Did you know that there’s a church in Prague with a human hand hanging from the ceiling? Well … at least that’s the story … the legend. I spent last Monday learning all about that and other Prague stories from Mark, our entertaining tour guide.
An early morning in Prague
I awoke from my hostel around 7-7:30ish in order to shower, eat breakfast and walk the 20 minutes to Namesti Republiky. Here I found the Prague Urban Adventures folks and checked in for what they claimed would be my best day ever or the Prague Discovery Tour. Since I had already discovered that Prague is amazing, I was pretty sure that this day could at least rival other days that I’ve claimed to be the best. I had my Nikon camera on one shoulder and my iPhone charged. I was ready for action.
We were split into two groups, which was already a good sign. You know a tour must be good … or at least have good Tripadvisor reviews … if it’s hopping on a Monday. Our tour guide was Mark, an American expat who has been living in Prague for almost two years. Mark claimed to be a huge history nerd, which basically made him a fantastic tour guide. You basically want your tour guides to geek out over history.
Mark had a good sense of humor as well. I figured I should let him know that I would be taking pictures for a blog post. He jokingly goes “oh yeah? Well what if I have a blog too? I’m going to write about blogger Nina on my tour!” It was too funny.
Walking around the streets
First he took us on a tour around the streets of Prague. If you look at the buildings closely, you will see two numbers. One is in blue and the other is in red. Above it is the street sign. So Americans traveling in the Czech Republic (and also Spain and likely many other European countries), the street signs aren’t on a pole like we are used to. It can be confusing and often you feel like you have no idea where you are. When this happens, look on the buildings.
What do these numbers mean? The blue number the address number for that particular building. The red one is an old number they used for tax purposes. So each building in all of the city has it’s own unique number.
This was right near the Cerna Madonna or in English, House of the Black Madonna.
I still have yet to eat here. It is on my list to at least enjoy a coffee outside on that lovely balcony.
Currently this building houses the Museum of Cubism and the restaurant Grand Cafe Orient. This building was built in the cubism artistic style. Pablo Picaso sort of started the cubism movement. This is one of the more famous buildings in Prague.
The statue on the second floor to the right is apparently the only thing that survived a fire. Pretty crazy!
The old town square
We then made our way down to the Old Town Square. Friends, this is the place of all things tourism in Prague. If you’re looking for one of those walking tours, they likely will meet up here. People come do demonstrations and play instruments here. It’s cute and likely most restaurants within this square are expensive.
The coolest thing about the Old Town Square is the astronomical clock! This thing dates all the way back to the year 1410, which makes it the third oldest astronomical clock in the world! It is also the oldest one that still operates. So literally I was viewing the oldest functioning clock in the entire world doing it’s thing last week. Pretty cool, right?
Every hour the clock does a little show for anyone who wants to see it. So likely around this time, you will see a crowd of people gathered around the clock. There are figures of the Biblical apostles and other sculptures that move around once an hour. The skeleton is thought to represent death. According to an old legend, it is believed that the city will suffer if the clock is not taken care of. They are also reconstructing the clock to look as though it did in the past before the war and the communist era. It will be exciting to see how it turns out.
Wandering down to the river
Prague is located along a river and it is very famous for that. The Charles Bridge is likely the most famous landmark of Prague. However before we walked across it, we viewed it from a boat. That’s right … this tour included a boat ride! Also, that boat served beer. It was a win win.
Mark got a little break and a nice Czech tour guide took over. Since half of the people on the boat were Czech people not on our tour, he gave the boat tour in both languages. It was nice to enjoy the ride. The views were simply amazing.
The Charles Bridge
After we got off the boat, we headed up to see Prague in a very different way. It was now time to cross the Charles Bridge! This bridge is another super touristy spot in Prague. Here you will find all sorts of vendors and musicians. It can also be hard to find a good spot to take a photo. But the views are simply amazing from here.
I was wearing my favorite Modcloth dress that day. Prague also tends to vary day to day as far as the weather goes. It was decent that day.
The bridge is lined with 30 different statues. Some are thought to bring good luck, so you will see people touching them. It is thought that if you wish something upon one of them, it will come true.
It was taken this high up because of people … lots of people.
We wandered across the bridge and over to the restaurant for lunch. I loved that this tour feeds you and they feed you traditonal Czech food. On our way over, we stopped by a cool little hidden gem.
There happened to be a lot of Americans on our tour. I suppose that happens for English tours in general, especially in the summer. Mark had stumbled upon this small memorial made about the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 that happened in New York city. It was really cool to see.
It says something in both Czech and English about how being a firefighter is like living a double life and how much of a sacrifice it is.
The Lennon Wall
Before lunch, we also stopped at the Lennon Wall. If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember a post I made about this wall. It started during communism as a wall of protest. People were inspired by the Czech author Jan Werich. The government, however, could do nothing about it since it’s directly across from the French embassy. They didn’t want to look bad in front of a Western country. The police would continually paint over it and guard it. But it just kept existing.
So it started as just a place where you could spray paint whatever. Even though communism is over, people still paint on it. It’s ever-changing.
I really love this last photo here. It’s such a neat a true statement.
And then it was onto lunch. This was amazing and I ate every bite. It’s some sort of a mixture of bacon, goat cheese and these kind of pasta or potatoes. It was so delicious.
The afternoon was left for us to explore the Prague Castle, which is the largest castle in the world. The grounds around the castle are free for anyone to explore. The most amazing part of the castle is the cathedral. You can walk in the front section for free and snap a few photos. You have to buy a ticket to see the entire thing.
It was simply amazing to walk around the grounds. I want to come back and buy a full ticket. So that is one future goal.
And our tour ended with a view. Overall, I loved Prague. It’s one of those cities where just a few days is not enough. But the tour gave me a great idea of what I would like to do when I return.
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I was a guest on the Prague Discovery Tour by Prague Urban Adventures. All opinions are my own.