Prague

February 17th, 2008 by Ah Doe

If you are an art lover or a historian, Prague will definitely suit your taste!

This is my first trip to a republic country (although China is nearer) and that’s why I am so crazily indulged in it. Ironically, one day before I enter the border of Czech, the only relevant impression is what Miss Jolin told me years ago.

She said: “I invested my hope at the wishing fountain located at Prague Square in the evening, the pigeons are facing against the setting sun. This scene is too breath-taking that I couldn’t stare at it.”

在布拉格黄昏的广场,
在许愿池,投下希望,
那群白鸽,背对着夕阳,
那画面太美我不敢看。

I just want to verify that she is not exaggerating.

Guess what? She is absolutely right!!! Prague is worth the compliments!

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Riverside view, taken from Charles Bridge

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Spectacular view from Prague Castle, with typical Bohemian buildings underneath.

It’s not only beautiful, not only special, it’s really really old…

There is one interesting description about Prague: If you want to see the real old Europe (around 12th to 13th century), go to Prague!

We all know that the Western Europe is famous of ancient castles, fortresses, churches and other well-preserved monuments. In fact, if you’ve been to Rome, you’ll be surprised to see that its landscape is still comparable to a Rome map in 19th century.

Too bad I have not seen the ancient map of Prague, but I can tell one interesting fact that I read from a travel guide. There are two important quarters in Prague, namely the Old Town and the New Town. At first, I thought that Old Town must be old with all the artifacts, ancient sites and buildings while New Town must be newer compared to Old Town.

When I checked about their histories, I was astonished to find that both of them actually started off almost at the same time, i.e. in the 14th Century!

Aha! If Prague’s NEW is too old to be concluded as new….Prague must be incredibly old…

There are several must-see items to be included in your list during your visit in Prague:

1. The Prague Castle, the largest castle in the world (Check Guinness World Record)

Unless someone is going to build another bigger one, Prague castle is going to dominate this title forever. This castle is actually a town to me. No, you won’t be able to see 7-11 here, but you will find churches (They are horribly HUGE!), Christmas tree (Ok, this is only temporary), Museums, Royal Palace and a street called Golden Lane (And it was a just a narrow little lane).

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Street leading to the castle central

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St George Church in Prague Castle

St Vitus Cathedral

St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle 

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Another view of St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle 

2. Charles Bridge

The picturesque Charles bridge can be regarded as the core of anyone’s Prague trip. Named after King Charles IV and constructed in the 14th century, Charles bridge connects from the Old Town to the Prague Castle area and across Vltava River.

Vltava River from Charles Bridge

Vltava River, as seen from Charles Bridge

When I was at Charles Bridge, I was quite surprised by the throng of visitors, and quite a lot of them are Chinese.

Besides tourists, there are also painters, souvenirs stalls and entertainers.

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This uncle operates this musical cart and earns tips from tourists. There is no real monkey here…I’ve checked!

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Colourful Bohemian buildings along Charles Bridge

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“Devil Stream”, at the end of Charles Bridge opposite Old Town.

3. Lesser Town

A town, or better known as a square just below the slope of Prague castle. It is easily accessible by Charles Bridge. Due to winter season, lots of shops were closed when the sky turned dark. And sadly, the sky was already a pitch-black at 5pm, and all I can tell you about Lesser Town from my impression is that:

The streets are quiet…

Lesser Town

 Still beautiful though quiet…shhhh….

And…

I accidentally found a narrow alley that leads all the way to a riverside restaurant!

Small Alley 

Did you ever wonder why that traffic light is doing here? Gosh, this alley only allows ONE pedestrian at one time. To prevent “head-on collision”, this traffic light ensures one way direction all the time.

4. Old Town Square (Prague Square)

Finally, we are at Prague Square (To be specific, the Old Town Square)! This is where Jolin mentioned in her lyrics from a song called “Prague Square” (布拉格广场).

There are all sort of shops along the streets that converge to Old Town Square, and yes, it’s women’s happy hour once again. From exquisite antiques to luxury jewelleries that tourists can bag in, I was lucky to witness Prague’s Christmas market in the middle of the square. But most importantly, these places are my temporary shelter against the chilly wind and harsh below zero coldness. (Shivering..)

And what are the main activities here?

1) To climb the Tyn Cathedral and take aerial view photos of old town square (Which I failed to do)
2) To check out how the astronomical clock sounds like (Which I did not intend to do,but managed to accomplish by chance)

Astronomical Clock and Tyn Cathedral 

Astronomical Clock with Tyn Cathedral in background

I really regretted that I could not stay longer in Prague because I underestimated its charm before arriving. With other errants in hands, the remaining time that I had was so minimal that my journey was hectic. Tropical animal like me is not used to refrigerator temperature either, and this terribly killed my patience to enjoy every bits of this wonderful city.

Yet, the optimistic me still think that I was lucky to visit here, especially under this circumstance (And that’s how I drank N cups of coffee and cappuccino to boost my energy).

And yes, I certainly hope to come back to Prague in the future…

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