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Prague

August 8, 2011

Ah, the capital of old Bohemia and the new Czech Republic. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the architectural mix of the place, with its storybook winding streets and many beautiful old buildings. So many old buildings, in fact, that after a while I gave up on trying to document every one. There’ll be a few of these, but I’ll focus on things of more personal interest.

As one of my expanding retinue of doctors said, when informed of our itinerary, “Prague? Prague’s been Prague-ified. You should go to Slovenia instead. It’s what Prague used to be.” Well, thanks, Doc, but if that means even more plaster falling off buildings, trash in the streets, and second-hand smoke, I’ll stick with Praha. Indeed, our first impression on arrival is that this is no Berlin. The most immediately noticeable difference is the number of old buildings. Berlin appears to have been almost completely rebuilt since the war, perhaps to repair its damaged infrastructure. Prague has suffered no such fate, and glorious old buildings, black with age but sporting new layers of gold leaf, are to be found at every turn.

We’re staying at a church pensione at Husuv Dum, in the middle of New Town. New, in this case, is only relative. We’re just steps away from Wenceslas Square and many of the architectural landmarks that typify the city.

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Our little street, Jungmannova.

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…and two views of our little room. It’s clean, quiet, and we have our own lavatory. We like it.

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The famous clock in Old Town Square.

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A night shot of Narodni Street, just north of here.

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The Royal Palace and St. Vitus’ Cathedral. They’re on a hill overlooking the city, and pretty much dominate any view in that direction.

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Yes, we climbed up there, and we had a lot of company.

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On Saturday we went first to the Mucha museum. Alfons Mucha was a Czech artist who is best known now for his graphic work during the Art Nouveau period, and if you’re of a certain age, for his poster of Job cigarette rolling papers, which could be found in just about every head shop during the sixties.

http://artsearch.nga.gov.au/Detail.cfm?IRN=36415

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A shot of the men’s room at a local shopping galleria – couldn’t resist.

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Peggy with a Gustav Klimt painting at the Veletrzni Palace museum.

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Today, after doing our laundry at Laundryland (these places are hard to find), we went to Petrin Park. On the way we stopped at a nice little restaurant. I had the goose livers lightly fried in bacon fat, and Peggy had the Chicken Caesar Salad, which you may notice was garnished with bacon. All washed down with some excellent beer.

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We took the funicular rail car up to the top of the park, and perhaps more pics of this later. I wanted to mention that the Segway, largely absent from American cityscapes, has found a niche in both Berlin and Prague as an alternate vehicle for the many city tours offered. Here is a group in the park.

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…and to wind up the day, a view of the Vltava River, which flows through the city, taken as we walked back down to the street.

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