Despite the heat and crowds.....

Trip Start Jun 14, 2013
1
3
20
Trip End Jul 06, 2013


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Where I stayed

Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavni mesto Praha,
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 3 starts out warm and clear.  We have a lovely breakfast and talk about past trips with fellow travelers.  (translated that means we exchanged lies)  After our scrambled eggs and yogurt we are off to meet the day.  This morning we cross the Charles Bridge--which is already overwhelmingly warm and full of fellow tourists.  The sun is hitting rather hard and we are in full sweat mode by the time we reach Old Town.  When I say Old Town I refer to Really Old Town. All around the square and along the lanes connecting it with the River Vltava stand houses with foundations dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. The Old Town Hall was founded in 1338.  Hmmm, what were the residents of California doing in 1338? Never mind. 

As we head towards the 600 year old Astronomical Clock, Judith ducks into various shops, looking for bargains in glassware and ceramics. We reach the clock at 11:45 and as we wait for the clock to strike 12 the sun comes out in full force and our shade disappears.  As the noon hour approaches (the clock does its thing every hour on the hour) the various tour groups that were circling the square now focus on the small location in front of the clock, and I might add, in front of us.  

 It doesn't take much imagination to vision the effect of 300 people (some of which forgot? to put on their deodorant this morning), standing shoulder to shoulder, in the hot sun--we can almost see the heat waves rising from the bodies.  Well, enough of that.  At the stroke of 12 a bell starts ringing and the figures of the 12 Apostles appear in procession, followed by figures representing Human Vanity, Miserliness, Death and a Turk (why a Turk?)  A skeleton on the side of the clock appears to be pulling a rope to ring the bell. Quite a spectacle!   

Now that the morning excitement is over we head for the immense church called Tyn,that looms over the Old Town square.   Actually it doesn't really loom--although it may have loomed in earlier days.  Now, a 3 story building built several hundred years ago blocks the church from the square and the only way to enter the church is thru a hallway in the front building--which we did.  Inside, the church is a grand monument to the past glory of the Catholic Church.  Tall and wide, Gothic in design, incredible stain glass windows and all built starting in 1365.  The best (well one of the best) features was that it was cool inside--a great respite from the heat outside. We could have lingered longer but we had more sites to see.

Next stop, the museum housing the works of Salvador Dali and Alfons Mucha.  Both great artists but although Mucha was Bohemian by birth, Dali was a Spaniard so the connection was not too clear.  I can appreciate the art of Mucha but Dali, for the most part is a little too crazy for my tastes.

As we leave the museum we nearly stumble over a beggar on the sidewalk.  I have seen beggars in other parts of the world but not of the Prague school of beggars.  Here, the person (mostly young males, appearing to be in their 20s) kneel across the sidewalk, lean on their elbows, and with a cup in their hands, or their hands merely cupped, stare at the sidewalk in front of their nose--which is nearly touching the sidewalk. As they are blocking the sidewalk in this position, most people walk into the street to avoid them--I have yet to see anyone give money.  On the other hand, there are a lot of street artists, mimes, jugglers, and musicians which add a touch of color to the otherwise colorful landscape.

From Old Town Square we return to the restaurant "Locl" where we ate yesterday.  Today we have a late lunch of goulash and pickled cabbage salad and a large cold Pilsner beer.  The meal was great, especially the nice cold beer.  After the meal we returned to the inn for a little R and R.  Judith was antsy after a short while and returned to the shopping circuit while I stayed a took a well deserved siesta.  

In the evening we hung around the inn, talking to the owner, reading and writing.  No dinner as we were still sated from our lunch.Tomorrow we move to the Hilton to meet with the cruise group. 

End of day 3

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