Prague for a day

Trip Start Mar 14, 2010
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29
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Trip End Jul 11, 2010


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, June 15, 2010



Today we have a day in Prague. We'll be starting the day with a guide who will explain things as we first tour the city by bus then as we walk around. After 11:00 we have a free day in the city.

First of all our guide is a scream. Her English is good but her accent is absurdly harsh. She's going to tell us abour some "vahry eenterasting theengs" I'm sure.

We start in the old Jewish quarter of the town. Prague was a centre of some refuge for Jews during the time of the Nazis as Hitler decided the city should house Jewish antiquties. The Jewish cemetery here has the grave of Franz Kafka and there's a museum in his name also.

We go to the north side of the famous Charles Bridge (named after King Charles IV who presided over a golden period of Czech history during the 14th century). The bridge was erected by Charles in 1357 after an earlier bridge built by the Slavs in the 13th century had burnt down. On the south side you can see two towers - one is from the old bridge, one from the newer. We get a chance to walk over it and trip over all the marketeers, painters and entertainers that line the sides. The bridge also has many religious statues along both sides.

She marches us into the old town where we see the famous astronomical clock on the old town hall. At this early stage of the day the crowds are already pretty big but will get much bigger in a few hours. The clock is well done, especially for something built centuries ago. After this we pretty much break up to do our own thing. After looking in various shops and heading up to the Powder Bridge we come back again through the old town square. It's now close to 12:00 and the square is packed and the crowd around the clock is almost impossible to cut through.

We manage to get through and head back to the Charles Bridge on our wat to the Prague Palace. Getting across the bridge is slow going due to crowds. Then we get to the other side and head up the steep hill to the palace district. When we get there we take photos of the outside of the cathedral, St Guy's then go inside. We've been into a lot of Cathedrals on this trip so it's almost a case of "here we go again". However, the stained glass in this one is stunning. I took a lot of photos of it. The church was originally built in the 14th century but much of it was added in 1929, including the stained glass. Best not know the history sometimes.

After this we checked out the Church of the Infant Baby Jesus - much simpler. Then we go looking for a beer and kill some time enjoying a Czech pilsener and watch the crowds go by. Then it's back to the bus pick up point near the Czech bridge. We're a bit early so we do a quick trip up the hill to see the metronome. This is interesting because it stands where an enormous statue of Joseph Stalin used to be. The Stalin monument used to dominate the Prague skyline and the architect who designed it received so much hate mail from the people of Prague that he committed suicide. The statue's lifetime was brief - it was pulled down in 1963? when Stalin's legacy and methods fell spectacularly out of favour across the communist states. Now the metrnome stands there on the original massive platform. We got some nice photos from high on the hill.

After dinner a group of seven of us head back into town by cab to have a few drinks near the square. Just a couple and we're home by 10 and happy to have negotiated our way through two bars and two taxis with a mixture of Euros and Czech krowns. Sick of the Czech money at the moment and the way we get ripped off by the locals when we hand over Euro.
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