July 4 - 5
(July 6 - scroll down)
We left Krabcice after a great meal and motored the short 75 km to Prague. Of course the bus wasn't allowed in the old city, so we unloaded and carried our stuff to the Hotel Rubicon which turned out to be a rather nice facility. They are working hard to move from a hostel rating to a hotel rating - and they are doing a great job! After a little hike for gelato, everyone retired at a decent hour for the evening.
On the Charles Bridge.
Saturday morning found us headed off to the Old Town and the castle. We heard part of a brass band concert in the morning at 10, visited some of the buildings inside the castle walls, went into the cathedral, made the palace guard smile, laugh and talk (he was fine, but a tour guide was a little miffed at us...), and hiked back down the hill.
St. Vitus - on the Castle grounds.
View through the castle walls.
The palace guard.
The Charles Bridge.
The end of the long walking day.
After putting our feet up for a while, our shoppers returned with a simple meal and we went out for more gelato. It was a pretty relaxing day - our first on the trip, so now everyone should be well rested.
Our navigators seemed a little confused.
Sunday, July 6
Sunday morning has arrived here - and we are all awake (easily, for some strange reason). It is 6:30 am and breakfast (such as it is at this hour) is served. We have to be out by 7 am to walk to the bus and drive to our first church service of the day at the Svateho Vaclava. We arrive at 7:30 and the service is at 8:30. The service will end at 9:30, we will pack bells, take a 10 minute hike down the street to the second service and be ready to ring at 10:00. The second church is the Czech Hussite Church. [Check later to see if any of these plans actually worked out...]
Later in the day
We made it to both! The 8:30 service at the Catholic Church was well-received. We set up in time to practice a few things, and figure out a way to shorten "Festive Chime" for the postlude - just in case we needed to get moving. When the service ended around 9:45, we REALLY needed to get moving, so the shortened version was played faster than ever - and quite well. The congregation loved the sound of the bells (132 in the congregation), our ringers and everything about our time with them. We are hoping to return sometime in the near future. (They also took every CD that we had with us - unfortunately not very many...)
Svateho Vaclava - Worship at 8:30 am.
Ringing at 8:30.
The ringers tore the set-up down in record time (SERIOUS record time!) and flew down the street to the next church (a Hussite church) and had things set-up faster than any previous record thanks to the set-up help of Jim C. and Jim Z. (having the tables all ready to go is a big thing when we travel). Again, the playing was awesome, the service was a little more intelligible because the scripture readings were done first in Czech and then in English. They loved our playing and fed us all kinds of goodies after the service (a smaller crowd of 27, but they had just had a retreat weekend). Again, we have an open invitation to return and we hope to do that in a few years.
Husov Zbor - Czech Hussite Church - 10:00 Worship.
We knew we found the right place.
Following the services, we ate at local restaurants and had great meals, and at least one group had fantastic service. (Read Frannie's commentary on the ringer page.)
Lunch had its lighter side - and we had a taste of Pittsburgh in Prague.
The afternoon was restful and we just did a small tour of the Jewish Quarter and came back for some of our ingenious home cooking at the hostel. We were planning on heading out for gelato, but the rain may dampen those plans (or not). Tomorrow we head to Krakow - it should take only about 9 hours, but since we have a forecast of 100% chance of rain, I guess we'll be fine. It won't be as much fun for Mark, our driver, but we should be able to catch up on some rest and some correspondence.
Our resident locksmiths. (Other duties as assigned.)
(You'll have to ask about that one when we return...)
Krakow - 1
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