Prague’s Famed Charles Bridge & Vltava River #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday TravelsPrague’s bridges over the Vltava River are one of the most picturesque aspects of the city, especially the famed Charles Bridge, begun in 1357 and completed in the early 1400s during the reign of King Charles IV. Imagine that. This stone bridge has been standing for over 700 years!

Prague bridges

Prague at Twilight, view of Bridges on Vltava, copyright william87

We walked the bridge one afternoon on our way to the Czech National Museum of Music. It was the only bridge over the Vltava (Moldau in German) until 1841 and was the major connection between Prague Castle and the Old and New Town sections of the city.

Charles Bridge at dawn

Charles Bridge at dawn @ courtyardpix

The bridge is lined with 30 statues, most of them from the Baroque era, though today the statues are replicas. One of the most famous is the statue of Saint John of Nepomuk, the saint of Bohemia, one of the three provinces that make up the Czech Republic. who drowned in the Vltava. In 1393 John was thrown into the Vltava on orders of King Venceslaus, presumably because he was the queen’s confessor and refused to give up the secrets of the confessional. He became the first martyr of the Seal of the Confessional. He’s also considered to be a protector from floods and drowning. The stars around his head come from the legend that when his body hit the water, stars appeared. Touching the statue is supposed to bring good luck.

Saint John of Nepomuk

Statue of Saint John of Nepomuk

More photos of the river and bridges:

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Once we reached the museum of music, we wandered through the exhibits, mostly looking for old violins for research, but I used to play piano, so I had to stop to take some pictures of my favorite instrument.

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We enjoyed the afternoon excursion, very much, but our feet and knees were complaining long before we got back to the hotel. Prague is a walking city, but it’s not easy on the feet and knees! More next week.



Opera House to Eiffel Tower: #Paris #Sightseeing #TuesdayTravels

After walking the Marais District, we got back on the Metro for more Paris sightseeing at the old Opera House, you know, the one in The Phantom of the Opera. The building is simply gorgeous. Unfortunately, it was closed for the weekend.

Disappointed, we crossed the street to the cafe at the Grand Hotel to console ourselves with dessert, including more yummy hot chocolate for me. The 19th century hotel is simply gorgeous inside.

We were pretty tired by now, so we used our passes to jump on the Big Bus for one of those hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tours. We picked a good one, because it took us to some of Paris’s most famous sites, including Hôtel national des Invalides, a former hospital and war veterans home. Napoleon’s tomb is housed in the dome.

Hôtel national des Invalides

Hôtel national des Invalides

We drove around the Arc de Triomph. If the top looks irregular, it’s because people are standing up there. The view must be magnificent, but we were too tired to hike up there. Even more daring were the folks who stood between traffic lanes to get a shot of the Arch. Then the bus went back up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Lots of traffic and pedestrians on a Sunday afternoon.

We got off the bus at the Trockadero Metro stop and crossed the street to a square where we could get a long-range view of the Eiffel Tower. A nice way to bid farewell to Paris, if only for a week.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

While Rebecca and I had a lovely time in Paris, I do not recommend trying to see a city of this size and richness of culture in four days!

Next week, Chartres Cathedral.