The train ride to Prague was nice, I had a whole compartment to myself. Well, I guess being woken up at gunpoint with guards asking for my passport wasn't so nice, but the rest was. Minor detail!
I was still a little groggy from the train ride, as it wasn't terribly long, but I stumbled my way out of the train station and looked around. Prague has a very modern section (where the train station is), but as I walked to my hostel in the old city, it became clear that the city still had a lot of old world charm. I dropped off my things, showered up and headed out into the city.
I made my way to the main square of the city, but not before stopping at the massive supermarket right near my hostel.
This place has two stories of food, and it was cheap! I stocked up for the day ahead. Once in the main square, I took some photos of the older buildings in the area. The ones that really stand out are the old town hall with the glockenspiel on the side. For those that do not know, the glockenspiel is a clock where dancing figurines come out on the hour. It's basically a clock that puts on a show. The structure that really stood out, though, was Tyn Church...it towered over the rest of the buildings, and although the church in itself is tucked away, you can't miss it. The inside of the church is just as amazing, being as tall as it is.
It was about that time that I found a tour group in the city centre there, so I casually followed them around the city.
I learned some of the history of the town, about the Jewish population there and the Vltava River, which runs through the city. I abandoned ship once they all started boarding a boat...I figured I would get found out at some point there. Instead, I walked along the river until I came to a tower overlooking the Charles Bridge. I ran into another American at the base of the tower who was trying to communicate with someone else. The sign, in English, on the side of the tower said to take the stairs up and pay on the second floor...however the individual at the bottom was holding out his hand, pointing to the tower and then to his hand. I told the American not to pay, and we walked past the guy and up into the tower. Sure enough, there was a lady collecting money on the second floor of the tower.
We tried to explain that there was some guy trying to trick people at the bottom, but she did not understand.
We made our way to the top of the tower, and I was blown away by the view. Prague is such a beautiful city with the orange roofs, the Charles Bridge in front of me with all the people on it, and Prague Castle in the distance...for the small fee to get to the top of the tower, it was worth it! I went back down to give the guy at the bottom what for, but he was nowhere to be found. So, the other American and I decided to cross the Charles Bridge and see what was going on there. Talk about busy! That bridge is the place to be in Prague, there is always something going on there. Musicians, street vendors, you name it! It gets even more interesting at night, which I will talk about later.
Looking out over the Vltava
There are also seceral statues on the bridge, one in particular that is said to give luck if you touch it.
After crossing the bridge, the American and I went out separate ways, and I continued checking out the town. Not really knowing where I was, I found myself in a little park/courtyard, which seemed like the ideal place to eat lunch. One of the walls of thie courtyard had me intrigued, though...it looked like several souls stuck to the wall, trying to escape. I guess the picture doesn't do it justice, but I swear the wall had faces! I ate my lunch, and then had my big scare of the trip...
I continued on my way, and after about 5 minutes of walking (thank goodness it was not longer), I realized that I did not have my camera. Did I leave it at the courtyard? I ran back, and sure enough, someone had picked it up and was looking for me in the courtyard.
When she saw me, she held up the camera. I could have kissed her, I had a lot of memories on there! After all that, I wandered into a church in the area and said a quick thank you. I made my way back across the bridge and grabbed some dinner. I had learned about a fountain that "dances" to music in the evenings, and I wanted to check that out. Lights, music, and water! Křižíkova fontána, or
Krizik fountain, as it is known, is actually a little ways outside the city. I decided it would be a good idea to walk there.
There were trams that take you right to the fountain, but that seemed too easy.
Courtyard in Prague
On the way through a residential area, I got rather hopelessly lost. I happened upon a student on his way home from univeristy, and he showed me the way. I actually ended up arriving at the fountain with a little time to spare, and got a ticket for the night's show. The fountain would be dancing to the Gladiator soundtrack...how cool was that?! It really was an amazing experience, I love the movie and the soundtrack is great! The fountain itself was spectacular too. Wow, what a great night! I ended up taking the tram back, because the show did not finish until late.