We’re on the road again! Learning so much and loving it! After a direct flight (with only one return from the runway because of a water pump problem) to Paris, we had six hours to wait for our flight to Prague.
You know you’re in Paris when you find this in the rest rooms at the airport! These doors have been hand painted to make you feel that you’re in the French countryside with fields full of lavender (see the changing table attached to the wall?) It was complete with birds singing while you “rest”!
We were greeted at the Prague airport the day-chair of our event, Pavel and his driver and some beautiful flowers. They whisked us to the owner/manager of a beautiful hotel in downtown Prague who just happened to be the President of the Chapter here. We love being inspired by these good people who are always starting a new business that no one else has thought of and feeling their excitement for the joy I their lives…..much of which is their families!
After a good night’s sleep (I’m speaking for myself.l Dad was awake until 3 a.m. from the reveling in the street by the customers of a nearby bar), we were greeted by a guide who was a walking encyclopedia and took us on a walk through the wonderland of Prague. It may truly be the most beautiful city in Europe. The history is as fascinating as the city is charming!
This country has been in the turmoil of war for many centuries and as it turns out, the good ol’ Swedes did more damage in the fray through the years than either the Russians or the Germans (although they took their terrible toll as well). The Czechs had just won a world cup ice hockey game against the Swedes the day we arrived and everyone was still celebrating. Finally….revenge! (grin).
Madeline Albright’s new book, Prague Winter gives a wonderful rendition of the history of this country. Without going into all those years of information, I’ll jump to the first time that this country was finally able to get out from under communist or a dictator's rule and stand on it’s own was in 1989 during the Velvet Revolution, a non-violent revolution led by poet and revolutionary Baclav Havel. By 1993 Czechoslovakia decided, also through non-violence, to divide into two independent countries: The Czeck Republic and Slovenia. The distance they have come in economic welfare and democratic rule in 20 years is remarkable!
I don’t know how to make a collage even though several people have told me how but I forgot almost as soon as I learned so just scroll through the following photos which are a collection from my camera, my phone and dad’s phone. It was simply magical!
Our view flying over the gorgeous yellow fields of grape seed (used to make oil). Up close and personal they are almost fluorescent yellow!
Beautiful flowers that were handed to me at the airport!
At the Prague Castle gates, watching soldiers exit the gates just before our entrance:
Always the remembrance of violence:
The view from Castle Hill”
The entrance through this ancient wall to Prague Castle, which surrounds the Prague Cathedral!
The crowds were enormous!
Doors with history encapsulated in bronze:
And incredible sculptures of men and gargoyles everywhere:
Inside is the most stunning stained glass that we’ve ever seen. Even though we couldn’t get close enough to them to do them justice, the plethora of yellow light in each one symbolizes the Holy Spirit shedding light and the unusually large clear glass windows symbolize the Holy Light of God. Simply spectacular!
I wish you could see this one above better because it has been called the most beautiful stained glass window in the world. The realism was fantastic!
One of the most amazing things concerning light was the natural light outside! I have to say that it was cold and windy but the dark cathedral against the rippled blue sky took my mind off of how much I was wishing for my warm coat!
The red roof-tops and the beautifully manicured gardens are something to behold!
The river which is crossed 17 times by bridges is called The Mouldau which is also the name of a wonderful composition written by one of the Czech Republic’s most famous composer,Smetana. It can be heard being played by street musicians all over the city.
Our tour concluded with a walk across the famous Charles Bridge, built in the 1370. It is cluttered with street vendors but also has magnificent renditions of people and events that formed the history of Prague.
So much history, so little time! Still, we were happy to enjoy a lovely outdoor lunch and soak in this gorgeous gate below as we sat protected from the wind and kissed by the sun on a magical day we’ll never forget in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!