And thank you to the amazing HMS staff who made it all possible.
HCYB Away Blogs
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That 'wow' moment when we walked in
Preparations for the concert
And the 'wow' moment after they had performed a sensational set
Castle area morning sightseeing and then afternoon performance
A tale of elbows, dancing girls, musical soldiers, sentry boxes, cathedral and stunning views...
Locally-specific units of measurement were used in Prague and neighbouring areas to measure length, area, capacity and so on until metrification in 1876. At the old town hall near the castle, anyone wishing to check that they had been sold a correct measure of fabric could come and verfiy it at the elbow measure on the front door of the building. A group of us checked our own elbow lengths and found we fell somewhat short of the standard.
The magic of Hradanske Square
One of the guards at the palace, newly in position after the changing of the guard ceremony.
A small marching band appeared, went into the castle, and started to play as they marched away again.
Cathedral St Vitus inside the castle enclave
Heading away from the calm castle environs back down into the heat and hubbub of the city
Stunning views from on high across the city through the morning haze
Whilst performing in Hradanske Square, spontaneously a group of girls who were watching, decided to dance together to the music.
A few group shots before walking back down to the city
Bowling on Thursday evening
Sampling Trdelnik icecream, a Prague speciality.
Irina, our wonderful guide and translator.
On Friday morning we explored the area around the castle. We watched the changing of the guard, went into St. Vitus Cathedral inside the courtyards of the castle. The area is high up, with trees, and is very beautiful. The views across the city below were spectacular. Then in the early afternoon the band performed outside the castle gates in Hradanske Square which is surounded by historical houses and palaces. There was an impromptu happy dance by a group of teenage girls who were passing through. The band attracted large numbers of appreciative people who watched from all around the square.
More to follow later, plus photos from the finale concert at the Czech Museum of Music.
Thursday morning in Jan Palach Square. This is situated on the right bank of the Vitava River just next to the Charles Bridge from where you can look up towards Prague Castle. The building behind the band is the Rudolfinium Concert Hall, built in the late 19th Century.
Play started to a small audience of passers by as below but it swiftly grew to a decent sized and very appreciative audience.
In the afternoon the band performed in the beautiful St Nicholas Church in Old Town Square. It is a late Gothic and Baroque church built in 1730s with an enormous chandelier.
The Church was packed full and the performance was very well received.
Some sightseeing photos from yesterday and one from our hotel.
After a delicious round of baguette sandwiches the band members made their way to the park in Podebrady for their second performance of the day in a tented stage to a very appreciative seated audience.
Then after some ice cream drove back to Prague where we were genuinely delighted to see a brief shower as we entered the city. Supper, chill out time and then to bed for another prompt start tomorrow.
We went by coach from Prague in an easterly direction to the spa town of Podebrady. We started with a guided visit of the glass factory Crystal Bohemia.
We watched an introductory film that explained the manufacturing process, had a viewing of their museum and then a guided tour of the factory itself, seeing the mechanical and blown methods. We watched the glass being etched by hand and then we had a little visit to the shop.
This was a fascinating tour.
Mike and Mark, who have the patience of saints and do far more than cart us from A to B.
On our way to the site of our first concert of the day... BlogEd just had to snap a Prague tram, a feature of the city since 1875.
The band's first concert of the tour today was in front of the historic Estates Theatre opera house where Mozart's Don Giovanni was first performed.
Today has been humid and hot so we have had to take extra care to make sure everyone stays hydrated. After a snack lunch locally, we took the metro into the city and our tour guide showed us the sights of Prague.