The Old Town and Market

Trip Start Dec 27, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2011

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, May 20, 2011

It was a beautiful day, and we took the tram to the station near Wenceslas Square and started walking.  It didn't take any time to come across a large outdoor market, and the kids were drawn right in.  There were a number of fruit and vegetable stands, but predominantly, it was tourist items on display.  Mark and I were not too excited; we're not generally enthusiastic about souvenirs, and with our bags getting progressively heavier as our trip goes on, we are progressively less enthusiastic.  But, the kids wanted to look for some really "special" things, so we spent some time there, and the kids spent some money.

After breaking away from the market, we walked throught the streets of the old town.  The recent history of Wenceslas Square made us stop and imagine what it was like -- only 22 years earlier -- when up to 1/2 million people filled the square and connecting streets in the peaceful "Velvet Revolution" to oust the communist government.  It was emotional to consider the event and the people -- those walking and working around us in the city -- who would have been there.

We walked among the colourful buildings, ornate with detail, to Prague's Old Town Square.  It is a large, open square, where you can stand back and admire some of the lovely old architechture of the city, including the gothic Tyn Cathedral.  We got some drinks and snacks and sat on a bench in the shade of a little park off the square.  Afterwords, we gathered with everyone else to witness the striking of the hour on the Astronomical Clock, where figures of the Apostles take turns presenting themselves in the windows above the dial.  People have been coming to watch this clock strike the hour for 600 years! 

Along with much of the crowd, we wandered over to the Charles Bridge.  It is a grand pedestrian bridge, adorned with Christian statues along either side.  This is a very popular walk for tourists, so it was understandably crowded.  On the other side, we conveniently saw a shaded outdoor cafe.  It hadn't been that long since our last break, but looking out from the heat and the crowds, it was a welcome sight.  Mark and I each had a beer (beer is very popular and widely-offered in Prague!) and the kids had ice cream -- everyone happy!  Then we walked along the river and enjoyed the beauty of the waterfront and the view of the city on the other side.

It was a great day out and we feel so lucky to be in this beautiful city.


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