Day 20 - Free Day in Prague, Czech Republic

January 16, 2013 - Prague, Czech Republic

 

I got up early and it was just Jess and I sight seeing today. It has been cold I think it is around -4oC. We walked to the metro and caught the metro from Nadrazi Holesovice to Hradcanska. We got a bit lost from the metro station but we made our way to the Hradcany Castle. There are amazing views from the castle of the city. Walking through the castle you could pay an entrance fee to go through all the museums and different areas of the castle but it wasn’t seeing it as an actual castle so we didn’t bother but we did see a toy museum which we paid 70 Crown to see which was in the castle. It was great to see all the old toys from around time of world war 1. I even saw the original mercano set (Dad/Mum it is the one we saw in the movie - the man who saved Christmas). They even had a whole level dedicated to Barbie, they have the original Barbie from the 1950’s it was so cool but I didn’t see the ballerina Barbie that I had when I was little. It was every girls dream.

From there we walked through the res of the castle and into St Vitus Catherdral (yet another church) this one was spectacular for its leadlight glass panels, this church would have to be the most stained glass windows I have seen in a church so far.

I found people to be quite rude, the tourists form other countries they literally pushed me out the way so they could take a picture of themselves standing in front of the alter. I moved but they were still taking photos. I got Jess to take a photo of me which was in the way of them taking photos not that I wanted a photo inside the church but they were so rude and pushy and didn’t speak a word of English.

Afterwards walking to the front of the castle, we heard a brass band playing. It was the start of the changing of the guards. There was an official car leaving so it may have been the President or Prime Minster (not sure what the head of the state is here), the car had dark tinted windows with the Czech flags on either side of the car. The official changing of the guards occurred after this. It was good to hear the brass band and see the changing of the guards but I still think that the changing of the guards in front of Buckingham palace is far better. The guards looked a bit grumpy I would too if I had to stand in the cold for a lengthy period of time. We headed to a little café near the castle and Jess and I shared a main meal of deep fried mozarella cheese and baked potato wedges with rosemary. Between getting a hot chocolate and sharing the main meal it cost 160 Crown each.

I will be damned if I have to get any more currency changed over, I am trying to keep in my 50 euro budget I got changed the day before.

From there we wandered through the streets and headed to Charles Bridge. There are stone statues across the bridge there is one statue in the middle that is made of brass and there are 2 shiny patches. I didn’t know why people where touching the dog and the man on the statue. I touched both anyway without knowing. (I asked my tour leaded the next day and she said touching the dog is good luck but the locals have shined the other side to fool the tourists). There was another part on the bridge with a cross and a nam lying down where people have been rubbing them but it looked religious so I didn’t worry about that one. With all the rubbing of monuments I have done on this trip 2013 has to be a lucky year for me.

From there we went up one of the town tower at the end of the charles bridge - cost 75 crown. It was a nice view of the river Vltava and the castle.

We slowly walked our way through the back streets to the Old Town Square. We walked up the Astronomical clock tower to get a different view of Prague again. It cost 105 crown to walk up. Prague is known for its astronomical clock. I saw it struck 10 pm the night before and I saw it struck 4pm and 5pm today. If you are ever in prague you have to see the clock. When it strikes the hour, it has doors that open and little figures dancing around with little statues moving on the outside. During the day there is a trumpeter that pays a tune after the bells chime.

From here Jess was investigating getting a tattoo we went to a couple of places and the one that had the time said to come back at 5.30pm. I sat in on Jess getting her tattoo it is the first time I have seen anyone get a tattoo. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It didn’t take long only 16minutes from when jess laid down to the guy finishing it. It cost Jess 1000 crown to get a little snow flake behind her ear. Jess has other tattoos and she has a sleeve of all cartoon characters that she use to watch when she was growing up and being round the same age it is cool to see them from the snorks to astro boy.

After that we got dinner which was a hot dog and a cup of mulled wine for 50 crown. That would have to be the cheapest dinner I have ever had - not the healthiest but I am damned if I am going to change any more currency. After dinner we went to our meeting point for the ghost tour at 7pm The ghost tour cost 200 crown. Our tour guide was dressed up and had a frame and noose as her pointing guide as most tour guides usually carry umbrellas. She has a necklace of skeletons. The tour only last an hour but we walked around town and would stop at certain places and she would tell us a story truth or legend about what happened in that area. The story that got my was the maker of the astronomical clock. One night 2 towns men heated up two rod irons and pocked out the eyes of the clock maker as they were worried that he would make a clock as magnificent for another city and prague would no longer be known for his clock. The clock maker was angry and to get revenge he jumped off the clock tower into the mechanisms committing suicide and breaking the clock so it no longer worked and it took over 100 years to get someone with the know who to fix the clock.

After that we walked along to a pub and then this guy dressed up as an executioner with a head under his arm and an axe stepped out from behind a concrete pole. It wasn’t that scary.

There was another one about the iron man whos spirit lives in the statue and every 100 years on the date that he killed the love of his life he looks for an innocent virgin to ask for forgiveness so his soul can be laid to rest. He killed the love of his life as she refused to date him as he barged in on her getting dressed and he declared his love for her and she didn’t accept it as she was shocked at his entrance. The statue still stands in the square today.

We stopped at this other place and these other tourist tried to get in on our tour and it was so funny as one of them was really drunk and the American guy was given an axe to protect the group and the drunk tourist though it was funny as he wasn’t scary. It didn’t take long before they walked off as the tour guide wasn’t going to resume her story until they left.

By the end of the tour I was starting to get a little freaked as we walked down a vacant alley way and there was a beggar man and I was expecting him to jump out at us. We walked into a café and down into the basement - apparently prague use to be 2 levels lower so what use to be the front door is now a cellar. There were 3 other people 2 English girls and an american. The English girls didn’t want to go down first and I wasn’t going to go down either. The English girls opened the door slightly we had all little lanterns to carry, there were statues and bodies down there which were a bit freaky and going into another room it was all set up with a coffin and axes and skeletons. The tour guide was pointing out one of the holes in the cellar and the English girls screamed and it was a guy dressed up as grim reaper had come out of the coffin and it freaked me out. We then all got photos with the grim reaper and I couldn’t wait to get out of the cellar. I didn’t want to be the last person to leave. It was quite a good ghost tour as they put a bit of effort into the theatrics of it.

By now, I am freezing cold and my feet are hurting from walking on cobble stone roads all day. Catching the metro back and headed to hostel it was about 8.45pm. I couldn’t wait for a nice long hot shower to defrost. I have to say that we end up staying in the most desirable neighborhoods, from walking from the metro to the hostel which is all of a 5minute walk I have seen 2 police cars for every trip to the metro I have done.

Prague is very much a mix of old and new buildings and it interesting to see how they are building up the city. It is very clean and the people seem friendly enough. It isn’t a city that I would rush back to see.


Pictures

Barbies on display
Changing of the guards
View of charles bridge from the tower
Astronomical Clock
 
 
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