Prague!

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I don’t even know where to start!

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View of St. Vitus and Prague Castle on our way to Strahov Monastery.

Thus far, the Czech Republic has been absolutely amazing… beyond amazing to be completely honest! They are so welcoming and accommodating to us Americans, that they have my deepest gratitude (there’s nothing like a language barrier and flailing your arms about trying to communicate to someone who is just as baffled as you are. It’s deeply humbling. I recommend it to everyone, seriously). We’ve seen some pretty amazing sights, had some delicious food, and astonishingly smooth and refreshing beer (it was the first thing I ordered off the plane!) and I can’t help but want more of this culture!

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A post from Instagram: First meal off the plane, Potato Soup and Dark Czech Beer! (No, this is not the same as American Budweiser… SO much better!!!)

Entrance to the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady at Strahov Monastery.

Entrance to the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady at Strahov Monastery.

We spent the first four days in Prague, the capital, and mecca for all things touristy and historical. Our first full day, Josh had to work and so I spent the day with Josh’s boss’s son, who also came along for the trip. We explored the city together and conquered the trolly system- seeing Czech everywhere for the first time, all the words sort of ran together for me for the first couple of days…

Strahov Monastery Library

Strahov Monastery Library

Our first major stop was the Strahov Monastery- for the library and the beer! Who doesn’t love monks who brew beer?? Two of my favorite things! It’s amazing to me, as an American who’s country is still in its infancy compared to this region, that this abbey was started in the 1100’s! That’s so much history to bear witness to! It was one of the first Natural History Museums- ever- and was so intricate and ornate I just HAD to pay the 50czk (Crown) for picture rights! The two main halls, Theological and Philosophical seemed to be straight out of a story book. I’m not even kidding around here, it was almost definitely magical.

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Philosophical Hall at Strahov Monastery. I can still hardly believe I took these photos. It’s truly magical here.

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Theological Hall at Strahov Monastery Library. Totally worth the 50czk I paid to take the picture, right?!

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The Xyloteka- Each of the 68 volumes features one tree common to the area. But these aren’t ordinary books! If you look closely, the spines are made out of the bark of the particular tree that book is about. And there are no words in these books, instead inside you’ll find leaves, branches, flowers, roots, fruits, and pests found in the trees! Inside the spine you can find the written description of the trees. I found these profoundly beautiful and an amazing showcase of art and craftsmanship.

On our way out of the monastery, we popped into the Miniatures Museum. Totally a tourist thing to do, but we thought, why the heck not? It was full of strange things- like a bible verse printed on a hair and miniature paintings by masters (Van Gogh, Matisse, etc.) that you needed a magnifying glass to see. Like I said, it was a bit strange but I’m glad we did it.

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After a quick bite of Mexican food (Josh would later refer to it as Czech-xican…) We wandered around for a while, getting a feel for the city and took in some more sights, like the dancing building they nicknamed “Fred & Ginger” a tribute to the dancing duo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Roberts. As well as the Charles Bridge, Old Town, and the Astronomical Clock. Even if you don’t pay for a single tour in Prague, there is plenty of unique architecture around- everything from the Romanesque, Baroque, Renaissance, Cubist, and of course, Communist styles are all abundant in Prague. Just look up!

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“Fred & Ginger” along the Vltava!

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Gothic Statue we stumbled upon in a park. Still need to try and look this one up…

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The oldest working astronomical clock in the world! Built in 1410!

Close up of the astronomical clock...

Close up of the astronomical clock…

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Entrance to the Charles Bridge (this is a MUST see by the way- and sorry about the rain on the lens, it’s been raining off and on here)

The next full day, all four of us spent at Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. But I’ll leave that for another day, since we spent a whole day just touring the grounds and castle! I’ll give you a sneak peak though….

Overview of Prague, and yup, that's the Charles Bridge!

Overview of Prague, and yup, that’s the Charles Bridge!

This trip has been incredible to say they least, and as my first trip outside of the U.S. it’s certainly a memorable one. I’m so glad we had the chance to come and visit a place so rich in history and culture- it’s been an absolute dream! We’re currently about 2 hours away from Prague, near the German and Polish Borders, and I can’t wait to get back to Prague this weekend!

What have you folks been up to? Any big trips planned? Have any of you been to Prague? I think I’ve officially gotten the travel bug! 🙂

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