|The girls with their swords. They loved hiking with them.|
|Taking a break|
|Miranda loved the backpack and did awesome in it. (Whew!)|
We also saw Castle Rabi, which was about 1/2 hour away from our home base. It's one of the oldest castle ruins in Czech, built around 1300.
This tour guide only spoke Czech and German, so we had to make due with our pre-printed English tour. But we met a really nice English speaking couple who graciously helped translate for us. It was a great experience--the people we met in Czech were so friendly and nice. I believe they really liked seeing the kids. Seriously, Europeans love kids! They get free stuff all the time and everyone wants to take their picture.
|Inside the castle grounds at Rabi|
We took our final hike up to a river where we hoped to swim. It was about 7 km round trip (a little over 4 miles) but the kids did great. The weather was gorgeous!
|Wishing we could read Czech....|
|Where we stopped for lunch, beside the river. We built a few cairns to go with the many we saw.|
|Yes, it's cccccold!|
|Miranda was NOT a fan of the cold water. You can almost hear her protesting!|
|Speaking of protesting, she finally fell asleep in the backpack. We didn't dare move her!|
|Beautiful trip and beautiful girls!|
Another highlight of our trip was an excursion to Cesky Krumlov (Chess-key Kroom-loff). This town is amazing! It's so picturesque and so much of it hasn't changed in hundreds of years. One of the main reasons it's so well-preserved is because of the forced relocation of the native Czechs by Hitler before WWII (as part of the Sudetenland) and then the reprisal--forced relocation of the Germans after WWII. The town lost about 75% of its inhabitants, so there wasn't much interest in the town until it was rediscovered in the 1980s. And the history surrounding the area! I've only touched on it.
|One of the impressive entrances into the city. This is part of the castle which overlooks the town.|
|Looking across town at the castle. You can see part of the above pic to the left of the tall brown building (center).|
|The main square. Hitler gave a speech at the fountain's steps, and Russian tanks rolled in here in the 60s.|
|The girls loved looking for blazes--they are blaze-spotting experts!|
|Overlooking the city from the castle walls.|
|We took a break at a park in the city. It was a hot day!|
|Is this the perfect place or what? And look at that handsome man ordering for me! <3 td="">3>|
|Looking like how we all felt. :)|
And last but certainly not least....Prague! What an amazing city. Now we've seen a lot of European cities, but none impacted us like Prague did. To stand at the top of Wenceslas Square (just below) and realize that here in 1989 300,000 Czechs (and Slovaks) demonstrated peacefully in hopes of gaining their freedom and in response the Soviets just left---absolutely astounding.
In 1968 the Czechs demonstrated against the Soviet's rule but they were brutally repressed. The National Museum's columns were damaged by bullet holes and the nationals who "fixed" the holes (by order of the Soviets) deliberately used a different color paint as a silent demonstration against the oppression.
|Radio Free Europe building (from 1995-2009).|
|Old Town Square|
|Astronomical clock (1400s). Kate was fascinatd by "Death" pulling its' cord when the hour struck. (mid-right side)|
|Even the minions made it to Prague.|
|Hoards of people walking to the Charles Bridge. (Just one street over there was no one!)|
|St. John Nepomuk being tossed off the bridge. Rub the saint for good luck.|
|View of Prague (towards the Old City) from the castle.|
|Changing of the guard at the castle.|
|Our little guard at St. Vitus' cathedral in the castle.|
|Main entrance to the castle.|
|Ellie fell asleep between the Lennon wall and dinner.|
Eating in Prague was just amazing. With the exchange rate, our most expensive dinner was $40 (including drinks, appetizers, and four people eating).
|Goulash!! The eating in Czech was amazing...and did I mention cheap?|
|Heading home to our car and the 4 hour drive back.|