Magical city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes.
19.05.2013 - 19.05.2013 25 °C
The weather is absolutely beautiful today - about 25 degrees, no clouds and no wind - perfect.
Our apartment is just around the corner from Wenceslas Square, so it took us about 5 minutes to walk there. Wenceslas Square is actually a great long wide street, more a rectangle than a square. You can imagine how many people were out and about at 10.30am on a Sunday morning. A great atmosphere - locals and tourists everywhere. There was a line of little wooden huts selling souvenirs, Czech food, icecreams, beer, wine - and tall bar tables everywhere for people to stand - eat their lunch and drink their beers.
We left the Square and started strolling along the streets and alleyways. What a great city this is. Prague's population is around 1.2 million, but this figure swells to many thousands more if you take into account the number of tourists. Within the city there are hundreds and hundreds of old buildings, with varying designs and colours. The souvenir shops are in abundance here - interesting products. The Czech Republic is the home of Bohemian Crystal, so the majority of souvenir shops sell crystal. In these shops you can buy everything from the cheapest of souvenirs right up to chandeliers costing 27,000 crowns or koruny. Quite astounding, and these shops at night with all their crystal lit up under halogen lights - look beautiful. Speaking of Czech currency, their notes are in huge denominations - very confusing. It felt like we were withdrawing thousands of dollars when we went to the Bankomat - but the best way to do the conversion is to: take off a zero and then halve it ie. $50 AUD = 1,000 crowns.
Just following the crowds we came across the Old Town Square, the Tyn Church (the most amazing church spires) and the Astronomical Clock. This clock is reportedly the oldest working clock in the world. It was made in the 1400's and is still working using the original clock works. The Old Town Square is a photographer's dream.
We made our way back to Wenceslas Square and had some lunch - Czech sausage, potatoes and sauerkraut - very tasty. On we walked, to a market and bought some little gifts for back home. From there we walked down to the Vltava River and across one of the numerous bridges. There were thousands of people out - just walking along and enjoying the day. We bought an icecream, mine was a scoop of chocolate icecream and a scoop of cinnamon icecream. The cinnamon icecream? I thought I'd died and arrived in "Icecream Heaven" - absolutely delicious.
We found our way to the Charles Bridge - so historic and probably the main draw card in Prague. What a sight! So many people, so many little stall holders on the bridge, artists, musicians - and once we walked over the bridge it was straight in to little cobbled streets and alleys full of gorgeous buildings. Straight out of a picture book - absolutely charming!
We eventually made our way back to our apartment to have a bit of a rest, as we'd booked a river cruise for tonight. At 6.30pm we got down to the prearranged meeting point for our cruise and were collected by a van. There was another guy already in the van, an American from Tennessee named Bill. A nice guy who's about to turn 70 - a widower of 6 years, now travelling solo. We met our guide - a young Czech guy from Prague - I can't pronounce his name, but it started with "Z".
We got on the cruise boat and noticed that there were a few clouds starting to form. The short version - after such a beautiful sunny day, we sailed into a thunderstorm tonight. We were able to stay up on the top deck until it started raining, but after that we had to move under cover. It was a bit of a shame but we were still able to take some great night photos. Apparently the weather can change very quickly here - we've seen that first hand!
The cruise ended after 10pm, we said goodbye to Bill and wished him "Happy Travels" - and headed back to our warm and dry abode.