I’d think the way Sean and I plan our vacations would drive most people mad. Or maybe not so much the planning portion, but the lack thereof. We tend to go by the policy of “let’s just wing it”, and I’m not talking about the hotel reservations made in advance (we would be in need of a padded cell with comforting music if we attempted to that free with our vacations when the minis are along), but just the day-to-day adventures while in a new place.
We knew in advance that Prague is considered a very ‘walkable’ city, and known for its beauty, but I don’t think we quite envisioned just how true those statements were. Thanks the new addition of Sven (our new Volvo SUV) we were able to fit the double BOB stroller AND two suitcases! I get a little overly excited about this considering the Mazda only allowed for one suitcase and two umbrella strollers OR 1.5 suitcases and the baby carriers (which make my shoulders cringe just thinking about carrying an almost two-year-old attached to my back for three-ish days). In the end though, taking the BOB was the best decision ever and made the whole trip so much more enjoyable, not to mention I am sure the boys were much more comfortable in that stroller versus their individual umbrella strollers.
Our hotel was right in the middle of St. Wenceslas Square, which although a good location, had my mommy vision on high alert. Seemingly calm by day, the square turned into a bit of an outdoor party by night (but it also doesn’t help when your husband tells you “oh yeah, I read that you’re not supposed to provoke the drunk people”. Ummm…thanks? Because I totally had the urge to tickle the drunk guy and run off screaming “TICKLE MONSTER FOR THE WIN!!!”. No worries, my magic tickle fingers stayed put and one less drunk guy was provoked). Like I said though, the location was the ideal part of this hotel considering it was about a five-minute walk to the main square.
The main square in the old part of Prague is stunning, and Sean even made the comment while there that when it comes to the beauty of the buildings and the overall atmosphere of the city…it rivals with Venice. It just so happened that we ended up in the square at just the right time. Sean had mentioned that there was a large astrological clock somewhere in the area which I quickly came to the conclusion that is somewhere near the mass of people congregating in a particular portion of the square. My power of observation turned out to be right and low and behold…it was almost noon! We made our way to the clock in time for a decent spot to see the ancient clock in action. Abram, being awake, was particularly excited about this being that one of his favorite words is ‘clock’. Which I am more than happy when my sons’ learn a new word and can identify objects…I just wish they would pronounce a wee bit better. There’s nothing like having a bunch of strangers giving you the side eye when your son is screaming about the dirty way of describing a particular male part. “Why yes, you’re right Abram. That is a CLLLLLOCK!”. We even captured the ringing bell on video but I think there was a unanimous sigh of contempt when it was done. So we waited all that time just to watch a skeleton ding a bell twelve times. I was banking on some gnomes or other mythological creatures to pop out into a song and dance….but hey, what can you honestly expect from a clock that is centuries old?
The views from the St. Charles Bridge were breathtaking, and I probably could’ve taken hours just photographing the surrounding Prague skyline, as well as the interesting occupants on the bridge. The bridge pointed us in the direction of the castle, and the interesting winding streets along the way. We stopped at a cathedral just to see the interior, not knowing anything about it in advance and coming upon it by chance…man were the frescos amazing! Side note to the people who parked between the buttresses; will you teach my kids to parallel park some day? So much detail…I can’t begin to imagine how long it took to create such a piece of artwork, on a ceiling nonetheless. We also happened to stubble on the ‘Hanging Man’ statue, which made for some posed photos.
Making our way up to the castle was like doing a full body workout in three layers of sweats laden with weights. My arms were burning, my legs were shaking but would I stop? NO! I was huffing and puffing and by the end of the climb (or maybe 3/4’s of the way through once Sean took the stroller) I wanted to beat on my chest and howl at the moon. I AM MOM (of twins) HEAR ME ROAR! Luckily for Sean I contained my inner beast. Some day I will release her… Also working on our impeccable timing with our lack of planning, we just happened to make it to the castle for the changing of the guards. Which was interesting, not quite the show they put on in London, but fun to see nonetheless. And who can go without an honorary photo with the guard??? Not this lady!
The palace grounds were very pretty but it was the cathedral that set the foundation for the standards of architecture in not only the surrounding palace, but all of Prague (in my opinion). The high gothic style was truly a site and rivals many cathedrals that we’ve visited in our European adventures. On our way down from the palace we happened to peer through a gate which was an opening to a sort of toy museum. What did we find in the courtyard? A statue of a naked man of course, well rubbed and all. Sean, being ever the instigator, persuaded me to errrrr….ummm…rub ‘it’ for good luck. Obviously I wasn’t the first, and I bet I won’t be the last. (Never again Sean…NEVER again!)
Our lack of pre-planning did not benefit us on our last day in Prague. Not that it really hurt it any, I’m just sure it would’ve gone a wee bit smother had there been more initial thought. We ended up taking a turn towards pretty architecture (just imagine us as architecture moths, we just can’t help but go towards it) and ended up having to go through the main train station to pop out on the other side of the tracks…literally…in a part of town I would dub “shady”. Definite thoughts of “don’t provoke the drunk people” came to mind here. Exhibit A…
At the end of that excursion we finally made our way to ‘Fred and Ginger’ by Frank Gehry. Sean was like a kid and a candy shop with this beautiful piece of architecture, he even took ‘selfsiess’ with the building in the background. We have a decent list of Frank Gehry sites visited, although I’m sure we will see many more in the future. After this stop we made our way across the river and strolled along its banks until turning to venture towards a landmark depicting the end of communism. It was shortly after leaving this site where I went into full panic mode. I had been happily pushing the boys along, watching them feed each other crackers when I couldn’t see Abram’s lovey anywhere. A scrambling panicked search for the lovey in every nook and cranny of the BOB and it’s riders proved my worst fear. Lovey was a goner. My stomach dropped, and dread crept through my skin. Abram never took to a pacifier but he quickly attached to his lovey. It’s something he needs to sleep, and it’s also something he uses as a comforting mechanism. Not just any will do either…believe me…we’ve tried giving him similar ones with no effect. Sean and I retraced our steps to a certain point but found no lovey. Sean attempting to say we will just have to get him a new one put a knife through the sympathetic, sleep loving, mom portion of my heart…cue mom tears. Several sniffles later I mentioned how I knew he had the lovey on the bridge. Sean hearing my raspy tear threatened voice, and slightly peeved at this point, turns around again and storms off to do more looking. After about 30 minutes of search lovey was found. Thank you good citizen of Prague who saved my child’s life line and placed it on the side of a building for us to find. I owe you one! (We’ll hug it out if we ever meet in person)
Happy baby equals happy mom, which means we could continue with our adventure. Part of Sean’s gift for Valentine’s Day was a lock. All over Europe you will find locks on bridges put there by couples in love, some bridges more famous than others, so it seemed kind of perfect to get him a lock to attach to a bridge to commemorate our Valentine’s trip to Prague. Finding the small bridge and adding our love lock and tossing the keys in the river was the end of our trip to Prague (but not the end our trip to the Czech Republic).
How did we end our trip you ask? We visited the famous “Bone Church” (Kunta Hora). It’s one of those creepy places that you have to visit to say you’ve been there…but you never want to go back. At one point there were 40,000 human remains in this very VERY small place. Along the way though people have taken souvenirs…eww…so it’s hard to say how many human remains are still there. The interior designer side of me says “nope, would’ve never thought of that…decorating the interior with bones…”.