Paripetetic in Prague

Landing in Prague, I was greeted by blue skies and crisp air; a beautiful late summer day. I was tired from Paris, and promptly went to my hostel, got my bunk, and fell asleep. The following day I decided to take in the town by foot, and the town in turn decided that summer was over and dropped me straight into late autumn: a cold day with a light drizzle and chilling breeze. My first public markets were themed accordingly.

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Your summer is over. Deal with it.

Still, I’m from Seattle; this kind of rain is nothing new to me. In fact, this seemed exactly like the kind of thing Seattle would do. The rain there doesn’t ever muster enough gumption to give you a proper watery smiting, instead it just kind of hangs around, like a tiresome goth friend, painting its nails black and complaining about not having a girlfriend.

So: off I went to take in all that Prague has to offer. Such as meat cooking in the open air.

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Now that’s some impressive bbq

And unique art installations.

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Interesting business idea: sell blocks for $7.50, let people paint them and add to the sculpture. Lots of people have done it, apparently.

There’s a lot of history here.  ‘Cause they’ve been around a long time.

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Open market, established in the 1200’s. That’s quite old, that is.
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Just ’cause it’s autumn doesn’t mean one can’t have tasty, tasty things.

As I wandered through the old town, it seems there was a gathering of electric cars, which was a total contrast of old and new; cutting edge cars on cobblestone streets (though these were all being displayed on actual pavement). Regardless: good stuff.

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Cute little bugger.
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Europe: land of tiny cars.
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I could almost fit this one in my pocket. Just look how tiny it is!
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Fisker Karma: the exception to the rule.
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electric options abound.

Passing through the major shopping areas, I came upon this impressive building that anchors one end of the main thoroughfare through Old Town.

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The old museum. Closed for remodels, sadly.
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View from the museum front.

Moving on I discovered a lovely park, which is where my shoes began to get their first taste of getting somewhat wet since the grass was drenched from the drizzle. I found several of these structures in the park and had to wonder what the hell they could possibly be:

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Not sure what this is.
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Gah! Another one!
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Sheesh, there are quite a number of them.

I went close to one and it was blowing air out forcibly enough to dry all the grass in a wide perimeter around it. Discovering there was a major metro stop nearby, my best guess is these are exhausts for air interchange in the metro? Not sure, moving on.

I also discovered this lovely statue in one of the parks:

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Prague: a more accepting attitude towards men kissing.

After that park, I crossed the river that cuts the town in half:

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Locks. Not sure what all the little fiddly bits are as the water goes on. Seems excessive.
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Raaaain on the riiiiver.

Sculptures abound in Prague:

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Check it, that guy’s got a massive tetris piece!

Once on the other side of the river, it was pretty much impossible to avoid a gigantic park that runs along the river. I tried to get out of it multiple times, but paths kept pulling me back in. So, fine: the park it is. Due to the suddenly damp weather, the entire place was almost completely deserted.

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A watery walk but with good views.
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Prague in the rain.

About the center of the park, and overlooking Prague and the river, I discovered this massive, constantly moving contraption.

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World’s largest metronome.

I’m not sure what its significance is. If it is, indeed, supposed to be a metronome, you can’t really dance much to the tempo it sets, taking about 10 seconds per beat (which is actually pretty fast for how large this thing is).

Further on in the park, I ran into this lovely area:

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Even the statues take shelter from the rain

And continued on, running into very few people along the way.

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Deserted park

Until, that is, you get close to the castle:

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Look! Castle!
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It is large and impressive, this castle.
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Very gothic cathedral.
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A bridge over no water at all, nevermind whether it is troubled or not.
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See? No water under this bridge.

So, this is an impressive castle with a huge and intricate gothic cathedral. It’s free to go in and look around the cathedral, so that is of course what I did. Here, apparently, is where EVERYONE goes when it’s raining. The crowds were impressive, with hundreds of tour guides leading groups large and small through, shouting in Czech, English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. It got a bit chaotic.

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Up close and personal with the cathedral in the castle.
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Well, it’s not the Sagrada Familia, but it’s still pretty impressive.
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Inside the cathedral.
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More cathedral.
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Pretty.
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Ceiling.

Other than the cathedral, they charge you to see many other things at the castle. So since money is a tight thing for me after loosing all ability to acquire more of it, I declined and opted to continue my ambulation.

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View from the top of the castle battlements
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Castle view of Prague.
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This “street statue” artist was amazing. I watched him for 2 hours, he didn’t move or anything. I think a bird even pooped in his mouth.
Note: not actually a street performer.

It should be noted that, while I’m dismayed every year at how early Christmas appears in stores back in the US, apparently we don’t have a monopoly on it. This store is inside the Prague castle:

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Prague: Christmas year-round.

By now it had been a good couple hours walking in the drizzly rain, and I was feeling a bit wet, so I headed for home. Here is where I discovered that Prague is nothing like Seattle: it gathered its dampness up and unleashed a deluge that sent everyone scrambling under bridges and awnings. Here I stopped worrying about my shoes getting damp, because they promptly got properly soaked through to my socks. I waited under a bridge for a while, but then seeing it might not let up, I decided to just push through the rain. What doesn’t kill you makes you wetter, after all. Or something like that.

On the way back home I ran into these guys and just had to pause in the rain to document them.

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Giant baby sculptures? ‘Cause why not?
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Hello, nightmares.
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Yes. You are creeping me right the hell out. Well done.

Back at the hostel, soaked to the bone, I decided to dry off by going on a pub crawl.  No pictures to document that madness, sadly.

And thus ended day one of meandering.  Lessons learned:

  • Prague rains don’t mess around.  If they seem like they are, it’s cause they are trying to lure you into complacency.
  • Outdoor markets run even in the rain
  • Prague pubs are often subterranean.  Neat!
  • There’s far too many beautiful buildings here to appreciate unless you have a few years.

Next up: an actual guided tour of Prague. Where one can learn actual facts and history. I know! Crazy!

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