14 November 2009

Prague [Day Ten]

We had a full on day planned for exploring the spectacular city that is Prague. We'd planned a walking tour starting at 10:30, so decided to check out a couple of places the tour did not visit. The first being Wenceslas Square in Nove Mesto (New Town). This is a huge commercial area, leading up to the National Museum. Really quite a cool spot.

We then waited for the tour. ANOTHER no show. Luckily another tour company was leaving 30 minutes later, so we just tagged along with them. As we were waiting we saw this crazy lady walking around singing and kind of dancing, really wierd. Strangest part is we just saw her tonight before we came home, about 12 hours later. Dedicated.

Some of what was covered on the tour we had already discovered ourselves or been shown the night before, but a lot was new. We learnt a huge amount of really interesting history, including the WW2 and communisim. The Czechs have been invaded and controlled for centuries. There is a really good monument showing their attitude toward this, which literally shows two guys pissing on the map of Czech. Check it out.

On the tour we visited the old town square, Wenceslas Square, the Jewish Quarter, Estates Theatre (First Mozart Performance), the National Theatre... plus lots more I cant remember (its pretty bad, I have a whole lot of photos with no names :S )

We then headed for Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. Charles Bridge was built in 1357 and has 30 statues along its edges. Unfortuntely it is showing its age and now a large part of it is under repair. It is a huge tourist spot, so even now during the low season, it is packed! I think had it not been for the repairs and tourists, Charles Bridge would have been a highlight of our time in Prague. Even still, I got some good pics of the river.

Across the bridge lies the Prague Castle. We walked up countless steps to reach  it, and once there we had spectacular views of the city. We experienced the changing of the guard and went into the St Vitas Cathedral. This was right up there with the bast cathedrals we have seen around the world - HUGE, and so amazingly detailed. The stained glass was also very impressive.

The sun was starting to set by this stage, so we quickly made our way to the Jewish Cemetry again to see if we could take a look (we didnt have time to on either of our tours). Unfortunately they were just closing up for the day as we arrived. So we kind of just had a walk around to see what we could see. A huge wall was built around part of the cemetry to keep people out, but it ended up being used as a retaining wall. As the graveyard was filled, more land was requested, but denied. The only way to go was up, so they bought in more soil and buried the bodies on top of each other. The wall is about 3m high, and there are graves all the way to the top. I managed to get a couple of shots, but they dont really show how truely insane this is.

Rochelle wanted to head to an English bookshop as she has almost finished her current book and we have a 6 hour train journey tomorrow! Just across the road was an awesome looking church so I decided to go in and take a look. There is a story that a thief went into the church to steal the jewels, but as he was reaching for them, a statue of Mary came alive and grabbed his arm. He was stuck there until morning when the priest came in, who had his arm cut off to set him free. The priest had the arm mummified and hung it in the church as a warning to people about the consequences of stealing from the church. The arm still hangs there today (apparently), but I could not find it. Pretty cool story though.

From there we headed to the main square for a sausage and a beer from the market stalls. Sooo good! We also got these awesome sugar cinnamon bread things =)

We then went to the Sex Machine Museum. All I will say is it was definately an eye opener. I dont think this is the place to be putting photos though!

On the way home we walked along the river, which was a great opportunity to get some photos of the castle and Charles Bridge.

Tomorrow we are off to Germany - Munich =)

Next Post - 'Prague to Munich'

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