Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Road Trip: The Bohemian Crown Jewels

It takes so little to inspire us to hit the road when Austria is closed (in this case, the double whammy of the regular Sunday closure plus the following Whit Monday). In this instance, the inspiration was the exhibition of the Bohemian Crown Jewels, on rare display for two weeks to mark the 700th anniversary of the coronation of King Charles IV.  So off to Prague we were on Sunday morning.

This being our sixth visit to the city we love dearly we have the logistics down, and in short order after dropping the overnight bag at the hotel, caught the Metro and tram to the castle. The Prague Metro stations are artscapes of their own.


We reached the South Gardens access for the viewing only to discover that because of the lengthy queue, the exhibit had closed three hours early. Oh, no!  After observing a few less-than-polite tourists complaining to the military guards about the closure, I inquired, in my best Czech-German: "Prosim, wir haben aus Wien gefahren um die Korunovační sehen und Morgen zurückfahren müssen. Ist es möglich die Warteschlange beitreten? Dekuji."  And what do you know? A little good tourist conduct on my part, and the guards let us in!  We were the last visitors of the day!

Though I would have loved to linger in the gardens, the guards at the ceremonial hall had been radioed that we were on our way, so this is the only snap of the city I could take while scurrying.
And then...the fourth oldest crown jewels in Europe. The Iron Crown of Lombardy (Milan); the Hapsburg Crown (Vienna); and the Hungarian Crown Jewels (Budapest) take the first three places.
(Proof that we were the last visitors in the Ceremonial Hall.)
A leisurely stroll down from the castle, with a little shopping, wrapped up the day.







Karlovy Most in May is just a little busier than on a snowy morning in the winter.



For dinner we sat at a bistro serving French wine and Czech food, with entertainment provided by an accordionist.  Dinner for two, including a bottle of French wine and dessert, equaled that of our ordinary lunch of a main course and glass of wine at home the day before. Why, Austria, why?

On Monday we shopped a bit for groceries and other Czech items I have come to prefer, and then pointed the wagon home. A perfect cap to a perfect escape in a much beloved city.