Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Prague: Prague Castle (^^)

So we are still in Prague Castle.. *Virtual tour kono*

So after St George's Basilica, I went to the permanent exhitbition; "The Story of Prague Castle". Picture taking was not allowed so everything is well kept in my memory hehe Well, there were huge chambers inside. I remember one chamber has the crown with colourful jewels on it, enclosed in a glass cube. There were portraits of the Bohemian kings, the ornaments and costumes they used to wear and some china.

Then I went to search for the Golden Lane but I ended up at the castles' gardens. There's nothing much to see in winter but I bet they are very lovely in spring. Everything was leafless, dry and brown in winter.. there is a lookout there where you can get a nice view of the town.

Nampak putih2 di tangga itu? Itu snow ok! (^^)

That's one of the garden there. Nothing much in winter (-_-")

When I took this picture, I was standing right next to a vineyard. Went down those steps and it led me to a street. And on my last day there, I found out there is one train station a few minutes walk from that street. So x perlu la kamu bersusah payah menyeberang Charles Bridge kalau malas. But still, I think for a Malaysian, that is quite a distance to go on foot.. Kita kan x berapa biasa berjalan :P

So after taking pictures over this side of the castle, I walked back to the direction of St. Vitus Cathedral to find the Golden Lane.. O0o0 I actually missed the sign.. It was hidden behind other buildings and the access to it was only a narrow alley that's easily ignored sebab macam tiada apa2 di situ okies!

So this is the Golden Lane.. I really hate my camera right now because the colour of the buildings are actually more vibrant than this (-_-")

So what is this place? Well, it's a line of ancient houses; used to be dwelt by goldsmiths in the 17th century where they've attempted some alchemy to turn metal into gold *Terus terbayang Full Metal Alchemist*

There were ancient weapons displayed there but I took this one to my liking..
 Crown in the castle + this = Jack the Giant Slayer!!!!!!!

Imagination runs wild when you are traveling alone~

I went inside of course. This is the picture of the steps that led to the upper floor where there's a medieval  armoury display. I've never been to Europe before so this was my first time seeing them so agak kagum! Reminds me of Fantaghiro, Tarabas and Ramualdo~

Hurm.. Minta tolong stranger amek gambar, mesti berdiri tegak jak (-_-")

Anyway.. I was actually thinking at that time.. "Wow.. mesti orang dulu2 tough bole muat dalam armour begini"

and a few seconds after that, I caught the sight of this!

Yah! armour untuk mereka mereka yang buncit! Heeee They didn't make the pants.. Takot nda muat kali hehe :p

Kagum dengan ini jugak!!!! (0_o)

Some of the interior of these houses were made to look like the medieval times. There were bedrooms, kitchen and bars.. And some turned into souvenir shops. The above is a window of a shop selling wooden puppets and toys. Teringin jugak mo beli satu.. Tapi.. X pa la nanti kumpol habuk jak.. *Padahal mahal!!* 

The last building to visit was the Rosenberg Palace. I don't have the picture of the building.. and they don't allow taking pictures in it BUT!!!! My greatest discovery in this building was the PORTABLE LAVATORY!

Rosenberg Palace was once resided by unmarried noblewomen with the of age 24 and above (Pergh! Aku layak!) during the 18th century. They were those pious ones I guess because the room has the kneeling prayer bench and a bible there. And at one side of the room stood the PORTABLE LAVATORY

I'm not a good artist.. Well, I have no talent at all when it comes to drawing but I want to make this as clear as possible to you. I know there are portable toilet for camping; the one that you can carry around that looks like a a stool with a hole in the middle. This is almost like that but it's made of high quality wood with glossy finishing.. And the seat is cushioned. There's a white porcelain bowl inside.. And the lid cover is also cushioned so if it's not in use and with the cover on top, it will look just like a an expensive-looking comfortable stool..

Well, after that it started to snow outside. Melompat gembira sebab xpernah rasa snow \(^^)/

Went to look what the dungeon looked like and saw the ogreish looking torture tools.. Then I decided to leave the castle ground and explore the other parts of Hradcany.. I just follow where the crowd goes and voilla, they brought me to Loreta!

I don't know much about Loreta because it was closing when I got there. All I know is it's a pilgrimage destination. 

So to close my visit to this part of the city.. I treat myself with a huge plate of Arab food and mocha!

