6 August 2010

Images of Prague

Prague was the last resting place on my Summer tour of Central Europe. It was an obvious place to break the long journey home from Slovakia and was in keeping with my long established strategy of visiting Prague whenever I can.

Having done a lot of the main sight-seeing and revisiting of old haunts on my last two trips there, this time I was able to take it more slowly and savour the detail.

Prague wins the hearts of most tourists, mine included, because of its relentless beauty, especially in the Old and Lesser Towns.

This gorgeous building is fairly typical, so much so that I cannot recall precisely where it is so if you want to see it for yourself you will just have to wander aimlessly around Prague like I did.

The building is already pretty with its neat arched windows, the carvings between them and the hint of a balcony but it is made even more so by the painted flowers and scrolls.

No prizes for guessing that this is Charles Bridge.

The extensive restoration and refurbishment that clouded it in scaffolding last time I was there has now all but disappeared making the bridge once again the one place that every visitor should go to.

But for reasons that escape me, the vast majority of visitors who are wise enough to go to the Bridge unwisely avoid climbing either of the two towers at either end. From there you get the best view of the Bridge and of the neighbouring area.

This (almost) secret passage is another old haunt providing an attractive short-cut to one of the main pedestrian streets, Na Prikope.

Eighteen years ago it was home to a model railway shop that has been sadly washed away in the tide of Westernisation and so-called Modernisation.

Being undercover means that it was also a welcome path this time when the heavens opened with unreasonable ferocity making me wish for the dryness of a drowned rat.

It is hard to ignore Prague Castle, so I won't.

The green walls peppered with windows stretch across the horizon and peer down on the lesser buildings in the Lesser Town. But while the lower buildings lose out on grandeur they have their own charm, notably in the tiled roofs that spread out across the Lesser Town like a patchwork quilt or terracotta.

The windows in the roof make a brave attempt at decoration but the building cannot deny its plainness when compared to its cousins in the Old Town.

Prague would not be the same place without its trams, the best was to explore the city. I discovered some new places this time simply by getting on the wrong tram (several times).

And trams mean tramlines. These squeeze trams through narrow arched streets to and from Malostranske Namesti (Lesser Town Square).

Something seems to have scared the tourists away too and I've somehow managed to take a picture without any in it. These things are worth waiting for.

I have no plans to go back to Prague at the moment but it is pretty safe to say that I will be going back and that I'll be taking lots more photos and writing about it when I do.

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