By the day after Christmas Austria was only about halfway into its 90 hour holiday shutdown (early closings on 24 December, holiday closures on 25 and 26 December, and the usual miserable Sunday Shutdown on 27 December), and we could not bear returning to shuttered Vienna. A quick Internet inquiry turned up a “last available” suite in a four-star Stare Mesto hotel at an 80% discount!  We booked it and pointed the wagon home via one of our favorite Central European capitals.
Prague is everything Vienna is not on a winter holiday. People were everywhere, SHOPPING and enjoying OUTDOOR DINING in all of the tourist areas. The temperatures were mild; the holiday lights were twinkling; and it was hard not to feel festive.  As we have visited the city several times, we had the simple purpose of wandering happily–up to the castle complex for its small Christmas market and views across the city, then back into Stare Mesto for a delicious dinner at a restaurant with cozy outdoor seating.

Our starters of a French cheese plate and pate. Duck Confit and other sumptuous dishes, plus a robust Moravian red graced our table for dinner. We ❤️ Prague.

The teenagers went on ahead to the Palladium after dinner, Prague’s major shopping mall tucked into the center of the city while Tony and I strolled back to our fabulous hotel. The evening could not have been lovelier.

Clayton Theodore demanded his morning constitutional around 0700 on Sunday morning, and I thought it wise to grab my camera as I walked out the door. Prague in the winter morning sky was striking.

Sunrise now upon us we returned to our hotel, where breakfast had just been delivered to the suite. How relaxing to not have to “dress” for breakfast.

Anna Grace and I took advantage of the Czech Republic being open to indulge in a little lot of shopping before we left Prague, another treat of the holiday. Soon enough, though, it was time to head home.  
This was the first time we have spent Christmas away from home, and from start to finish the holiday was a resounding success. “Where are we going next year?” is the question for 2016.