Percayalah... Portion yang besar ini berjaya ku habiskan! Yaw!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Prague: St Vitus Cathedral

First and foremost.. I think my parents are weird heeee

During those weeks before the Boracay trip, I frequently asked them whether I could go or not.. It's very weird for both of them to persistently say NO.. Usually, either one of them will be on my side. One evening, I found a letter from Ketua Polis Negara on my table. Penangguhan Lawatan Ke Filipina. Yeah~ The title was something like that.. Said to my friends

"Pelik weyh parents aku x bagi pegi.. Aku jadi x sedap hati pulak.."

What's even more weird was their calm reaction when I said I'm going to Prague alone~

GG: Mommy.. Adik pergi Prague.. Dekat Czech Republic. That's somewhere next to and a little bit below Germany.. Adik pergi sorang tau..
Mommy: Bestnya! Take care! Musim apa tu ah sekaranf?

GG: Babah, aku x jadi pi Filipin.. Pi Czech. Sorang2...
Babah: Bekas Soviet bha tu kan.. Bha. Hati2 saja

Monolog dalaman... "Ok~ Ganjil~"

So Second day in Prague~ (^^)/

Prague castle is so0o0o0o0 huge that you definitely can't miss the sight of it. It looked so magnificent even from afar. You can see clearly the minarets of St. Vitus cathedral jutting among the roofs of the other buildings in the castle ground.. The weather was a lot better that morning. Still cold but the sky was clear, though the sun was hidden behind some clouds.

Crossed the Charles Bridge for the second time and followed the signage to the castle. Yes, it was written in Czech hee

Naaaa~ Hehe maen agak2 jak la kan which route to take. I have a map with me but it was not that helpful. The path towards the castle is slightly sloped for a few hundred meters so kita kena fit!!! But I was walking on cobblestone and between colourful buildings so I was quite overwhelmed by the surrounding that I didn't feel tired.. Tapi itula susah travel sorang2~ You have to contain your excitement. Kalo nda, mungkin aku suda  melompat lompat gembira... (^^") hee~

The gate alone was immensely stunning. But I found the baroque style statues were a bit disturbing because one was a man with a club in his hand and the other with a dagger; both in a position ready to assault. Two guards were standing still there at the entrance. Not moving at all; not even a twitch! But I actually caught one of them looking at me. No he didn't move a muscle. Only the eyes moved.. Mungkin sebab aku gagal menutup excitement atau penampilan aku yang ganjil dari tourist laen pada saat dan ketika itu..

So I went in.. Berjalan sambil memandang ke kiri ke kanan ke atas dan ke bawah seperti jakun.. Memang aku tengah jakun pon. I had palpitations and was in awe.. The uniqueness of the architecture and the opulence that surrounds me.. MashaAllah~ Hebat betol akal manusia anugerah Allah ini~ Serius aku jakun gila!

So, once you walk in, you'll find yourself in a square where there's a fountain, again designed in baroque style. Then you'll see this incredible building, St. Vitus Cathedral. Again I was in awe.. (0_o)

This was my first time seeing something Gothic so wow I was captivated . The design looked so complex  and it's massive and I just can't imagine how they could built such thing in the 13th century.. Hebat btol~ But yes the construction was in stages and it actually underwent some restorations.

Okay.. So how much does this place cost? If you're not the type who wants to look what's inside the buildings, it won't cost you anything.. But if you're a nerd, like me.. Who needs explanation on every single object; it's CZK 350 for long visit (means the ticket is valid for single admission to all buildings and exhibitions) and another CZK 350 for an audio guide (3 hours only)  and you have to put CZK 500 deposit for the device and will get the money back once you've returned the device in one piece to the counter... So my journey begins.. The area is huge and yes I spent 6 hours here alone that day

I immediately took this building to my liking.. I was taking pictures of every angle and was focusing my camera lens on the gargoyles.. Maklumlah, sebelom ni tengok di kartun jak kan.. Yang bole bercakap2 lagi kalo di The Hunchback of Notre Dame tu kan.. And from visiting this castle, I finally found out the real function of gargoyles.. I have always thought they are solely for the purpose of decor.. But actually they are for draining water from the roof, gutters and terraces. So let's see how the interior of this building looks like..

 This is the ceiling...

There are chapels like this and that thing on the right is a tomb of a saint. Each of the stained glass windows at the chapels tells a story.. 

