Walking through the Old Town

Trip Start Jun 14, 2013
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6
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Trip End Jul 06, 2013


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Where I stayed
Hilton Prague
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
Old town square, Jewish quarter, Wenceslas Square

Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavni mesto Praha,
Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 5.  I slept well last night.  Maybe the change of hotels made a difference.  I really loved the Big Boot but the bed was a little different. First of all, it was not a king size bed but 2 twins pushed together.  Not a bad idea, it works for us at Ollin, but at Ollin we don't have beds with wide side rails that become very prominent when the beds are simply pushed together--making a sort of "no man's land" in the middle.  OK.  The other oddity was that there was no second sheet, only the bottom sheets, and a down comforter in a large pillow case. So, temperature regulation was a bit tricky, and you were either under the covers or not--no "just a sheet" to adjust the temperature. So, last night at the Hilton, the bed at least was normal--sheets and all.

This morning we paid a hotel taxi driver about $35 to take us to the central square.  There was not too much that we wanted to do today but somehow it took us all day to do it.  We started off with the Church of San Nicholas--a small Gothic Church on the side of the square.  Over 800 years old and containing an antique organ, the church seems to be dedicated more to the concert business than the churching business.  Speaking of which we have noted that all of the churches and historic sites offer concerts.  If the site has an ancient pipe organ the concert may be of organ music, if not, any music will do.  This is such a competitive business that there are students on all the street corners handing out flyers announcing the concerts that are available at their employers venue.  Just in the town square we note that tonight there are no less that 8 concerts tonight with an average price of $30 per person. 

Anyhow, getting back to St Nicholas, the church has old wooden pews, well worn stone floors and colorful stain glass windows--that date back to the 1500s.  Very impressive.  We decide to purchase tickets to attend their concert that night at 5pm before leaving to see the surrounding sites.  

The St Nicholas sits on one side of the square, The church of Tyn sits on another side and on the other side is located the town hall with the astronomical clock.  As we cross the square we see the usual mix of tourists and also those seeking to make a little money from the tourists.  On a bench sitting next to a group of visitors is a young man all painted in gold.  From his shoes, to his cap, even to his glasses, all is gold colored.  He doesn't move for the whole time we were in the square; but some persons drop a coin in the cup he has provided.  But, the most amazing act was the 2 young men performing a stunt on the edge of the square. One of the 2 was seated on the ground, his right arm outstretched, holding a 6 foot pole in the air. Holding onto the other end of the pole with one hand, and seated in the air was the other chap.  They maintained this position for the 10 minutes that we stood in awe (along with a large group of other stunned observers). Neither was shaking or otherwise showing any signs of exertion--we don't know how they did it!!  Hopefully I can download a foto that I took of the 2.

From the performers we continue on to the Wenceslas Square.  Although the square was originally founded by King  Charles IV in the 1300s, it it is better known as the site of all of the major protests and events.  It was here that the Nazis staged their entrance in WW2, where the Communist had their rallies and where the revolution began that threw out the communists in 1989.  Now the square is lined with high-end shops and restaurants.  Amongst the newer shop buildings are old apartment buildings that date from the early 1800s. Those older buildings are very ornate while the newer buildings are plain.

On our way out of the square we stop at a local restaurant and have a light meal before returning to St. Nicholas for the 5 pm concert.  In the church we enjoyed the music of a harpsichordist, an oboe player and the organist.  All classical music.  I see that despite the great number of available concerts available daily, this one was attended by about 120 persons, all paying an average of $25 to hear the music.Now it is obvious to me why there are so many concerts.....do the math.  The concert business certainly pays better than the church can earn on the Sunday offering plate.

As we leave the church we hear very lively Scottish tunes coming from the square.  We wander over and enjoy traditional Highland music played by a bagpipe, a drummer, a base and guitar.  The music was so enjoyable that we bought 2 of their CDs to take home with us.

At the edge of the square we grab a taxi and head back to the Hilton.  Call it a day well spent.  

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Comments

Melissa on

Wow, those two performers are very impressive!!

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