Touchdown in Prague

Prague was, to a large extent, an unknown quantity to all of us. It was, one friend told me, a beautiful city, but I did not expect what I found there. It is at once a serene city that straddles the pacific Vltava River (Moldau in German), but also possesses a deep undercurrent of rebellion which manifests itself creatively all over the city. Contemporary art that, at times, pushes the boundaries of taste is routinely placed beside centuries-old religious idols and architecture. The result is a city that proudly displays its rich heritage, but refuses to sit still.

As the wheels touched down, Bedrich Smetana's Moldau from Ma Vlast suddenly filled the fuselage. What else...

We arranged for an airport pickup by an American ex-pat from Sacramento who probably used his remuneration to subsidize his pot habit. We piled into his unkempt car and he shuttled us the to Hotel Casa Marcello in the Staré Město, or Old Town. This hotel occupies buildings that are over 700 years old.

After a shower, we hit the streets, but it was only a matter of time before we ran out of energy—I don't much care for red-eye flights. We wandered around the neighborhood, aiming for the old town square.

Prague Alley

Prague Alley

Prague Manhole

Prague Manhole

Office of Endowment

Office of Endowment

Bloody Santa

Bloody Santa

Museum of Communism

Museum of Communism

This town is dripping in Rococo. Barely a blank wall is left in this city. Roaming around the city, we stumble upon these expressions where you least expect it. For example, the façade of the diminutive Church of St. James the Greater is covered with top-heavy sculptures on an otherwise ordinary building.

St. James Church

St. James Church

St. James Church Story

St. James Church Story

Adjacent to the main square in Prague is the Astronomical Clock, an enormous clock built onto the facade of the Old Town City Hall 600 years ago. We happened to arrive just before the top of the hour, when the walk of the apostles commences.

Prague's Astronomical Clock

Prague's Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Clock Calendar

Astronomical Clock Calendar

Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Clock

Feeling tired, we all began to head back to the hotel. We ate an early dinner at a lovely little Parisian brasserie, Chez Marcel, literally a stone's throw away from our hotel. The grilled squid was lovely and the Pilsner Urquells were awfully good too.

I was asleep before nightfall. Tomorrow, we start fresh.