The Prague Castle is the can't-miss tourist attraction in the city, so on my first full day here I had to check it out.
I made the trip with NBC Sports Philadelphia rinkside reporter Taryn Hatcher, and the first thing we saw was a group of street musicians performing across the square from the entrance to the castle. As we got closer to the gates, we saw Padraig, who was dressed as a medieval knight, and you could take pictures with him while wearing royal robes, a crown and a sword, and sit in a throne. For 200 Czech korunas (about $8.50 U.S.), I wasn't missing out.
Our first stop inside the castle gates was St. Vitus Cathedral, which dates to 925. One of the central statues is a monument to St. Vojtech, the archbishop of Prague, who lived from 956-997.
From there we walked into the Old Royal Palace, where we found a room that had the coats of arms of high officials painted on it. They commemorated individuals who held important land offices from the 16th to the 18th century, including High Chamberlain, High Judge and High Scribe.
Next to that room was Vladislav Hall, which was used for parties, knights contests, coronations and other royal events during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was finished in 1500, and includes the letter W, which was the royal family's initial, and the coat of arms for Hungary on the left and the Czech Republic on the right.
We also stopped in Diet Hall, where the leaders of Czech government from that time would meet. The ruler would sit on the throne at center. To his or her right would sit the archbishop of Prague, and on the left would sit the highest noblemen. In the front rows would be lesser nobles, knights and squires.
In need of something to eat or drink, we stopped into a cafe that sold hot wine. I'm not much of a wine drinker, but my curiosity got the best of me, and for 80 korunas ($3.50 U.S.), Taryn and I each got a glass. It was pretty good, like warm cider. And with some chilly temperatures and rain falling, a warm drink was a good idea.
Our next stop was the Golden Lane, which featured an armory. And also a crossbow target shooting range.
Yes, it was as fun as it looked. And I put two of my three shots in the target, so that was good.
After hitting some of the souvenir shops, our last stop was Daliborka Tower, a medieval prison. There were some nasty looking items in there, including an iron maiden, a rack, a windowless cell and an axe and basket for removing, and then catching, heads.
The weather might not have been great, but getting the chance to visit Prague Castle has been one of the highlights of my European adventure.