Saturday, February 1, 2014

Perfectly Prague . . . . Christmas in the Czech Republic

 


Christmas this last year was an unexpected joyful one . . . my parents came to visit!!  This was not a planned occurrence as they had informed me they would not be back until next May . . . butttt . . . mom got to missing me :-)  I was at work one not-so-busy night and just happened to look at some airfare tickets from Sacramento to Frankfurt . . . no specific reason in mind . . just looking (muwhaha).  Happened to come across some really good prices!!  "Really???" I thought . . .couldn't believe it so I promptly texted dear ol'mom the results.  "Send it to Dad!!" was the response back.  Ended up calling dad and he purchased the tickets that very same night :-)  . . yes, I know . . I am spoiled . . .

I had informed mom (before we knew they were coming) that Clayton and I had planned on going to Prague for Christmas . . why not, right??  We have no friends, no family, no gifts (I did go ahead and decorate this year though) so why not head on down to a city/country we had heard so much about?  Many of my co-workers had told me that Prague was their very favorite city in Europe . . so the planning had begun.  When we found out that mom and dad were coming the planning just got more fun :-)
(Prague Castle)
Our first day in Prague was Christmas Eve . . . Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve in the Czech Republic so most of the store were closed . . . sure didn't keep us from exploring though!  We wore out our shoes, legs and frosted fingertips that day with a walking tour of the whole city!! Some of the places we enjoyed were the Prague castle (the official residence and office of the President of the Czech Republic and not your typical castle . . . it contains several churches, palaces, Halls and gardens . . . kinda a massive, sprawling complex), Charles Bridge (a famous, historic bridge lined with statues of saints), Petrin Hill (where we were able to ride the Petrin funicular railway to the top of the hill for some amazing views!  We also went to the top of the lookout tower, which
resembles the Eiffel Tower in Paris, for additional views of the city) and ended the days tour with a traditional Czech meal at U Kalicha restaurant.  The food was delish and our dinner consisted of potato pancakes (filled with smoked ham and cabbage) sausages, goulash, pork and potatoes.  We also enjoyed live music throughout the meal.  It was delightful!

(Charles Bridge)
 
(Street view in Prague)
 
Christmas day was just as wonderful as we strolled through the streets of Old Prague enjoying the Christmas markets, astronomical clock tower, candies, cookies and crepes.  Again we enjoyed a traditional Czech meal before heading off to the National Theatre in Prague for a showing of the Nutcracker ballet.  It turned out to be such a great Christmas and I am so thankful we did not have to spend it alone :-)

On our return journey to Germany the following day we went a little out of the way to visit the famous Sedlec Ossuary.  The Sedlec Ossuary is a small, Roman Catholic chapel just outside of Prague that was made famous by the skeletons of some 40,000-70,000 thousand people whose bones have been artistically arranged to form decorations for the chapel.  The Sedlec cemetery became a popular burial ground in Europe in the 1200's after an abbot was sent to the Holy Land and returned with a handful of dirt which he sprinkled throughout the cemetery.  In the 14th and 15th centuries a series of wars and the dreaded black death caused thousands more to be buried in the cemetery.  Around 1400 the chapel was built and as a result many of the graves were unearthed and later stacked into piles inside of the chapel.  In 1870, a woodcarver named FrantiĊĦek Rint was employed to put the bone heaps into order and the current decorations of the chapel were created.  I thought it was fantastic!!  Every bone of the human body is found in one gigantic chandelier!  It was definitely worth the short detour to see and as a bonus we were able to view St. Barbara's Church (one of the most famous gothic churches in central Europe and a UNESCO world heritage site).



 
 
 
St. Barbara's Church with my family! . . (it was freezing!) 

3 comments:

Julie Twigg said...

Hi Sarah!

This time I'm really coming to Germany. My husband and I have really enjoyed your blog and hope to see you in late April. Here's my email, pittnurse21@gmail.com

JULIE

Sarah said...

Julie . . . wow! congrats! excited for you! I'm sure you will have many adventures here :-) Where will you be stationed/working??

Julie Twigg said...

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, I will be working in the inpatient psychiatry service :-)