This is the tomb of John of Nepomuk. He was a saint who was drowned in Vltava river by one of the Bohemian king because he refused to disclose what the queen confessed during the confessional. His tomb was made of silver and it was all shiny.. Actually this picture doesn't give the nicest view of the tomb. Too many tourists at the other side so dari tepi sini pon jadi laaaa~

Eyh ada bha pulak dari depan punya pic hehe berusaha nda kasi  masok group berbahasa Sepanyol di tepi itu~

Yah! Manage to get a Korean guy to help me take my picture in the cathedral.. So I was really inside! Bukan google image~ Sesungguhnya aku malas mo buat watermark..

The Great South Tower

And we can actually go up to the lookout gallery of the Great South Tower \(^^)/ another good reason to practice healthy lifestyle.. This tower has 287 steps; spiral steps and very narrow... Not for claustrophobic.. I was out of breath when I reached the top but the view of Prague from the lookout was to die for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! amazing~ And that's why I decided to skip  Petrin hill because it was winter and I already had a good view of Prague from this tower (^^) o0o0 this is not included in the long visit ticket so I paid another CZK 250 and got a golden metal coin as a souvenir.

Tiba2 rasa geram sebab.. my more expensive camera's image quality is not as good as my cheap camera and the price difference is around RM 600..Urgh.. Aku yang x pandai setting ni tau~

I wanted to stay longer but the cold winter breeze was not that friendly.. It was very windy and I can't feel my hands.. So I took as many pics as I could and went down.. Ada la feel sekejap2 tapi eyh sejok babe!

One of the gargoyle... Only few of them are original ones. Some are new ones installed in the early 19th century.

That red building is St. George's Basilica

The interior. It's smaller and there was this soft humming voice echoing in the hall.. Memang rasa macam dalam cerita The Da Vincci Code sekejap.

Eyh?? Panjang suda.. Nanti la aku sambung :P

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Prague: Day 1 (^^)

So I've told you how the crazy idea just popped out and how I finally got myself a two-way ticket from KL to Prague just 2 days before the trip hikhikhik.. Itu baru drama mukadimah.. I decided to work on the day of my flight and take an evening off.. and memang takdirNya.. I was busy to the max that I only got to the airport by 1.30 pm whereas the flight to KL was at 2.05pm.. People were already queuing for boarding hikhik seb baek sempat drop-off baggage...

My bro was already waiting in LCCT when I arrived and he sent me to KLIA. Got my euros from him and we had an early dinner together. He left early and therefore my loneliness starts.. Went to the bookshop and bought a Lonely Planet travel guide. Bumped into my best friend in primary school and she told me that my flight have been canceled due to bird strike, Ades.. Hearing this, I thought "There goes my short Euro trip.. It'll be shortened like it's not short enough.. duh!"

KLM was very efficient at resolving the matter. Passengers were boarded into other airlines and they even settled the connecting flights so that we'll arrive at the destination at the intended time

"Miss Salleh, do you mind taking the flight tomorrow at the same time"
"Yes I do mind.. I already made bookings for my accommodation and I would really appreciate it if you can get me a flight that arrives in Prague on the 20th please~"

So they arranged a new flight for me... the AWESOME EMIRATES.. It was 6 hours flight to Dubai then 6 hours from Dubai to Prague. The flight to Amsterdam was supposedly at 11.45 pm. The new flight was scheduled at 2 am. Penantian yang berbaloi.. when I entered the aircraft.. Jakun sekejap.. I start to realize what pleasure and luxury I've been missing from boarding low cost airline~ uiseh! 

But I was too sleepy to take the pics of the cabin.. So zZzzZzzZ.. Kroh kroh kroh.. 

The transit was about 3 hours so I performed my Fajr prayer at the airport.. Seb baek Islamic kan, prayer room memang merata-rata. But Dubai airport was extremely crowded with transit passengers. It is by far the most crowded airport that I've ever been in.. The bench were full.. The restaurants were full.. And everything looked so expensive and I felt poor~ (-_-")

Betapa adhoc nya la trip ni, I don't even know what currency UAE is using, I don't know what's the exchange rate is like.. Maen beli jak souvenir guna magic card.. Balik Malaysia baru aku fikir heeee

And emirate's in flight service and food deserve a compliment too.. Memang terbaek dan halal~

The movies were latest ones tapi aku pilih untuk tengok Hotel Transylvania, Taken 2 and The Raid: Redemption.. Kena kasi ketawa aku oleh orang sebelah sebab tengok sambil tutop muka dengan bantal.. Ganas btol!

