Czech Republic trip Day 1 – 20 Nov 2012 – City walk in Prague, Dvorak Museum, Prague Opera House, Old Town Prague, Baroque choral music concert at Rudolfinum.
First day in Czech Republic – arrival, walking around Prague, learn to avoid dog poo, and some Baroque choral music for an evening concert. Weather cloudy and cool (5-10 degrees), t-shirt weather if you have a warm coat to go with the shirt.
The conundrum when strolling along dog-poo infested city streets is what sort of shoes to wear. A solid tread is good for grip but then you have to pick out the poo before going inside. A smooth sole is easy to wipe clean but there’s a risk of slipping and ending up on your arse in dog poo. I compromised and wore one of each.
Prague (or Praha) is famous for having taxi drivers that rip off unsuspecting tourists, and suspecting ones, and even the mayor himself when he disguised himself as an Italian tourist one day, thus prompting a crackdown on taxi fare extortion. Apparently in years gone by, Prague taxi drivers had the back seats wired up to give uncooperative passengers an electric shock. Why the mayor disguised himself as an Italian rather than another nationality isn’t clear; one would have thought a Kiwi lad dressed in gumboots, shorts, and a black singlet would be more gullible than a smooth talking Italian. Anyway, I managed to get from the airport to the accommodation unextorted and unelectrocuted (possibly because I avoided saying si senor).
Prague is a popular European city tourist destination so yes, it is very touristy. But for good reason, there are lots of old buildings and medieval streets and alleyways to look at and walk around or through. Very quaint, picturesque, blah blah blah.
330 – Church and autumn leaves, the kind of thing you see all over Prague.
352 – Faust House – home to alchemists and dark magic stuff in years gone by, so I went to have a look, expecting a museum or something. It has a modern pharmacy and is part of a hospital. How appropriate. But no museum.
382 – The back garden of the Dvorak Museum – worth a visit if you like Dvorak.
386 – The Dvorak Museum and a couple of bums.
405 – For piano aficionados – a Bosendorfer is the Rolls Royce of pianos. Dvorak had one. Museum security threw me out when I tried to play chopsticks on it.
408 – But I snuck back in and took a photo of the upstairs concert room. Every home should have one.
435 – View from the National Museum looking down Wenceslas Square (which is actually a wide road).
448 – Prague State Opera House – location feels a bit industrial because of a major highway running past the front of it and train tracks behind it.
452 – Prague National Museum – a very grand looking building, closed until 2015.
458 – View across the river Vltava (Moldau) from a concert hall called the Rudolfinum, towards Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral which dominate the Prague skyline.
465 – River Vltava and the Rudolfinum, an impressive concert hall, much more magnificent looking from the outside than the opera house.
483 – The famous Charles Bridge, partly blocked by a tourist who wouldn’t get out of the way.
504 – Old Town Prague Square, and old-fashioned transport.
515 – The Astronomical Clock and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn.
530 – More old town Prague, and old car available for vintage car tours of the city.
548 – Modern art display or an advertisement for the latest James Bond film.
565 – River Vltava.
570 – Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, St Vitus Cathedral.
593 – Concert at the Rudolfinum.
608 – Rudolfinum outside.