We got up early on Monday, September 13th to beat the crush of tourists on the Charles Bridge. We got some great shots of the castle before breakfast! When the in-laws woke up, we set off for the Troja Palace, but wandered around Letna Park lost for a hour or two. Fortunately there were great views of Prague from the park. Eventually, we found our way into the Hradcany neighborhood and saw the castle!
This is the entrance to the Royal Palace! We were so impressed with St. Vitus Cathedral in all it's glory too! (We had to come back several more times to appreciate it inside and out.)
Some of my favorite views of Prague were from the Golden Lane (Zlata Ulicka). It's a charming cobblestone walk between colorful houses and it has a wonderful Harry Potter-esque legend behind it. [Golden Lane got its name from the story of alchymists living in the street during the reign of Rudolf II who tried to make not only the philosopher stone or the elixir of youth, but also to transform metals into gold.]
After lunch, we met Mr. F's maternal Great Aunt Lida. She gave us a tour around Wallenstein Garden (Valdstejnska zahrada), which is probably the first palace garden in Prague! There was a stunning wall with artificial stalactites imitating a limestone cave, complete with an aviary with exotic birds (mostly owls).
Afterwards, we took the 22 tram up to the Summer Palace in Hradcany.
Aunt Lida told us "In front of the Royal Summer Palace you can see the bronze Singing Fountain from 1568. The fountain got its name because of the sound it makes, when the water drops on the metal fountain bowls. The best way to hear it is to crouch under the lower bowl."
Aunt Lida showed us around the castle and pointed out her favorite features, like the story behind the prisoner's tower.
The Daliborka Tower (Daliborka) was named after a prisoner, as legend has it, who learned to play the violin in the tower and his playing could be heard throughout the castle. This legend was used by Bedřich Smetana in his opera "Dalibor".
Aunt Lida also showed us the church where her sister (Mr. F's maternal grandmother) was married! The Basilica of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary was closed for the day but a few days later we were able to see the amazing frescos inside!
My favorite part of the day was discovering my favorite views of Prague. After all that walking we relaxed in our hotel room with our feet up drinking the original (and superior) Budweiser, which is better known as Budvar. Next up, the windy, romantic cobblestone streets of Mala Strana.