Dalam banyak2 film Melayu, Hantu Kapcai jadi pilihan Emirates haha

The guy seated next to me was a Slovakian who lives in Czech. He was away for 3 months to escape the winter and was quite surprised to find it was still cold in Czech. 

"This time of the year, it shouldn't be this cold.. Ice should already melt.. Everything should already be green and flowers should be in blossom in a few days.. But not this year.." he said..

He was very concern about me being alone in Prague. Asked about my transport to the hotel from the airport.. And was shocked when I said I haven't got any plans yet..

"Dear, everything will be written in Czech.. You'll be confused.. You better get some friends with you"

And after that he helped me get my backpack on my back.. haha O0o0 mesti dia rasa aku sangat budak sebab kecil (-_-") 

I have always been an obsessive travel planner.. I would already know how the transport system works and how to get to a destination months before a trip. But this time I was definitely clueless.. Went straight to the money changer and then the info service.. The lady at the counter has fair English fluency and she didn't say much although I needed more info actually..

GG: Hello. I need help on how to get to the central.. (mau cakap lagi tapi telah di potong)
Lady: You buy this 90 minutes tickets for 32 Kc. Take a bus outside; cross the street then to your left. Go to the last station, Djevick and from there take metro.

Paid 32 Kc and did just what I was told. I wanted to ask more but the lady continued to do what she was doing so malas la.. And minutes after that, I found myself inside a bus filled with people whose appearance are much superior in terms of complexion and charm and they were talking in languages that are alien to me. Masa ni ada rasa mo nangis because I can't understand a word! Not even a word! Tapi nasib baek lah kacak so I just stole a glance at some of the best looking ones dan menikmati pemandangan indah haha 

The journey to the central took less than 90 minutes. When the bus stopped at Djevicke, I took a train to Mustek and from there to Karlovo namesti. The Metro system is easy to understand and the signage are clear. Sangat sistematik; susah lagi LRT di KL tu. RA & I almost took the wrong train in KL because the signage are confusing!

The above is the pic of my 23 beds dorm. Got top bunk and I only paid RM 115 for five nights! Murah bukan?? Hehe O ya the name of the hotel is Mosaic House. And the best thing about it is, there is a halal restaurant just across the street.. Like 1 minute walk from the entrance door.

What I don't like about it is the energy saving technology.. Not that I'm against environment conservation or what.. I just found it annoying when the lights were suddenly turned off while I was reading on my bed or in the shower.. and sometimes you can't even get your battery fully charged because of this energy saving thingy.. but the place was cozy and clean (^^) but the internet connections were sometimes poor but still I was able to upload pics every night hehe

I arrived at the hostel at around 3 pm.. Had a long shower because my last bath was the morning before I went to work.. Urgh filthy~ And then as to not waste any time, I decided to explore a bit of Prague before sunset. The bunks next to mine was shared by a girl from England and Greece. So I asked them whether I could go to Charles Bridge on foot

"It's very near. You just turn left from the hotel exit and walk until the end of the block where you'll see the river. And from there just follow the pathway along the riverbank and in few hundred meters, you'll find the bridge.." *mendengar sambil admire British accent itu*

So I did just that and voilla! Charles Bridge!!!!!!
And from there I just follow the crowd haha

Believe me, that evening, there were only 2 places of interest known to me in Prague; Charles Bridge and Prague castle. I bought the travel guide alright but I only read through it once before boarding in KL.. I only opened it again on the first night in Prague because I need to plan where I should go the next day. I don't want to miss the must sees! \(^^)/

It was not that crowded on the bridge that evening. May due to the cold weather. But I really like the statues..

The construction of the bridge started in the 13th century and finished around the 15th. The statues that are present now are however replicas.. But still you can enjoy the artistic value of the baroque style.. The sculptor must have been an OCD to have sculpt so delicately~

This is a view of church of St Nicholas (^^)

I've hundreds of pics on facebook.. So tengok sana la ah.. I can only share some of the pics in this blog..

That night I had a jet lag. Was wide awake at 4 am because it was already noon in Malaysia.. Forced myself to sleep because I need to recharge to explore the city! 

To be continued~