In a happy coincidence we’re exploring Prague through its natural progression through the ages. Having commenced yesterday in its oldest settlements, today we’re exploring the the Stare Mesto, the Old Town, where settlement spilled over across the Charles Bridge, onto the right bank of the Vltava River, in the 11th century.
The architecture continues to be utterly mesmerising – I try to capture it in photos, but sheer scale combined with narrow streets (where you can’t step back for perspective) pose challenges. What I’d really like to do is pick a short list of my favourite buildings and crawl all over them in a cherry picker, taking close-ups of their best features. It might take a year, but it would be a happy year.
We see the Rudolfinum, home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, but once also the seat of Parliament.
There’s the pretty Spanish Synagogue, standing on the site of the original, 11th century synagogue in this site.
We meander our way into the Square, centre point of Stare Mesto,
home of the Town Hall with its unique astronomical clock,
yet another St Nicholas Church, with the most glorious chandelier (oh! deeply taken, I could stare at it for hours – it looks like a tiara and I love it, love it love it.)
and the superbly dark Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn – its towers make a stunning backdrop to the Square. The church is closed due to “technical issues”. Pity, I would have liked to have seen inside.
Tour groups swarm in force: there are thousands of people in the Square, a surprising number of American accents amongst them, many Italians too. That would explain the number of Italian restaurants in town.
A little further out, the pace is thankfully a little quieter. We find a spot for lunch: cheese stuffed peppers, fried cheese and a burger. I’ll leave you to work out who had what 😂.
After lunch, we do our best to see the rest of the Stare Mesto. It’s very difficult to do it justice in a day.
Later, I stumble across a chocolate shop, where the story of chocolate is explained in detailed steps…by squirrels.
I’m utterly charmed. Clearly, I’m their target audience. Particularly taken with this little one, demonstrating the joy of eating chocolate. 😊🍫🐿️. Of course I buy some, how could I not?
In the late afternoon, we rest our feet with a stop for drinks. Can I just say, Prague does an excellent mojito. I’ll have to get Himself to add it to his cocktail repertoire.
By day’s end, we’ve seen so much, yet it feels like so little. The swans contemplate my dilemma on the ferry ride home.
I’ve decided, after some consideration, the only way to do this city justice would be to throw away the guide book, throw away the tourist map, and armed with a detailed street map, cross off the streets one by one as you walk them, absorb them.
Prague is a city to wallow in, to get drunk on, to lose your heart in. It’s utterly glorious.