There were some things about Prague I was prepared for, like the garnets, and the crystal. (Please note the flamingos and the goldfish at top left, none of which I bought.)
Though I can honestly say I wasn’t quite aware of just how prevalent it would be!
What I wasn’t expecting (not enough research, obviously!) was the puppets and marionettes …
… the black light theatres (Yes, there’s more than one. Yes, we went to a show.) …
… and the cannabis absinth!
So; a mellow psychoactive? I didn’t try any.
There was also a multitude of matryoshkas. This made more sense to me when I thought about it being a Slovak folk art rather than a Russian one.
On with the story! We arrived early and checked in to our first hotel (Hotel Liberty – the nicer one for the visit, and one I can thoroughly recommend), and of course needed to dump our bags there until it was actually check in time until we could shower. So after a quick breakfast, it was off and out into the city to see what we could find!
With the help of the English maps which the concierge had given us (one each, just in case!) we made it to the Astronomical Clock at Old Town Square, and decided what we really needed to do, was head inside and up the top for the birds-eye view of Prague.
So in we all trooped to purchase our tickets. Then we just all stopped and gaped.
The intricacy of the murals was breathtaking!
The view from the top wasn’t half bad either! Yes, it is another picture of the castle. I’m obsessed!
On the way down there were opportunities to take guided tours through the Old Town City Hall, which is the oldest Town Hall in Prague and gave a nice insight of just how rich and mighty Prague once was. Of course we jumped at the opportunity, and I ended up in my first two churches of the Czech Republic. The first was down in one of the dungeons. Torture devices in one room; through a small doorway and massive crucifix and saints in the next.
The cross was made from charred beams of the Town Hall and commemorates those who fell in a war.
But up above, we ended up in the small private chapel behind the Astronomical Clock. The tower was consecrated in 1381, and we were all brought to silence by the light streaming through the windows.
Inside the chapel’s nave were the sculptures of the twelve apostles which promenade across the outside of the Astonomical Clock every hour on the hour. We managed to time it just right so that not only did we have the chapel almost to ourselves while visiting, but it was also on the hour. So we saw the clock working from the inside!
Just as we were done and leaving, a tour group of maybe thirty under-twelve-year-old-school-children all trouped through talking at high pitched volume as only bored school excursions can. We counted ourselves very lucky indeed!
Then it was back to the hotel for check-in and shower time!