Tuesday morning we woke up early with a plan to hike the highest peak in the Karkonosze mountains. However we woke up to dark skies and the sound of rain – our first bad weather day since we arrived. We decided to hop in the car and drive to Prague. Our GPS quit working half way there so the drive ended up taking about three hours – on the way home it took less than two.
We arrived to a sunny, sweltering hot day in Prague. There were people EVERYWHERE! Michal and I spent a few days in Prague seven years ago and the crowds were nowhere near this overwhelming. The heat was so intense there were trucks parked in the main square with sprinklers on the back of them to spray down the hot crowds. We decided to combat the heat by finding a shady cafe and cooling down with an ice cold Czech beer. The Czech Republic produces some delicious beers!
We ventured back out into the heat and walked to the Charles Bridge. This bridge is probably one of my favorite places in all of Europe. Of course today it was bursting with people but that did not deter from the sheer enchantment that the bridge radiates.
The bridge itself has been there for centuries. It is decorated with beautiful baroque statues that tower above. Several musicians and artists pave the way to the other side. The Prague Castle beckons from one side of the bridge while the other side provides stunning views of gorgeous European architecture. The views are so breathtaking that the crowds fade away and the beauty overtakes everything else.
Prague has an intoxicating, calming, positive energy. I think it may be my favorite European city. Due to the heat and all of our sensitivities to it, we didn’t explore nearly as much as we had hoped to. It was still worth the 6 hours we spent there. We did eat dinner there and it was the tastiest food I’ve had since leaving the US.
My mother-in-law and I had an interesting experience (keep in mind we don’t speak the same language so we can barely communicate). We were waiting for Michal and Tomek who ran into Starbucks to get an iced coffee for the way home. We noticed one man standing suspiciously near us and another one walked over and moved closer to us. Then a third moved in and came so close we both grabbed our purses. The third man then reached into his pocket to pull out something. My mother-in-law swears she saw a knife. I grabbed her arm and we darted into Starbucks. The three men clearly knew each other and were communicating while this was happening. I have read that purse snatches are generally a team effort. Thankfully we got out unscathed but it was an eyeopening experience and a reminder to always be aware of your surroundings!