Walking around Prague

Trip Start Aug 16, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Monday, September 7, 2009

Today I spent the whole day walking all over Prague. I started at the Old Town Square, the main square of Prague, and only 5 minutes from my hostel. It was very picturesque with an amazing church and a very neat clock tower. It actually had a little action show at the top of the hour and I managed to be there to see one. There was a figure of death beside the clock that rang a chain. And then the 12 apostles paraded in front of windows. It was pretty neat but also very short. It was funny watching all the people crowded around the clock to witness this show, and then hear the collective gasp when it was over so soon.

I next wandered back over towards my hostel because I wanted to go try and buy a new battery recharger. I finally realized that the one I have is completely broken and I didn't want to buy batteries for the rest of the trip. So before I left this morning, I asked at the hostel where I could buy a recharger. And there was a huge mall right near the hostel.

On my way to the mall I passed the "Powder Tower", one of the original city gates. It was very cool looking—very dark and tall. The mall was actually pretty cool too. It was five levels and I entered on the middle level. And right at the entrance was an escalator that zipped me up two floors to where I needed to be.

It’s funny, but malls pretty much look the same no matter what country you’re in. They all have the same signs with the lists of stores. I went in one in Lisbon as well and made me feel like I was at home in the States. And at this mall I could even read the list of stores. I think the word “electronics” is very similar in most languages. So I managed to find a recharger, and now I have one to take with me every time I travel to Europe (because it has a European plug).

After stopping back at the hostel to start recharging some batteries, I continued walking around Prague and headed over to the Charles Bridge. It’s a famous bridge spanning the river that splits Prague in two. And it’s very picturesque with towers at both ends. When I first got there the view across the river was really cool. I saw Prague Castle for the first time, and it was gigantic. I was able to climb up one of the towers to get a great view of the city. Prague is known as the “City of the Golden Spires”, or something like that, and this view made me realize why. There were tons of church spires scattered all throughout town.

The bridge was actually half under construction, which made it hard to cross through the crowds of people. But there were neat black statues scattered along the sides of the bridge. One of them was very interesting. It was a statue of St. John of Neponak. He was the confessor of Queen Sofia, and the King tried to get him to reveal her confessions. When he wouldn’t do it, the king threw him off the bridge. And supposedly if you rub the picture beneath his statue and make a wish, your wish will come true.

After I crossed the bridge (and made a wish), I went to St. Nicholas Church, where there was another bell tower to climb up. And interestingly, I actually enjoyed the interior of the church much more than the view from the bell tower. The view from the bridge had been better, and the interior of the church is probably the most beautiful I’ve seen so far. It was just covered with decorations everywhere. There were statues and paintings all over the walls, and there were beautiful frescos on the ceiling. And, the best part was that I was actually allowed to take pictures! So I think I went overboard and took a few too many.

I continued my walk up the very pretty Nuerdova Street, which was lined with stores, many of which still had their original medieval store signs. I saw a red lion, a green lobster, an onion, and a swan.

I walked all the way up to the Stohav Monastery, which had an amazing view of the city spread below. But it was all very far away; I actually the view at the bridge better.

Next, I wandered over to St. Loretta Church. It was very beautiful on the outside, but unfortunately was closed. So I continued wandering over to the gate of Prague Castle. I didn’t have time to go inside because I needed to get back to the hostel for a 5 pm Skype date with my parents and brother (they had free wireless!). But I stayed for a while laughing at all the tourists getting their pictures taken with the castle guards.

I had to walk all the way back to the hostel, but I think my legs were finally really getting used to all this walking. They still felt fresh even after all the stair climbing and hill climbing I’d done. On my way back across the Charles Bridge there was a really cool band playing called the “Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra.” It was a guitar, banjo, cello, horn, and clarinet. They were playing some really cool early jazz stuff.

When I called my parents on Skype I got really annoyed at the people in my hostel. There are two common rooms in the hostel, and there were several people talking loudly at the one outside my room. So I went downstairs to the other one, which was blessedly empty. But then, literally about a minute before I was going to call, some guy came in and turned on the TV. I couldn’t get a connection to the wireless in my room, so I had to stay and call from there. And it was hard for them to hear me.

