1.5 days in Prague
I was really looking forward to seeing Prague. I didn’t know much about the city, but I associated it in my head as one of the biggies, with slightly less popular but more subtle flair than Paris. Of course it is a huge tourist destination now that Communism has left and it was beautiful weather so a TON of people were there a visiting along with our group.
We arrived in Prague the evening after passing lunch in Dresden and driving South all afternoon. Our tour bus actually got pulled over just before the Germany-Czech Republic border for a passport control check. There were two officers and they were very thorough. Some passports got pulled and checked due to bad handwriting or questionable stamps. The tour guide said getting stopped is rare (D and I haven’t ever been stopped crossing borders by car) but it happens. A big orange tour bus is an easy target too.
After arriving at the hotel, we put bags away, had dinner at the hotel (tour provided), and went for a walk.
We saw the Prague Castle rather quickly, it was across the Vltava river, and very beautiful. It`s one of the largest castles in the world, and Prague is know as the “city of a hundred spires.” There were tourists, with expensive cameras and tripods, taking pictures. Here’s our version:
Prague was ruled for some time by Habsburgs like many of the other countries/cities on our tour. No place seemed to be too happy about these rulers but I really want to find a book that outlines this family’s history. I saw one while we were walking around that day, and I’m kicking myself now for not buying it then and there.
The following morning we had a walking tour of the castle and other parts of the city. Our guide, Wenceslas, told us that his own name, Wenceslas, is a very common name in the Czech Republic. It is the name of their most favorite and famous King, Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia from 907 to 935. There is also a Wenceslaus Square in the center of the city where public events are held.
Here are some photos of the castle in daylight:
Part of the castle includes St. Vitus Cathedral with its Gothic architecture:
Pieces of the cathedral are fairly new. Part of the rose window shows tribute to some of its 20th century architects (notice the modern clothing styles of the men in the bottom right corner):
Another photo inside the castle grounds (I liked the tree and the orangey-red-brown):
Pissing Men fountain by Czech sculptor, David Cerny :
Bookstore that reminded me of the one in Paris:
Stairs leading to Charles Bridge:
Orloj, the famous astronomical clock, was built in 1410 and has been in operation, with short interruptions, ever since. I have no idea how but it shows the sunrise/sunset, month, day, astronomical sign, moon phase, and the current hour and minute too!
We visited the Communist Museum in Prague. Good stuff there, good stuff everywhere.