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Published: January 21st 2010
Old Town Square
Today when we got up, it wasn't sunny. It was overcast. After some breakfast we got ready to walk up to the Old Town Square. It's another big square surrounded by buildings and filled with people and vendors. We saw the Astronomical clock on the old town hall. It's pretty crazy looking. Not only does it tell the time, but the zodiac, day, place of the sun, moon, etc. Every hour, on the hour, the four statues (representing the four vices) come to life by moving their heads, and the skeleton (death) rings a bell. Two doors open up and a parade of apostles goes by. At the end, a golden rooster comes out and crows - though it sounds pretty pathetic - I can see at the time all this was a big deal. It was really fun to watch/see. In the center of the square was the Jan Hus Monument, apparently erected in 1915 on the 500th anniversary of the religious reformer's execution. From the square you can see twin gothic steeples of the Tyn Church. The steeples were cool, but not symmetrical. We followed sings to Josefov (the one-time Jewish Quarters of the city). We hooked on to
a free walking tour for a little bit. We saw the outside of the Spanish Synagogue (reportedly the most beautiful one in Europe) and then followed the guide to the Old New Synagogue, which is the oldest still functioning synagogue in Europe. I think the guide said there were around 6 original synagogues in the quarters, most everything else had been destroyed and rebuilt within the last 100 years or so. We saw the old Jewish cemetery and wanted to go in, but you had to buy a ticket to see a bunch of things. We couldn't just pay to get in. So we walked around and found a small window to look in. It certainly looked old! Crooked, faded tombstones were everywhere. Adam recognized it from INXS's music video for "Never Tear Us Apart." In fact, that whole video was shot in Prague. After wandering around a while, we went back to the Old Town Square. There seemed to be a lot of people getting married. I think we saw about four or five couples having their wedding pictures taken.
One of the vendors in the square was a blacksmith. He had his wheel that would ignite flames on
the coals so he could heat up some metal. He would then bang on it on his anvil. It was fun to watch. We grabbed some sausages in baguettes for lunch and found a bench to eat them on. It was nice and tasty. We decided to head back after, which was smart, since our feet started hurting. We took a nap and then got up and went for dinner. We went to U Flecku, which is touristy, but was fun none the less. It has long, family style tables to sit at, and they plunk down their huge beer for you to drink while their oompah band plays - a tuba and an accordion. The beer (a European dark lager) was good. Better than the pilsners. Once the beer guy noticed you were low he would slap another beer down in front of you. He caught me off guard, but not Adam. Adam told him no, and the guy tried to insult Adam's manliness, but Adam didn't fall for it. It was funny. We shared the third beer. We ordered some roast pork, potato dumplings and sauerkraut for dinner and split it. It was good, even the sauerkraut! After
dinner we went a few doors down tto the Absinthe Time Bar, and got some absinthe. We each ordered one served in a different style. One was diluted with water, one with fire! The guy placed a big water dripper on the table, and put the glass of absinthe with the slotted spoon and cube of sugar under a drip of water to slowly melt the sugar, and when it was all melted, stirred it all up. The other one was bright green (it had be at least 70% abv) and had the slotted spoon with the cube of sugar and a cube of sugar he dunked in the absinthe and then set on a plate. He lite the sugar cube on the plate and the one on the spoon on fire. The over over the glass he would dunk and set the spirit on fire as well. It was awesome to watch...less awesome to drink. It was hot, and it burned going down. Even taking the other cube of sugar as a chaser didn't help. It made Adam turn a bit green. The one diluted with water was much better. It tasted like licorice and was drinkable. We got
Top of Old New Synagogue
a second one diluted with water, but it wasn't as good as the first (we tried a different brand of absinthe). It was a lot of fun though. Plus seeing the fire was sweet. We asked the bartender if anyone had ever gone crazy in there from too much absinthe, and he said no..............only two people. Hilarious.
When we left the bar it was raining!! We'll see how the weather is tomorrow, our last full day here. Then it's off to Germany for the last part of our trip.
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