Published: February 16th 2012September 22nd 2011
I awake from my overnight train, and I am Prague. This city was under communism for over 40 years and seldom visited by tourists until 1989. Then the Velvet Revolution of 17th November 1989 changed that (now commemorated as a Czech Republic public holiday) and today Prague is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. It is no exaggeration to call Prague one of the most attractive places on earth. I noticed this right away as I was walking to my hostel. My directions to my hostel were pretty clear, and I made it without any problem. I could not check in due to the time, so I decided to take a walking tour. I felt this would give me the best opportunity to see Prague from the eyes of an expert. Lucky for me, the tour guide came to the hostel, and we left from there. We then went to the central part of the old town to meet others who would join the tour. My tour guides name was Filip, and he was a native of Prague. I thought this was great, for I knew he would have lots to offer the group. The first part starts on
the Old Town Square (in which was absolutely beautiful) with a general introduction to Prague. After giving the group a little history, we made our way to the Astronomical Clock at the old Town Hall. This is one of the landmarks or Prague. Since ancient times, it has been said that the Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock are sites with tremendous magical powers, enhancing the creativity of visitors of Prague. Whether or not this is true is left to the individual. I thought it was just a beautiful sight. The clock mechanism itself is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; "The Walk of the Apostles", a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures—notably a figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.
After this we moved on throughout various parts of Prague admiring the impressive composition of old buildings and churches with Filip giving his insight all along the way. He was very entertaining, and maybe this was because he worked for tips only,
but none the less, he was fun. We went through the new Prague, a visit to the Jewish Quarter which was explained along with its tragic history. We discovered the destiny of Prague Jews living behind the wall of the former ghetto. The Old-New Synagogue, the Old Jewish Cemetery, the Jewish Museum were among some of the sights we saw. Lastly, we made our way to the Rudolfinum. This beautiful building held concerts, and was a beauty to behold. You could see the Prague Castle from here. At the end of the walking tour Filip bid us adieu, and he mentioned the next tour of the Prague Castle would be talking place. I wanted to go on this tour, although it was not free but cost 300 CZK. It was not the money necessarily, but I wanted to walk across the Charles Bridge first, so this is what I did. The Charles Bridge is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river. The Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas. The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 meters wide. It is protected by three bridge towers,
two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas. I went for my stroll across the bridge during ther day, and it was packed with tourists, owners of kiosks selling about every trinket you could imagine, musicians, and many painters. Quite entertaining I must say. I walked entirely across looked around for a few minutes, and made my way back. I wanted to take the next walking tour of the Prague Castle, and it was set to start very soon.
I paid my money and started the Prague Castle walking tour. My tour guides name was Karal, and he was a local of the Czech Republic. He gave us a brief history, and we made our way to the castle. He showed us where some Hollywood movies were filmed along the way, and he was a bit partial to Vin Diesel's movies, for he is
also a native. Anyway, we made it to the castle, and what a sight to behold!! Breathtaking is not the word. We were able to go into the castle and look around for about twenty minutes or so at our own pace. I took in all of the beautiful sights, and was just so very thankful at this moment to be here. We had a certain time to meet back with the group, for we were going to witness the changing of the guard. I always enjoy watching a guard change, for the guardsmen are so precise in every movement. Once we did this, we made our way back down the hill toward the city. Along the way, we stopped at a little ampatheatre and was asked to step on the platform one at a time. When you gave your name and country, the sound of your voice magnified. It really was a pretty cool feeling while on the platform. Karal also took us up to a monk monestery while there. He mentioned they had their own brewery, but I did not partake. I did however go in to observe. This was pretty cool. Well, it was time for me
to make my way back. I tredged back down the hill, walked across the Charles Bridge once again, and slowly made my way back to my hostel. I snapped some photos of the Prague Castle at night, and then back to my hostel. I wanted some rest, for I would be travelling to Munich next, and I knew I would need all the rest I could get...
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