Last day in Prague

Diane and I enjoyed some down time on our last day. We read, took a noontime stroll, an evening walk after dinner, and got things ready to come back home. A great trip and we’re ready to be home! Some of the photos below were from my iPhone, and are not of our last day, but I wanted to share them nonetheless. There are also two videos from the gala dinner at the end of our “cruise” included below the photos.

Prague Arrival

We arrived in Prague in time to check in to our hotel rooms at the Intercontinental Hotel, had dinner, then spent some time on the rooftop area where we visited and took photos of the area by night.

Prague Day 2

A great second day in Prague included visits to the Prague Castle – the largest “castle” in the world. The Prague Castle is a castle complex in Prague, Czech Republic, dating from the 9th century. It is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept within a hidden room inside it.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 square metres (750,000 square feet), at about 570 metres (1,870 feet) in length and an average of about 130 metres (430 feet) wide. The castle is among the most visited tourist attractions in Prague attracting over 1.8 million visitors annually. After lunch we toured more of the old city, including Wenceslas Square and the Powder Gate.

Prague Day 1.5

A brief encounter with Prague on the day we arrived in the city included a walk to the river and back, an evening meal in the Intercontinental Hotel, and some time on the roof-top bar with our friends. Following that we had a free morning and went to Litoměřice – a town at the junction of the rivers Elbe and Ohře in the north part of the Czech Republic, approximately 64 km (40 mi) northwest of Prague.

The area within the Ústí nad Labem Region is called Garden of Bohemia thanks to mild weather conditions important for growing fruits and grapes. During the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, many pensioners chose it over more southern areas of the Empire.

The town is seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Litoměřice (part of Archdiocese of Prague), the 4th oldest – and 3rd still existing – Catholic diocese on present Czech territory.

That evening we enjoyed a wonderful string quintet concert at the Rudlofinum building. The concert included Mozart, Vivaldi Pahelbel, Bach, Dvorak, Bized, Brahms, and a fun encore, “Plink! Plink! Plink!” – all done without bow, and with appropriate animation to boot. Fun! (See the very last video at the very end of this post for the encore.)

 

Saxon Switzerland, Bastei, and Königstein

We enjoyed a visit to the Saxon Switzerland National Park, enjoying the overlook at the Panorama Restaurant in Bastei, as well as learning some geological insights from David Steele. From there we went to Königstein Fortress, touring the various buildings there – including a beautiful chapel where – had we been able and willing we could have enjoyed a pipe organ concert that evening. We went on to Prague, arriving there in time for dinner and our first night’s stay in the Intercontinental Hotel. Enjoy the photos…

 

Meissen and Dresden

We went to Meissen on Saturday morning, then on to Dresden that afternoon. We would spend two nights in a hotel outside of Dresden and did a tour of the Meissen porcelain factory in the morning, then on to Dresden in the afternoon. Enjoy the photos…

 

 

 

Wittenberg – the Centerpiece of Our Luther Encounter

Our trip to Wittenberg offered us an opportunity to visit Luther’s House, the City Church (seeing the famous Cranach altar piece), the Melanchthon House, the old city square, and the Castle Church where Luther posted his 95 theses 500 years ago this October 31. We had learned – and this was brought home to us on the tour – that one reason these got so much attention was that these theses were sent to Albert of Brandenburg, archbishop of Mainz who then forwarded them to the Pope. The German people also picked up on Luther’s writings which were written in originally in Latin (for the purposes of scholarly debate) and translated quickly into German. There may be some question of the details of this event and whether or not it actually started the Protestant Reformation, but there is little doubt that things began to happen after that time that would result in Luther’s declaration, “Here I stand…”, his ban by the Emperor, and his excommunication by the Pope. Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fides, and Sola Christos (Scripture, grace, faith and Christ alone) would be worked out over the ensuing years, confessed at the hearing at Augsburg, and take the church toward a new focus on God’s love and grace. Thanks be to God!