April 5, 2012. The Prague Castle opens at 10am which is when I got there. However, a very large area in front of the castle was fenced off and there were policemen and security people everywhere. A military troop in their parade costume and a military band were lined up just inside the castle gates. Tons of spectators stood around the fences. I asked one of the security people what is happening and when can I go in the castle. He said that the Czech President is officially welcoming the President of Azerbaijan today and it will probably take about an hour. I waited and saw the official welcoming ceremony with military honours. It didn't take that long but the fence was kept there till 12 noon. People were able to go inside to visit the rest of the Prague castle through a side entrance.
The long visit ticket for Prague Castle allows you to see everything and it was 350 CZK. I got the short visit ticket for 250 CZK and it was all my feet could take. If you have a student card and are under 26, the fee is 175. The Vitus Cathedral had a sculpture of Christ which I really liked and the sculptor was Vosmik. I wanted to see El Greco in the Šternberk Palace but the regular exhibition was put away for the special exhibition they were having of Rembrandt and Dutch painters. When I was asking around about the El Greco, I couldn't find anyone who spoke English and finally found someone who spoke French. I especially enjoyed the Bosch and Rubens paintings. There was a Dutch painter whose last name was Cool.
I went to the pub where a couchsurfing meeting was taking place and I met some CSers most of whom were not Czech. I spoke to one guy from Slovakia and he said that the Russians are starting something like NHL in Eastern Europe and some of the Russian players get paid even more than NHL players. He said that normally in Eastern Europe, teams are made up of people from the same area, whether the teams are regional, provincial or national, so when you are cheering for your team, you are really cheering for your own players, but the Russian initiative is slowly taking over because there's more money involved. Another CSer from Italy said that he likes living in Prague because you can access all of Europe easily and there are many rideshares going everywhere. For example, the going rate for a ride from Prague to Berlin is only €15.
The Spanish Synagogue looked like a mosque to me because of the Moorish motifs on the outside. We went to Old Market Square and saw the astronomical clock at 12 noon on April 6, 2012. The chicken was very funny. Then the bugle sounded. I loved the St. Nicholas Hussite Church in this square which prompted me to read about Jan Hus, the guy who started the Hussite movement and I have to say, I agree with him totally. In the same square, we also visited the cathedral that had houses in front of it so you couldn't see its entrance. The paintings inside were very interesting and definitely worth seeing.
We stopped by a restaurant off the highway that served traditional Czech food and I asked my friend what I should try and she ordered pork brain with potatoes for me. I asked her is there any danger like the mad cow disease and she said, "have you ever seen a crazy pig?" Ummm... so yes, I ate the dish.
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