Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I don't like violence. But there is something contagious in the joy with which Czechs display the room and window of defenestration.

The old depiction of the events

The same window in 2012

The story on display is simple and almost romantic: the representatives of the king where not good to the people, so the people stormed the castle and threw the regents out of the window. The Czechs kid themselves with the idea that if necessary they would do it again whenever necessary, supposedly their rulers should be aware of the risk and govern mindfully. The view from the window is gorgeous, but there is concrete below. If there could be just a black hole, I would gladly recommend the defenestration for all the politicians of the world. Take them to Prague and get rid of them. Until we solve the technical details, Prague remains just a touristic destination.

It's full of tourists in Prague during a hot September day

The most beautiful city in the world

Street entertainer 
These days someone should be forgiven if she thinks that Prague is just the capital of an eastern European country. But the city is 1100 years old and at some point was the most important in Europe. It was the capital of their first king, Wenceslas, a wise, well educated ruler who Christianized the nation of Bohemia, later was canonized and to this day is the symbol of Czech nationalism and the protector of the country. When the Czechs would face their darkest hour the king would come to the rescue, riding out of a mountain leading an army of knights. Whenever they had tough times, being occupied by the Habsburgs or the nazis or the Soviet Union, the Czechs went to the mountain to see if their king is coming out. It didn't happen yet, so the Czechs says Rick Steves "remain realistic", their darkest hour still lies ahead.

The main city square is from the 11th century, the Charles bridge was started in 1357, the astronomical clock is 500 years old.
Old city square

the lower part of the astronomical clock

Charles bridge, 650 years old, with the statue of St. John of Nepomuk

The Prague Castle (Pražky Hrad) the biggest in the world, was started in 870, in it there is the St. Vitus Cathedral, started in 1344 and finished in 1929 for the 1000 anniversary of the death of Wenceslas. On the impressive facade there are bas-reliefs of people in modern suits, the ones that finished the construction!
Prague Castle, over the city

Side entrance to the St. Vitus Cathedral

Men in suits on the front panel of the cathedral

Interior view of St. Vitus
The city boasts the finest examples of the gothic, baroque, rococo and art nouveau architecture, spanning a millennium of different styles of construction. In a way, there is so much history it is almost overwhelming to grab 1000 years of Europe's best squashed together in just a few square kilometers.

Almost every building has something special

Just a hotel on a side street

Modern city decoration
Prague is without doubt the most beautiful city of Europe. It has plenty of historical sites, a vibrant musical life, plenty of beer and decent ice cream. It used to be a cheap and pleasant destination, now it is awfully crowded and shamelessly expensive. We stayed in a "luxury apartment", but the beds were way too soft and the building was under renovation. It is something that we encountered over and over on our trip. We get to a place and invariably next to it there is construction, the workers start early in the morning and we are waken up by their work. We were a little off the centre, I looked for something within walking distance from the intercity bus station.

With three full days, we scheduled a day off and two days to visit the city. We left late, that was OK, because the hordes of tourists tend to crowd the city attractions early in the morning and in the afternoon they retreat to the cafés and commercial streets. On the first day we crossed the whole old city and walked up to the castle. We returned home by subway - an interesting experience, we think that Prague has the fastest rolling stairs in the world, probably twice the speed of all the other.

The second day we spent in the Jewish quarter (subject to a different post) and visited the Mucha museum. Read Maria's and Ileana Ruxandra's descriptions.

The third day was "the day off" - meaning optional activities. One of the places that Ileana requested to see on this trip was the Kostnice Osuary. We went together, father and daughter, on a day trip. Kutna Hora was a silver mining center centuries ago, at one point the second city in Bohemia after Prague. Now it is a little sleepy town that hosts several World Heritage Sites. In 1278 an abbot was sent to the Holy Land and upon his return he sprinkled some ground from the Golgotha around the abbey, it became a very popular cemetery, everybody wanted to be buried here, it was considered holy. In 1870 a custodian decorated the basement of the little chapel on site with the bones from the 40,000 skeletons. The result, unique, sometimes beautiful, sometimes creepy became a touristic attraction.
Excited, she got her wish

The famous chandelier that has at least one of each of the bones in the human body

The rest of the town has some interesting constructions in all stiles of architecture and two other World Heritage Sites, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, the oldest cathedral building in Central Europe, 1290-1320, recently renovated and the Santa Barbara Cathedral built a little later in 1380 by the same architect that built the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. It is an impressive creation, maybe not appreciated enough because the one in Prague is grander and more famous.
This is how they made churches 700 years ago

Credit to Ileana for taking a panoramic of the ceiling

Santa Barbara Cathedral

Interior of Santa Barbara

And the windows are all stained glass

In our four hours in Kutna Hora we walked about 8 kilometers crossing the town back and forth and before 2 pm we were back in the bus station, waiting for our return. Happy, satisfied, and sorry we couldn't share this with the rest of our family. They didn't mind though, they had a peaceful quiet day and by next morning we were all ready to move on to Berlin.

A statue of Saint John of Nepomuk, the more famous one is on Charles Bridge in Prague 

Final view of Kutna Hora


  1. I'm with you, Mihai... I have similar thoughts about politics... but I will leave them to an authority higher than mine to address. :) Thanks for the lovely pictures of Czech Republic. Prague is beautiful.

    Hope you and your family are well. You look well! Warmly, Mary Ellen

    1. *politicians* (not politics) :)


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