Day 23 – Prague

Posted on July 19, 2017

It’s just like a bit of weird art.

We started the day by going to the Gerhard Richter exhibition at one of the National Galleries near our apartment. Apparently our tickets also get us into a bunch of other exhibitions around town. He had some really impressive photo-realistic paintings which were the highlight for me.

After walking around the gallery, we walked to the square and immediately needed to stop for a drink and morning tea, as it was insanely hot, and I was hungry. We shared a couple pizzas and had a cold drink, before beginning the long walk to where the other galleries we could visit were located. They were across the river, over near the Prague Castle.

We braved the heat and the many steps, finally arriving at one of the places, a palace, after an hour or so of walking. We entered, only to be told our ticket wasn’t actually valid for this place, or the other few in the area. It looked like it only gets into one other gallery, five minutes from the first. Feels bad man.

Since we had already trekked all that way, we thought we might as well go into Prague Castle again, and have a rest in a shady spot in the Royal Gardens, where it was nice and peaceful.

We sat on a bench under some trees and rested for about an hour, before going back to get some dinner. There was an Italian restaurant I found, near the river, which is apparently great, so we tried it out. It did not disappoint.

One of the best meals we’ve had on this trip so far! Fancy, but hearty and affordable. Some homemade lemonade. Rib-eye steak, mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce. Chocolate cake with lemon, banana, coconut and ice cream. Man I love food.

When we had finished our meal, we walked leisurely back to the apartment, following the river, watching the sunset. We came across this John Lennon Wall on the way back too which was cool.

Tomorrow is our last day in Prague. We have to check-out by 6pm, but our flight isn’t until late (11pm or so), so we’ll be hanging out at the airport! Yay! Not sure what we’ll do during the day, but probably won’t be many photos. Just relaxing, exploring a little more and having a nice lunch before getting organised to leave.

Day 20 – Prague

Posted on July 16, 2017

I’m always serious; I’m Czech.

After having a nice home cooked breakfast at the apartment, we headed out for a slightly late start, but it’s summer, so we get plenty of daylight here. We didn’t have any specific destinations in mind today, just decided to wander around the city and see what we could find. We started in the main square in Old Town, since it’s super close to our apartment.

From there, we walked back towards the newer area, as we had seen a few museums and other interesting looking buildings back there when we walked past yesterday to get to the supermarket. We briefly stopped into a chocolate shop and tried some goodies.

A bit further on, we found the other main square, which had some marquees and a stage set up, where a group of Hare Krishnas had some sort of event. There wasn’t too much set up yet (more on that in a minute).

Nearby there was a Museum of Communism which we decided to check out. Inside, there were many walls with information, photos and items from Prague’s history with Communism after the Second World War. There was a lot of depressing information to take in, it’s weird to think how recently all this was happening.

Once we had made it through the museum, we headed back out onto the square to find a much larger amount of people. The Hare Krishnas were on the stage speaking while free food was being given out from a nearby marquee.

We made our way through the crowd, and continued on to a nearby shopping centre (of course…). After a bit of inevitable shopping, we went upstairs to the food court to get some late lunch/early dinner. There was a good looking Japanese place there, and it looked well priced. It turned out to be pretty great, with large portions, tasty food and really good prices. A decent variety of choices too.

After eating, we walked back towards Old Town, getting some strange donuts along the way, and walked up to the river and bridge. There were a couple of bridges, so we walked across to what seemed like the main one, and hung out there a bit.

There were a number of buskers out today, and again I got quite a lot of video, but balanced with a decent number of photos too. Tomorrow will probably be a similar day hanging out in the city, seeing other things we didn’t get a chance to today. Perhaps even a concert/show tomorrow night.

Day 15 – Venice

Posted on July 14, 2014

If you’re stuck on a gondola, you can have a lovely punt.

Thankfully, it was clear today. It was looking a little cloudy in the morning, but cleared up quickly and we got to have our mega-day.

It started with an early breakfast (included in our hotel package) which was a buffet. Not amazing, but it was what you would normally expect. Eggs, bread, fruit, juice and (second floor!) croissants.

After breakfast, we took a little walk around and took a few photos of Venice in the (near) sunshine.

See that big bell tower? You can go up there! So we did. I was expecting to walk up hundreds of steps but turns out it only has a lift. Once at the top, you get a nice 360 view of Venice. I took a lot of photos from there – here’s only a few.

We then headed through some of the narrow backstreets to get to the Rialto Bridge (Ponte Rialto).

After looking around there for a while, we went back to St Mark’s Square (the main square with everything nearby) and went inside the Doge’s Palace. It had some interesting rooms and artworks (some quite lavish), as well as an armoury and prison. Here are some photos.

Next was lunch. As Venice is essentially a tourist city, everywhere is crowded and expensive, but we found a decent restaurant. By this point it had gotten super-hot and the sun was out in full swing. After lunch, we got some gelato to help cool down as we walked around to see a bit more of the city.

Turns out most of the action happens around St Mark’s and there isn’t otherwise too much to see. Subsequently, we went back there to go into some of the other museums in the area (our tickets from Doge’s Palace got us into everywhere). Before that though, we stopped to go into the main church.

There weren’t a lot of areas/rooms to see (they charged you to go into some of them), but there was a quite remarkable gold ceiling.

It didn’t take long to see the rest though and so we went to the other museums afterwards. Again, took a lot of photos in there, but here is a small selection.

After finishing from there, we found a nice shady spot to sit in St Mark’s and relax as we watched over the square. I took a few more photos from there as well.

Just as we were getting up to leave and head back to our hotel, a large group of what I’m guessing were (French?) college students rocked up. They walked into the square, linked hands and spread out to form a large cleared circle. They then proceeded to start singing, dancing and otherwise chanting. I’m still not quite sure what was going on, but it was interesting. One of them would go into the centre of the circle and lead the rest in some sort of chant or dance and the others would follow. Then someone else would enter and take over. Strange.

We then headed back to our hotel and rested for a little before getting hungry and wanting some dinner. No one else was really hungry, so my brother and I just went to get some takeaway pizza. We found a place, ordered it, went to pay with a card and turns out they only accept cash. Awkward.

I had to run Forrest, run! back to the hotel to get some cash and then back again. It’s actually not too bad to run around Venice near sunset. It’s cooled down a lot, scenic and not as crowded. Regardless, we got the package, successfully escorted it back to the rendezvous point and consumed it with great pleasure.

And that was our one-day-to-rule-them-all in Venice. Overall, Venice is a really nice place and has some cool things to see, but once you’ve seen them, there isn’t a whole lot left to do. So it worked out quite well only being here a short time.

We leave Venice (and Italy) tomorrow and head to Paris by plane. I’m excited to get to the next country, but will miss Italy (mostly the food). Tomorrow I expect to be a fairly mundane day of waiting and travel, but might have a bit of time to look around Paris tomorrow afternoon/night depending on when we arrive.