Prague: 18th February 2005

I woke up this morning quite early – about 8 I think and tried to go back to sleep but just couldnt.  I read a couple of chapters of my book and I couldnt stop thinking about the dream that I had when I told Sian that I was seriously considering leaving etc etc.  How odd that that ‘dream’ would actually be happening rather soon. I suppose that it is only natural that I should be thinking about things like that as it is so much on my mind at the moment but I really do wish that I could get some peace from it all while I sleep.  I had a shower and washed my hair which was lovely – did not get to wash it yesterday in the pension.

We headed out to get the funicular railway to the top of Petrin Hill to get to the Castle.  I stopped off to take a photo of a rather odd monument that I could not find anything about in the guide book but Helena told me that it was meant to represent man through Communism – or something like that.  From there we walked up the rest of Petrin Hill and round to the castle.  We went past this tower thing which is 62m high and meant to look like the Eiffel Tower – I didnt think that it did really.  It was built in 1891 and you can climb it to get some excellent views of Prague apparently but I have to say that neither of us quite fancied it.  We walked by the Hunger wall which was apparently built in 1362 under Charles IV and is called that  because it was built by the poor of the city in the return for food.  We walked past the Church of Lawrence and a little place next door to it which had a lovely facade that I took a photo of it.  As we walked around closer to the castle the views became more and more spectacular oer Prague.  Witht the snow topped roof tops it really was quite spectacular.  We headed to the entrance of the castle.  We had missed the Changing of the Guards but I really was not too bothered about that.  The Guinness World Records has it down as the largest ancient castle in the world.  About 570m long and on average 128m wide and it covers a total area that is larger than 7 football fields.  THe history of it starts from the 19th century and is the seat of the Czech rulers and also the official residence but the current president – Havel – chose to live in hos own house which is on the edge of the city.  We decided to ge the full ticket and to see everything possible in the castle that our ticket took us to. We started with St. Vitus Cathedral. I tried taking photos of the impressive triple doorway but trying to fit it into shot was a nightmare. I then read in the guide book that it dates from 1948 – 53 and was one of the last parts of the church to be completed. It was spectacular inside.  I got an extra ticket so that I could take photos – you were not meant to use the flash though and I have no idea how to turn mine off without reading the instructions (which were at home of course).  I got told off once in the church.

The most amazing thing that I saw int he churcxh was the chapel of St. Wenceslas.  The walls were covered with guilded panels with polished slabs of semi precious stones and there are early 16th century wall paintings which show scenes from the life of the saint and much older frescoes show the life of christ.  From here we then went to look at the Old Royal Palace which I remember being very disappointed with before.  There was not much there apart from a large hall called the Vladsir Hall which had a late Gothic vaulted roof in it.  We went to look at the other rooms but there was not really that much there.  I got told off (again) for taking photos with the flash in the New Land Rolls rom where there were loads of coats of arms painted onto the walls. 

We went on to look at the Basilica of St. George which is aRomanesque church from about the 10th century with some frescoes from the 12th century on the walls too.  We walked down Golden Lane which is a picturesque cobbled alley which runs along the Northern Wall of the castle.  It has lots of tiny colourful cottages along it which were built in the 16th century for the sharp shooters of the castle guard but apparently later used by goldsmiths. In the 18th and 19th centuries they were occupied by squatters and then by artists including Franz Faka who is reported to have stayed at his sisters house (No 22) from 1916-17.  Now it is full of craft and souvenier shops. We went and had a coffee in a little cafe as poor Helena was frozen solid like I was earlier in the week. We went back to Joe’s cafe and had some food.  We were going to have a hot chocolate in a place called Cafe Louvre which is meant to be amazing – it is apparently almost just like melted chocolate – yummie!  Veronica, Helena’s friend that teaches Czech in her schiool was not feeling too good and said that she did not think that she would make it and so we abandoned that idea as Hels was feeling incerdibly cold na so we headed home via Andel to go to the shopping centre.  We went to H & M and I got a rather nice black shirt – not too bad on the tummie and a t-shirt.  We then hit Carrefour so that Helena could get some food and bits. I am so glad that it is not jsut me that gets so stressed when doing food shopping.  It was quite excrutiating experience but seeing that I am on holiday I only found the whole experience highly amusing. I wrote my diary when I got home and Helena inspected the clothes that she had got at H & M and realised that one of the security tags had not been taken off one of the tops that she had got.  She spent quite a while trying to get it off which I have to say was hilarious to watch.  I did try to help but I was not really that much use! I do have quite a funny photo of her trying to get it off.  We had wondered why every security system beeped when we went in and out of every shop.  I checked my elails on Yahoo as I cant remember how to find out my BlueYonder one when not at home – I should find out for future reference really.  I looked on the Bath site and saw that Becca’s Pete has just signed a contract with Bath Rugby! How exciting! I texted her to check, and yes it is true.  They are moving back at around the same time as the wedding – how manic!  Becca is looking at getting a job with the NFU at the moment in Marlborough of all places.  I offered my help in any way.  I texted Rachel to let her know as I had already mentioned the possibility of his move earlier in the year.  I told Mum and Dad too.  I was tempted to text Pam  but I cant remember how much I have told her about the wedding and so I will wait until I see her to tell her.  I must be one up majorly on Steve Silk but there was some message about him knowing one of the players via Pam but she couldnt remember who it was or what he said – all important infomation! Now a major surge on the trips to the gym so that I dont look like a heffa compared to rugby wives and girl friends.  God listen to me – how sad am I!

Helena made bangers and mash for supper which was lovely and then we watched Hope Springs on DVD – it has Colin FIrth in it and Heather Graham and Minnie Driver. After watching that we went to bed – quite shattered to put it mildly.


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