|The moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste
The hours in an offhand way….
The Czech Republic, Prague, Old Town. Kevin and I flew from London to Prague and made our way to where we were staying just on the edge of Old Town. We settled in and hit the streets to explore, and immediately I was reminded of why August in Europe sucks. People, lots and lots of people, well not just people…TOURISTS!
Now don’t get me wrong, I too, much to my chagrin, am a tourist so therefore part of the problem, and maybe more so then most of the others that I was currently bumping into and trying to weave around. See they have a window of opportunity and only get a specific time off to travel, it is called Holidays or Vacation and it is dictated by a few factors, most commonly what your employer allows and if you are unlucky enough to have reproduced, your children’s school schedule. So I am very understanding as to why these masses of people are running around trying to see everything they can see in the month of August. What I can not understand is why I continue to travel in August? Why? I mean I have no schedule, no employer and thank god, no kids, so what the f**k am I doing here? Well I’m not so bright, so….there I was taking pictures and trying to see everything that I can see, since hey, I’m here. You can’t beat em’, join em’.
Immediately though my mood was lifted as I wandered into some square where they had street vendors and the first thing I saw was a Raclette Stand. Mmmmm…cheese….melted over potatoes….mmmmm….Okay so now I was bumping into others and weaving around others while dripping hot cheese on my chin and grinning like an idiot, all the while with my camera ready to snap away at some old building that I have absolutely no idea of what it is or why I am taking pictures of it! Yep, I’m a tourist :-)
All joking aside, Old Town Prague, crowds and all, is pretty impressive. There are medieval Towers and Churches and buildings and cobblestone streets and little alley ways leading to the main Square, past the Astronomical Clock and eventually all roads lead to Charles Bridge. Wow! Really cool.
So we wandered and soaked up the vibe and took photo’s. One of the really fun and unique things to do, though of course very touristy, is to be at the Clock Tower on the hour. When the Astronomical Clock (I have no idea what that means or how to interpret the dials) strikes the top of the hour, a little show ensues. The chimes chime, or bells ring, bong or whatever it is, and the little statues rotate and the marionette's appear and at the very top of the tower a eunuch or monk or some such character blows his horn. It all happens very fast and only once and hour, so you really have to pay attention. Or like me, come back every hour on the hour to marvel at the little spectacle.
Then of course you have the Bridge. Yes Charles Bridge, it was built sometime back in the 14th Century and is the centerpiece of Old Town Prague. It is marvelous and crowded and lots of fun to stroll in both directions during the day and the night. You can check out the various Statues and take in all the people and generally just be fascinated by it all. So stroll we did. Back and forth a few times.
A quick and interesting fact is that there are lots of churches and religious statues and such scattered around Prague, BUT, much to my delight, the census shows that something like 40% of the population are Atheist. Very cool. And very enlightened in my humble opinion. Though I am still fascinated by the religious statues and icons that people stop to rub or pray at. So I’m kind of glad that religion existed back in the dark ages, I just wish it would go away now.
Back to wandering….and food. Kevin and I happen to like a good meal every now and then. So we set out to find a nice place to dine. U Zlate Studne was the choice. A really sweet restaurant tucked away in a little hotel, nestled next to the Prague Castle. So there we were (really quite romantic :)) with a table on the open air balcony overlooking all of Old Town Prague. Beautiful. As we slowly worked our way through the tasting menu we watched the sunset, followed by a fireworks display, followed by espresso and dessert!
Eventually it was time to say goodbye to Prague and to my friend Kevin for now, he had a plane to catch back to the USA and me…well, since I was doing the tourist thing….next stop….