After the Old Jewish Cemetery and a little bit of wandering and shopping, we took the tram up to Prague Castle. Even though I had read about Prague Castle before the trip, it wasn’t at all what I expected. In fact, I think I had this idea before I went to Prague that Tyn Cathedral was actually Prague Castle. They are in completely different locations. Prague Castle is actually a complex of different buildings, including Saint Vitus Cathedral, the Basilica of Saint George, and several old palaces. You can choose to go on a long visit (including pretty much everything) or a short visit (including just the highlights). We opted for the short visit, since it was already late in the afternoon.
But first we had to get there. I had read that it was a beautiful walk down to the cathedral, so we took the tram one stop up and walked in. It allowed us to see some of the amazing buildings nearby (and to grab some lunch first).
(Remember how I said the sidewalks had all different patterns? There are a few on display in this post.)
We happened to arrive at the castle at the changing of the guards. You could tell because there was a huge crowd. Of course.
I am a believer in being a tourist. But I also got kind of tired of tourists (even though I was one, too), and I’ll tell you why. People like this guy.
Obviously everyone was trying to get pictures/video of the changing of the guard. You can see that everyone is crowded around doing it. And what does that guy do? He stands right in the middle of everyone’s view. In fact, he was so in the way and wouldn’t move when the guards were coming out that they had to physically move him aside. That’s why people hate tourists, and I left Europe determined not to be that kind of tourist.
Let’s get back to how awesome the changing of the guard was.
I’m a sucker for pomp and circumstance and tradition. And those booths they stand in are pretty great, too.
Once inside the Prague Castle complex, we went straight to Saint Vitus Cathedral. I have already visited a few cathedrals on this trip, and it seems like I liked each one better than the last. And that might be true with Saint Vitus. The stained glass was so vibrant.
It’s the kind of building that can’t help but inspire awe and reverence. Unless you’re these kids.
We walked through the old palace (no photos allowed in there and it was basically the main room) and then went to the Basilica of Saint George, which is quite a different kind of structure than the cathedral, but no less impressive.
I was really excited about the Golden Lane because it looked so quaint and charming. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but most disappointingly, it was really shady and crowded and hard to take pictures. And I hate to admit it, but my enjoyment of a place is highly correlated to my ability to take photos there.
So we just went outside. Lots of people were gathered around, and apparently there is a boy scout equivalent in Czech.
Either that or this troop has the best field trips ever!
There was an incredible view of the city from up at the castle. It was the perfect place to linger for a while and just enjoy the scenery, the weather, the joy of being somewhere amazing.
And then we walked down the stairs through the Prague Castle Gardens. Mostly we did this out of laziness because I didn’t want to have to walk all the way back up to the castle entrance. There is a separate fee to walk through the gardens. It’s not very much, but we had minimal cash with us. Luckily I was able to scrape together the entrance fee, but I had to dig into my foreign coin reserves to do it (I always try to save a sample of coins from different countries). I think it was worth it, and in fact, I wish we had taken more time walking through it.