We woke up excited to explore Prague. It took us a little longer to get ready than we had planned, so we didn’t leave our flat until about 10:30. We set off on foot headed back towards the old town.
A large television broadcasting tower was just around the corner from our flat. It is covered in sculptures of crawling babies. It was our first taste of the funky modern art that is fairly common in Prague.
On our walk, we found the springs for an old mattress. Playing on trash is fun!
After about 30 minutes, we made it to the main square in the old town, Staroměstské náměstí, which dates back to the 1300s. (Prague is seriously old.)
One of the main things to see is Prague Orloj, a cool mechanized clock that was installed in 1410. It’s an astrological clock, so it show the positions of the sun, moon, and some constellations. When it rings, little figures move around, including a little skeleton. Prague Orloj is the oldest operating astrological clock in the world.
The square was filled with street performers, including mimes pretending to be statues and some fantastic musicians. Lydie and Cassie were particularly intrigued by a guy blowing bubbles. Lots and lots of bubbles. For a few Koruna, you could stand in the middle of them while he blew them.
Lydie and Cassie had a ball!
By now we were getting hungry. There was a stand on the end of the square roasting some enticing meat.
There was a sign that said that the ham was a traditional Czech dish, so we decided to have an impromptu picnic in the square. It was delicious! The ham came with a dish of boiled cabbage mixed with cheese, that Julie and I enjoyed more than the girls did.
After lunch we started wandering through the narrow, twisting streets of old Prague, stopping along the way for some ice cream.
Eventually, we made it back to the Karluv Most, which was much more crowded during the day.
Our goal in our walk was Prague Castle, known locally as Pražský Hrad.
It’s the largest castle complex in the world. The grounds include a cathedral, which you can see sticking up in the background in the picture above. It was great to see the bridge during the day since there are many statutes on the bridge. According to local legend, if you touch one of the statues, you will return to Prague one day. Julie said it must work, since she had touched it years ago when she was here. We all touched the statue, and Lydie and Cassie focused on the part of the statue that had a dog of course.
To get to the castle and cathedral, we crossed the bridge and started to walk up the steep, narrow streets. Eventually, we made it to the top, where the girls turned into a tyrannosaurus rex for some reason.
(That tiny little tower on the horizon between their two heads is the TV tower near our flat. #10000steps) The castle is really a big complex of different buildings, including the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. Julie and Cassie went to stand in a long line for the bathroom, which left Lydie and me with entirely too much time on our hands.
Lydie told me after we took this one that someone was yelling at her out of the open window to the right. I think it was probably the Czech President yelling that she looked awesome.
Once Julie and Cassie returned, we headed into the cathedral, which dates back to the mid 1300s, making it older that Notre Dame in Paris.
In our view, it was as pretty as any cathedral we’ve seen so far, including Notre Dame.
Of course, we had to climb the bell tower, too. It was massive. It was also really cool to see the inner workings of the clock, which is still functioning.
The views of Prague from the top were incredible. You can see the TV tower where we started our day again in the center of the picture on the horizon.
On our way out of the castle grounds, we stopped to say high to the guards. Earlier we watched the elaborate changing of the guards.
From the castle, we headed back towards the river. We wandered here and there along the way and stumbled on the Lennon Wall, a constantly changing mural of graffiti dedicated to the ideals espoused by Beatle John Lennon. When the Czech Republic was communist, it was a flashpoint for clashes between the government and the people.
By this point, the girls were getting a little loopy.
In their defense, they had been forced marched all of the city by their parents. We found a small park near the Charles Bridge where the kids went only a little insane.
From there, we went back up on the bridge to watch the sunset.
Then, we went to a restaurant we had passed earlier near the castle. Yep. Back up the hill. The girls tried to help each other with piggyback rides. I don’t know how much it helped them, but it certainly helped morale!
It was an incredible day, and we ended it right.
I hope the legend is true. I hope we all go back to Prague someday.