My time in Prague was surprisingly magical despite the chilly weather my first full day there. We started off with taking a free walking tour with our hilarious and witty guide, Kieren. This was one of the best decisions we could have made – we learned SO much about Prague’s history and legends (and the czech habit of defenestration), I plan on writing a whole separate post about them.
Our first stop was the Astronomical Clock, notorious for being one of Europe’s “most disappointing tourist attractions.” However, I found it pretty cool! After learning the history (and legend) behind the clock, I was excited to go back and watch it chime on the hour, seeing the figures shake their heads as the skeleton nods its head. It’s amazing that someone could build a clock with that much detail and preciseness in 1410. It is now the oldest working astronomical clock in the world! It tells the time, sun and moon positions, moon phases, and even what zodiac sign we are in!
In the Old Town Square we learned a lot about the religious history of the Czech Republic. Our guide told us that today, 80% of czechs are atheist! The country, like many others, has had a rocky religious history. An elaborate statue of Jan Hus stands in the middle of the Old Town Square, representing the religious reform he brought to the country. He’s actually believed to be the first Church reformer, and a model for what Martin Luther later did.
We also got to walk near the Jewish cemetery, where the Jews were denied more land so were forced to just add more soil. There are about 12 layers of bodies now – 12,000 tombstones but about 100,000 burials in all!
It was in Prague that I realized I like gruesome legends. Our guide told us a story about a severed arm hanging in a church, so the next day Hannah and I set out to find it. Because apparently I like that sorta stuff!
As the castle district was not a part of our tour, we crossed the Vltava river the next day to see what it had to offer. It was beautiful! Although hillier than the Old and New Towns, it felt even more like I was stepping back in time to medieval days.
Another thing I loved about Prague was its shopping. Tons of thrift stores and a cute market in the Old Town Square! I thrifted a scarf and a tiny globe as souvenirs, and bought some fresh fruit from the open air market as a snack.
While in Prague I had to try some trdelnik, a traditional czechoslovakian pastry grilled on a stick on the streets and covered in sugar. I tried Nutella with mine – it was delicious!
I was sad to leave Prague. The city has charm, history, culture, and fried cheese. What’s not to love?
I know I’ll be back here one day, though. Whether just visiting again, or living as an expat, or maybe even trying my hand at being a tour guide (who knows!), I’ll see you soon Prague. Czech ya later! (bad pun, sorry, couldn’t help it!)