How is it to have spent three days in Prague?
I contemplate that question on a train leaving Prague and the Czech Republic to return to Germany. Stunning, may be the first adjective that comes to mind.
As a UNESCO city, new construction is closely monitored to blend into the existing city. Or I should say the non-Soviet-construction. A tour guide pointed out that they were under a socialist, not-communist regime. Then she admitted that the “modern” buildings are communist ugly. Happily, those square, bland structures are far outweighed by the number of beautiful buildings. From the time of King Charles IV (1346) to those erected at the turn of the 20th century.
The Astronomical Clock is a Spectacle
En route, I thought about Prague’s Astronomical Clock, so what? Yes, whatever, it chimes and something comes out and goes back in. Haven’t I seen that just once or twice before? It’s a clock. Right?
We bought The New Guide to Prague from a street vendor. Later, we realized it was a ten year old edition. Not to worry, the mechanisms of the clock have not changed since 1410 when it was built. Yes, you read that year correctly. Astounding is the word I choose to describe the clock.
A death skeleton pulls a cord, making the clock chime. Death slowly turns an hour glass over and over to signal the passing of another hour of our lives. He’s in company with vanity, greed and gluttony of pleasure. Several of the disciples traipse across two open windows above the clock. At the top of the tower, a trumpeter outfitted in A Knight’s Tale fashion tops the hour with a tune. Everyone applauds. In that moment we are all united as people enjoying a show always are—together in time for thirty seconds.
The People of Prague
The far greater number of “Pragueans” are polite to the point of over-polite. They are eager to help and will try to converse in English, all the while apologizing for their poor English. Repeatedly we would assure them that their English is good and one-hundred times better than our Czech.
Luckily, we only had a negative experience in one restaurant. We were in a hurry and went to a place in the tourist area. There were pretzels on the table similar to what we would get as breadsticks at Bravo. They charged us for two, for bread we didn’t ask for, and made up some other charges on the bill. Then pretended, perhaps, to not speak English so we could not ask about the charges. This is why we avoid tourist areas!
By far, wait staff were eager to show us that their bills were clear. Also, they verified that after charging our card, the total amount was still what they had told us. It was very kind.
Prague Prices are High
We were fortunate enough to get a very good rate at a Marriott-owned property called Boscolo. New to the Marriott family, the staff has the service-part down to perfection. They could not have been kinder, more helpful or more professional.
The hotel, originally built as a bank at the end of the 19th century. It was so gorgeous I wanted to don an evening gown, walking the halls carrying a flute of Dom Perignon.
Our room was small, but nicely outfitted with a lovely bath and quiet inner-courtyard room. The bath was close to typical-American with a tub, two hand-helds shower heads, and a fixed overhead shower. We had bar soap and soap gel, shampoo and bath salts. The only thing that continues to make us laugh are the half-shower doors. None of these designers has seen the condition of the bathroom after 6’2” Alex showers. There is, expectedly, water everywhere.
Prague Dining is Diverse
We enjoyed asparagus soup, salmon with mashed potatoes, and goulash one evening with the most delicate and kind waitress.
Any cuisine you are hungry for is available except I didn’t notice any restaurants devoted to vegetarian food. Not to worry, I managed to eat and eat well at that.
Prague Means New Shoes
Yes, my Merrill’s have walked their last walk on cobblestones, granite, marble, concrete, and tarmac—all experienced within a block. They’ve been great for our Pittsburgh neighborhood and pleasant strolls through Schenley Park. But they’re no match for Prague’s varying turf when we’re cover eight miles of it in a day.
That said, while not as prevalent as Italy, the women walking these same streets in high heels—stilettos, even—was astonishing. Podiatrists and chiropractors must do a raging business.
I Love Castles
You’ll never hear that I have tired of exploring castles.
Palaces, castles, along with any church of any size, attract my imagination. It must be the history of queens and kings, dukes and duchesses on the elite side. That’s balanced with the churches that drew in everyone—even with the class differences. The Prague castle tour is over five hours long. Yes, it is massive—the largest castle in the world—according to the Guinness Book of Records.
So, spending three days in Prague?
I say, if you have a chance to go there, don’t skip it. The Czech Republic and Prague in particular is definitely on my list of places to revisit.
Where’s your passport?
*Read, Lovely Lyon
That clock is crazy!
It is! And you would enjoy Prague so much, Ken!