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.



Beautiful Enchanting Cesky Krumlov #TuesdayTravels #CzechRepublic

Tuesday Travels


When we were planning our trip to Europe last fall, a friend said “You have to include a day in Cesky Krumlov!” I’d never heard of the town before, so I immediately did an Internet search and started drooling over pictures of this glorious fairy-tale town set along the Vltava River as it meanders through southern Bohemia. Like Old Town Prague, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Vltava River winding its way through Cesky Krumlov

We took an all-day tour from Prague which entailed about a two-hour drive through the lovely Bohemian countryside to our destination. We got off the bus at the castle and after a visit to the loo and a photo stop, we followed our guide down to the town along the river. Lots of cobblestones, of course.

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The Medieval town of Krumlov was settled between the 8th and 12th centuries, but the town we see today is from a later period. The castle was built in the 14th century after the original aristocrats, the Vitek family, had died off. Their property passed to relatives known as Rozmberk, but generally referred to by their German name of Rosenberg. They were one of the most powerful families in the area and the ones who put Cesky Krumlov on the map, so to speak. They also added Cesky to the town’s name in the mid-15th century.

Rosenberg knight

House with picture of Rosenberg knight in armor.

We wandered through the rest of the town and ended the walking tour at a park with a nice view. The colored map of the town we found there gives a good idea of the topography.

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After the walking tour ended, Rebecca and I headed for one of the riverside restaurants and chose Parkan Restaurant where we ate on a patio by the river. After the crowded streets, it was a nice peaceful place to dine and with a lovely view. I ordered trout, which was delicious, and to my delight, they served my favorite Czech beer, Budvar. (Originally known as Budweiser before that American company stole the name.) Budvar is almost certainly the best lager in the world, esp. when on draft. I was disappointed to see how Pilner Urquell has pretty well locked up Prague, because it’s not nearly as good as Budvar, in my opinion, at least.

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After lunch we had time to do some shopping before heading back up to the castle for our tour. Alas, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside the castle.

If you ever get a chance to travel to this part of the world, I recommend a visit to Cesky Krumlov, esp. if you’re a romantic like me.