09.28.2011 - 09.28.2011
On Wednesday morning, I took the train back to Prague for the last day of my trip. I checked back in to the Betlem Club Hotel and then spent the afternoon at Vyšehrad. Vyšehrad is a complex of buildings, a park and the national cemetery. Legend has it that in ancient times, a princess looked out over the land and predicted that it would one day be a great capital city. The first royal castle was built there along with other buildings and it was all surrounded by a wall. The wall, a couple of gates and many of the buildings can still be seen today.
The Tábor Gate:
The Leopold Gate:
St. Martin’s Rotunda:
The complex is on top of a hill, so there are some nice views of the city from there.
The cemetery contains the graves of some of the most famous and important Czechs including Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana.
There is also a church – The Minster of Saints Peter and Paul.
The Brick Gate is also part of the original wall surrounding the area.
Underground beneath the Brick Gate is a series of tunnels that were used for military purposes. I took a tour through the tunnels. The guide only spoke Czech, so it was a little difficult to understand what was going on, but there is one room down there called Gorlice Hall. Gorlice Hall holds some of the original statues from the Charles Bridge that had to be replaced by replicas because of their condition.
The tour ended with the guide explaining something in Czech that everyone else seemed to think was really funny. Then, she walked away and everyone else stayed. The next thing I knew, the lights were turned out and I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. Everyone on the tour was left to stumble their way out of the tunnels in the dark. I’m sure they were all thinking, “Ha ha. That American girl sure must have been surprised!” I was very happy to see daylight after that.
I spent my last evening in Prague by having dinner near the Charles Bridge and then taking a walk along the bridge. It’s really beautiful to see at night. And, it’s kind of peaceful despite all the people.
I was sad to be leaving this city that I had really grown to love, but I was also looking forward to being back at home and seeing my family. It was a remarkable trip that I will always remember. I would love to go back again – especially to Prague and Tábor – and, I would love to take some of my family with me. Who’s ready to go?