Though the temperature is supposed to be a bit warmer today, it is windier, making it fairly cool, but that’s what jackets and hats are for! We took a tram down to a point where we needed to change lines so we could take another tram up the mountain to the Lobkowicz Palace. It is the largest castle in Europe.
As I mentioned yesterday, there was a seesaw of power (and castles) during Prague’s development, with the Lobkowicz castle the only one remaining intact through the various invasions and wars that took place. There is enormous history here, to which our short visit hardly does justice.
Inside the castle walls, after passing through the portal guarded by ceremonial dressed guards,
To the left is the entrance to an enormous cathedral, St. Vitus.
“The Cathedral is the third church consecrated to the same saint on the same site. Around the year 925, Prince Wenceslas (Václav) founded a Romanesque rotunda here, which after 1060 was converted into a basilica with three naves and two steeples. The importance of the church grew especially after the establishment of the Prague bishopric in 973 and the founding of the body of canons – the St. Vitus chapter, which later became an important cultural and administrative institution.”
Leaving the cathedral, back out into the wind, we walked down some of the many streets and alleys of the palace. There are a lot of buildings that aren’t labeled as being anything of particular interest, but there are obviously people who live in some of these, perhaps part of the caretaker staff.
We were in need of something hot to drink and found the Lobkowicz Palace cafe, which has a patio (we’ll sit inside thanks, except for taking some photos), but we managed to find something good to eat and some hot tea.
Almost seemed a shame to cut into it. Almost.
There were actually a few people sitting outside on the patio. There were space heaters and each chair had a blanket. Why anyone would want to sit outside , under a blanket, is beyond me. The view of the city and river below is panoramic. I’m sure in the spring and summer, it’s even more beautiful. But today, nope.
The Castle was restored to the Lobkowicz family in 2002, long after the Communist takeover, when the family fled in 1948.
The government is a parliamentary democracy, with a President (who lives in the Castle). Prince William Lobkowick, son of the King who fled the country in 1948, returned to his native country in 1990.
The Royal jewels are kept in the Castle , but only accessible with 7 different keys, held by seven different people, all of which must be present at the same time to open the vault. Obviously, it’s not open to the public.
Side note- Never seen a major city with so many Segways. Even saw a group today riding in the rain. We passed a Segway store. Apparently, there’s an “off-road” model with wider, “nubbier” tires.
Visiting Prague had been the most economic of any of the major cities to which we’ve traveled. Train fare here was really cheap ($17 each for a 5 1/2 hour trip), food is inexpensive, entrance fees to major attractions, where not free, is also very inexpensive compared to France, Germany, UK. Prague has a very efficient tram system that covered all of the areas we visited, and saved even more walking. A 24 hour pass was about $4. Interesting comparisons: Diet Coke Zero $1.36/1 liter. Czech beer $0.73/1 liter.
Unfortunately, our visit to Prague comes to an end today, as we leave tomorrow for Berchtesgaden. There is so much more to see and learn about the history of the city , the culture, the people of Prague that our short visit only barely touches the surface. Our last day here, late in the afternoon, it began to drizzle and provided a bit of a disincentive to get out to see a last few things. I guess we’ll need to come back!
More photos on Flickr.
Posts prior to moving over here to WordPress are at Blogger
Before we started out on our activities for today, just a note that I was able to install Sony’s updated Play Memories app on my Nexus 6P. This may be useful in a couple of ways, though limited in frequency of use.
The app allows me to remotely control my camera and shoot photos, etc. It does this by establishing a local WiFi connection between the camera (Sony a6000), which has WiFi, and my phone, without having an Internet connection. Secondly, I can transfer photos to my phone from the camera. The reason I’d do this is if I wanted to add the photo to Flickr. It is possible for the camera to upload directly to Flickr, for example, but you need to have internet access for the camera to connect (which I don’t always have) and changing the Internet connection info on the camera is a bit fiddly. You can transfer single photos, or all photos to the phone, (which would be ridiculous). You don’t have a multi-select option. Photo transfer is reasonably quick for one photo, but not something I would want to do frequently.
The app and camera (it has apps too) make this combination just a bit more interesting.
This has been your tech moment.
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