February 25 – March 2, 2018
We arrived at Prague’s main train station mid-day for a five day adventure in the capital of Czech Republic. It had been 20 years since my last trip to this beautiful city and the first time Daniel and Francesca would experience it. Our Air B&B was located a short distance from our arrival point near Wenceslas Square, so we made our way there by foot. We were greeted by our host who gave us a demonstration on how to gain entry into our building. First we had to gain access to the corridor that linked the buildings from one block to the next. Then to the door of the building we were residing in during our stay. Our host and his partner showed us around the apartment and gave us some recommendation on where to eat and where to get the best hot chocolate in town. Since our little one was still feeling a bit under the weather we decided it would be best for her have a bath and rest for the remainder of the evening.
In the morning I was excited to stroll the city so we bundled up and headed out for some site seeing. Europe had been experiencing a cold front and it was well below freezing, we walked the streets for a bit but the cold was to much for us. The temperature was about -15℃ which is about 5℉ and Francesca expressed her discomfort with the subzero weather so we headed back to the house. Luckily we had several days in Prague so we didn’t have to brave the frigid weather all day. We decided that we would stay in for the rest of the day playing with our precious princess. We made plans for the following days making sure we included some things that Francesca would love to do, like getting a warm cup of melted chocolate at Cafe Louvre one of the oldest running cafes in Prague. Cafe Louvre was very elegant in design and absolutely beautiful, the service was great and the food was delicious. Oh yeah, and the melted chocolate was thick and tasty. After breakfast we took Francesca to the park so she could play.
The week we were in Prague the temperature never reached above 25°Fahrenheit. We typically wouldn’t leave the house until late morning and would be out for several hours until we couldn’t stand the cold. We would layer Francesca up in several pairs of pants and multiple shirts then a sweater before putting on her snow pants and puffy winter jacket. She had gloves, a hat and a blanket to top it off. Everyday was the same routine before we headed out. Traveling in the winter with a child can be a difficult, your always concerned if their warm enough and then your concerned about getting them to a restroom in time to remove the copious layers before there is an accident. Even though we had been potty training for a few months we opted to put a diaper on her since we didn’t know where we were headed nor if we would be able to find a toilet in time.
Exploring the city, we visited several of the historic sites including; Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. We also saw the Powder Tower, Dancing House, Tyn Church, Mala Strana and a beautiful Synagogue. Daniel really wanted to see the astronomical clock on the Old Town Hall but it was under renovation so all we saw was a large picture of it hanging from the scaffolding. Francesca chased birds and bubbles in the old town square. We visited The Lennon Wall, which has changed over the years due to people defaced the original mural and added there own tags, even though its illegal. Beatles’ songs were being covered by a local musician who stood in front of the wall, we stood for a while listening to his acoustic renditions. Although the mural has morphed over the years, the giant John Lennon face is no longer there and bad graffiti has been tagged on top of amazing art there is still a solemnness that fills the air as swarms of people come to take photos.
On our walk to the Prague Castle Francesca expressed that she wanted to go to the play ground. She had remembered where it was located from one of our earlier walks. So we spent some time at a little park next to the Charles Bridge watching our little princess climb up and down the ladders and sliding down the slide. She waved to the people passing by. After our play ground time she fell asleep in the stroller as it bounces around on the cobblestone streets as we made our way to the castle.
On our way up the steep road we noticed a few shops with marionettes hanging in the windows. The art of puppetry is still thriving in Czech Republic, as well as several other counties in Europe. There is a great since of pride in making and designing these amazing puppets. Each one has an emotion and tells a story through costume and facial expression that have been careful painted on it’s sculpted face. The shops carried hundreds of magnificent hand crafted marionettes, each a pure works of art. They came in all shapes and sizes; there were animals and people, some happy or sad, some frightening and some fearful. There were mythical creatures and magical wizards. Kings and queens as well as jesters and peasants. Anything you could imagine could be found. I wanted to get one for Francesca but didn’t want to carry it around the world, then remembered I had bought one for my father 20 years ago that had been stored away. It would be perfect for her when we returned to the States.
Prague is an absolutely amazing city. If we didn’t know better we would have thought we were walking through an old european movie set. The historical buildings throughout the city are magnificent works of art; intricately designed and hand carved with a mixture of both baroque and gothic style. Some had marvelous murals painted on there old brick. Everyday walks turned into magically wonderment as we gaze with awe at the architecture. We didn’t mind getting lost for ever corner we turned reveled a new marvel to gaze upon. Prague is also known for it’s amazing hand blown Bohemian crystal glassware which was featured in many store front windows, you could spend hours window shopping as you wound your way through the city streets.
Our last afternoon we spent walking to a metal forging shop that Daniel had found. He was searching where we could find moldavite since Czech is home to this special extraterrestrial stone. Although you have to travel quite a distance outside of Prague to find large quantities we were able to gaze at some pieces of this amazing stone not to far from the city center. I cannot recall ever seeing faceted moldavite before but these jewelers crafted beautiful silver and gold pieces with multi-faceted stones in their shop. Daniel bought me a celtic inspired silver necklace with a faceted moldavite piece in the center, its beautiful and a great piece to remind me of our time in Prague.