regime in Czech Republic or rather Bohemia. We then went into the Klausensynagogue (Klausová synagoga) that borders the cemetery. Finally paid a visit to the Pinkas Synagogue (Pinkasova synagoga) with the names of all killed Jews in Bohemia and Moravia during the Nazi regime before we kind of queued our way through the cemetery. By the way: the entrance to the cemetery is on the other side from were the exit is, in the street called Široká while the exit is between Klausensynagogue and Ceremonial Hall (Obřadní síň), both included in your ticket, in a smaller street called U starého hřbitova. So I guess walking through the cemetery first and then visiting Klausensynagogue and Ceremonial Hall makes more sense than how we did it the other way round.

After this interesting but in parts very depressing morning we now headed to the Old Town again. After some time we were near the Charles Bridge (Karlův most) again. We didn’t actually walk it but just stepped on it quickly because we were looking for a place to have a late lunch. What we had seen on the side of the Lesser Quarter then day before did not spark our imagination. So we looked into our guide book and picked the on that read “At midday this place is packed with local”. U Provaznice lies between the Old City market square and Wenzel’s square near the subway stop Muztek in Provaznická 3 and really is a nice, down to earth pub. Of course they are used to tourists and have menues in different languages but the prices are good as was the food. By then I was already trinking lots of tea instead of beer because the cold that Michael had sported the week before had finally hit me hard in the face.

After our late lunch, is was close to getting dark again. That really is the pity when you go on a city trip in late October. At 4.30 p.m. light starts to fade and by 5.30 p.m. it is dark. But we used the last hour or so of light and walked up and down Wenzel’s Square (Václavské náměstí) one of the main squares in the New Town (Nové Město) and seamed by shops so we had a little look around too.

After that I felt really miserable and urged Michael to return to our hotel. Two hours of rest were a little help. But we checked our guide again because the first recommendation had been pretty good. Our next choice was even marked as a special tip.  Lokál is a huge pub with a very long room with tables running along one side and when we arrived at 9 p.m. it was packed and of course we hadn’t placed a reservation. But as Michael knows how to get a table anyway we just waited near the food bar and were in the waitresses’ way so long until they found a table for us.

 

Yarn along 47 – oh goodness

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I’ve been quite absent from my blog and from the Yarn Alongs lately. Have I not been knitting? Well I have been knitting for sure. But not as much as I used to. I admit, I have been painting my nails and concentrating on my nails blog a lot lately. And Wednesdays came and went and usually on Wednesday I would think: “Oh that was Wednesday again. I’ll join the next Yarn Along.” This Wednesday night I decided: “No, I will join the Yarn along again even if it will be Thursday by the time this post is finished!” And here I am.

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What have I knitting in the past weeks? I showed you my Standing Stones Cowl  in my last Yarn Along post already. Since then I finished my second girl’s dress. Or rather I did the upper part with collar and the sleeves and then let my MIL do the rest. It is really convenient if you can give away a knitted piece when it comes to the boring part. I just added another stripe and the hemline and did the cleaning up. Of course I would have done the increases a little bit differently but that is ok. It was a win-win situation. She participated in the gift for her grandchildren and I could do only the more interesting parts. So now I’m working on the upper part of the third dress. By next monday I guess I can hand that dress over to her too. And then my christmas knitting is done.

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Other than that I have been working a bit on the black red square socks. But honestly, I really dislike the projec. It just takes so much time. But I guess I should finish at least one sock soon so that I can start no.2 and then finish them one day. At the moment I can tell Michael that his socks come a close second after the christmas dresses but soon I need another excuse.

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One of my personal excuses is that I am also knitting on a new oversized sweater. I want to do a sweater like my seed stitch sweater just a bit longer. Oversized sweaters are fashionable right now and I do like them. This english rib sweater with a v-shape on the front should be really nice. It is just that oversized sweaters are always a bit of a challenge for me. I have something that you could call a sandshape figure if you want to be nice or big boobs and a big ass and a little fat around the belly (something I’m working against, soon…) if you wanted to be honest. This means oversized sweater, if they are not super huge, sit rather fitted around my bust and my hips. If they are not well made this means they make me look like a barrel and hide my best features. Well, I’m trying to make my sweater pretty loose and soft so it looks oversized and still moves around my body to show my features. It takes its time to finish it. We’ll see.

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The sweater  and the socks take their time because I have knitted a few hexipuffs in the last days but also because I decided that it is now finally time for a new hat. I could use a new hat when cycling to work. And my hat from last year is still a little warm. And because I had that one skein of Malabrigo Silky Merino in the colorway Cumparsita, I decided to use it. Now I’m making a Lotus hat and am pretty sure that I will manage to finish it with that one skein. You’ll get to see the finished hat next week (hopefully).

But now, let’s see what you did for this week’s Yarn along.

On the road – Passau

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Our next stop after the Allgäu was Thyrnau near Passau. We spent three wellness days in the Parkschloessl Hotel with very relaxing sauna hours, lots of sleeping and three meals a day. Now while it was very nice it was nothing really to write home about. The hotel and its spa area was very clean, but what was missing was a general line in styles. You could see lots of styles, from very traditional old style rooms and restaurant with lots of yellow and red to a turkish style spa and a few other mixes in between. And I have to say that the service in the restaurant was not very attentive and nice. Or maybe at least not to everyone. The food on the other hand was not excellent but pretty ok: Breakfast buffet, a small soup, salat and cake lunch and a menufor dinner.

On our last day there we went to nearby Passau with its Baroque old town for an afternoon. Passau was one city were I could have studied the same that I ended up studying in Duisburg. But I have to say I’m pretty happy I didn’t go there. The old town is really nice. It has a great cathedral with an impressive organ and lots of nice old houses as well as a castle on the other side of the Donau. But first of all there are masses of tourists roaming the streets. This most likely due to the fact that Passau is the starting point for river cruises down the Danube to Vienna and the like. Plus people here talk with an accent that I definitively have problems understanding them.

The city is also weirdly close to its two or rather three rivers, Danube, Inn and Ils. With the river being exactly as high as the river promenade, no wonder they are experiencing  bad flooding again and again. The last one occured last year and you can still see many closed shops and downstairs rooms being renovated. The water really seems to have been high.

An while we really got a liking for going to the sauna, we were relaxed enough to now cross the border to Czech Republic and to conquer Prague.

And what do you do today? We go to a monastry.

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I just realised that I forgot this post here from our last holiday. So before I start writing about our road trip I want to share with you a few more pictures from Portugal: After our first surf lesson, Ulrike and I had some extra power so we decided to go on another sight seeing trip while the others were still in the water. We chose a destination a little but closer to Praia da Area Branca: Continue reading