Anyway, after our Skype session I went out for a unique Prague experience – Black Light Theater. It was very, very cool. They basically alternated mime skits with modern dance performances under a black light. The mime skits were just so-so. They were all one continuous story about a guy trying to make a horror movie. And in the end his camera man and leading lady both turned into vampires, drinking each other’s blood from big red straws.

The black light performances, though, were amazing. The whole stage was pitch black, except there was a black light, and the dancers and props were in colors that shined under the black light. You might want to try googling black light theater and find the website for the “Image Theater.” They’ll probably have some pictures so that you can see what it looked like. I’m going to list out all the performances (with my own titles), for my own purposes, so that I can remember them (I actually took notes during the show).

1.     “Vortex”—there was a vortex of white lights spinning around the background (i.e. being projected there), and the dancers came out covered in white, carrying big white shapes. As they danced and moved the big shapes, it made the focus of the lights change. It’s hard to describe, but it was really cool.

2.     “Moon Dancers”—there were two dancers wearing costumes that looked like the surface of the moon. And then there were these floating neon globes of light that moved around the dancers.

3.     “Gyroscopes”—there were some spinning/floating gyroscopes and a girl dancer colored in neon yellow and light blue.

4.     “Flower panels”—there were three cloth panels with a blue/red/yellow flower pattern. And there were three male dancers clothed head to foot in the same pattern. At first they danced right in front of the panels, so they blended in and it just looked like the panels were moving. But they later danced farther out in front too.

5.     “Hoops skirts”—there were big falling snowflakes projected on the background and three guys in big white skirts and neon hats & skis. Then they got rid of the skis and pulled up the skirts, revealing a crazy striped hourglass figure.

6.     “Metallic”—there was a big metallic cloth floating in the background, a girl dancer in a skin-tight metallic suit, and two metallic balls floating around. It was really cool, but the lighting was too bright on this one because I could see that the balls were filled with helium and attached to the girls feet.

7.     “Ribbons”—there blue & yellow horizontal ribbons floating across the background, with a girl & guy dancing around the ribbons.

8.     “Orange Zebras”—there were dancers in these costumes with orange zig-zags on them. The two women only had the zig-zags on one side of the body.

9.     “Grand Finale”—there were patterns projected on the background, first orange checkers, then blue & yellow stripes, and then lots of circles. And all the dancers were in crazy constumes. One had big angel-like wings on his arms and the girls had these big ribbons of cloth.

Sorry for all the detail on that, but since I’m not keeping my own journal anymore, and I couldn’t take pictures, I had to write about it so that I remember it.

Anyway, after the show was over I went back to the Old Town Square to have a beer. There were tons of cafes with seats right on the square. Prague supposedly brews the best beer in Europe so I had to find out! And it was pretty good. But it was a little disappointing after the orchestras on St. Mark’s Square in Venice. I wanted some cool music to listen to while I had my beer!

I got back to the hostel about 10 pm and was surprised to find that I didn’t have any roommates yet. The three guys from Australia had left this morning, so I was expecting to get some new roommates. It was nice, though, to be in the room by myself. It was actually a very large room for a hostel, because it had been converted from apartments. And there was no one in the common room outside my door so it was completely silent! I couldn’t believe the difference from the partying of the night before.

Anyway, I was almost hesitant to go to sleep because I was afraid my roommates would show up just as I was falling asleep. But by 11:30 pm I realized no one was probably coming so I just turned the light off and enjoyed the silence.

I still can’t remember how to say goodbye in Czech, but see ya!

P.S. Sorry for not updating much lately. Lately I’ve been getting a little tired of spending my free time working on blogs. So on my train ride back to Vienna I spent most of the time watching some TV shows on my computer. But I will try to get up to date tomorrow.
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bigdhaas on

Image Theater Prague

zolina on

Awesome, thanks Derek!
If you click on the link for the 'Studio Clip Performance' on the right, that's the show that I saw.

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