PRAGUE: UP CLOSE & PERSONAL

1 ASTRO CLOCK 2814 E1.jpgTHE TRUE ORIGIN OF PRAGUE’S ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK HAS BEEN SHROUDED for centuries. No one knew or remembered who had created the thing, and many myths about the clock abound. The most famous legend is that it was built in the first decade of the 1400’s by a master clockmaker named Hanus. The city councilors loved the clock so much that when they feared Hanus intended to build another clock for a nearby town, they had him blinded, so he couldn’t. Apparently, humans have always been so very human. You simply just don’t get to sit at the top of the food chain by being a pussy is the obvious lesson we keep handing down to the next generation.

We do know this, however: Prague’s clock is the world’s oldest astronomical clock still in operation (although it has been repaired a number of times). It is mounted on the Old Town Hall Clock Tower in Old Town Square. It’s hard not to admire the detailed workmanship, the ingenuity of its design and craftsmanship. And gold stuff. Not to mention the stone carvings on the building itself.

 

2  ROOFS 2273 E1 SMApparently, Czechs have not traditionally been very creative with naming the areas of their city: New Town, Old Town, Lesser (smaller) Town. Rooftops of Lesser Town in Prague on the opposite side of the Vltava River from Old Town are almost as interesting to view as the clock. These homes are located on the hill just below Prague Castle, which is “the largest coherent castle complex in the world” and which now also houses…you guessed it…a new Starbucks there.

 

3 PURPLE Lennon2778 NO SMThe John Lennon Wall is missing the painting of John Lennon that initiated the naming of the wall. Lennon’s image got painted over…who knows by whom? Or why? Or with what, maybe something like—“Ivan Loves Ivana” or “Come Together”? Still, it is still known as the John Lennon Wall, and the writing on the wall has expanded to about 50 yards long. The wall has become so popular, it is shown on tourist maps and travel guidebooks. Tour guides even take you there or point it out. One musician has been making a pretty good living by singing Beatles songs in front of the wall every day. The pub at the corner changed its name to the John Lennon Pub and it displays pictures of Lennon, along with a carved yellow submarine. The pub’s specialty is, get this, fish and chips. They also serve “baked smoked knee black beer.” Huh?

 

4 Window Flowers 1935 NO SM

One of the many details on houses you might spy in Prague—this home sits alongside the Charles Bridge on the Lesser Town side, and doesn’t it just cry out to be photographed as you wander across the bridge spanning the Vltava River. Well, maybe it doesn’t cry out to everyone, but I swear I heard it call my name. Note the lit candle (is it?) in front of the Madonna (is it?).

 

 

5 Wens Sq ? 2049 E1 SMToo many details to count, words and signs everywhere here in Wenceslas Square, and who knows what this “sculpture” is meant to depict or honor. Wenceslas Square these days is a vibrant entertainment/shopping area lying in the heart of Prague’s New Town (Nove Mesto in Czech). Of course, “new town” is a bit misleading since the area was originally laid out in 1348 as a horse market. Traditionally, when the Czechs want to blow off steam, they gravitate to Wenceslas Square, which can accommodate maybe 39,999 angry demonstrators.

 

6 Pink Bldg Statue 2090 NO SM

One of the many art deco buildings you find in Prague’s Old Town, this one in the Jewish Quarter just one block over from the Gucci store. And Hugo Boss. And Yves St Laurent. And Mont Blanc. And Dior. And Prada. And…well, you get the idea of what that street looks like. But if you go to the end of the street this building is on (which is the street the apartment I rented sits on) and turn left onto Dusni Street, you can eat lunch at one of the finest little cafés in town, The Little Break, where you step down into a nicely appointed, lower-level dining area or dine outside under umbrellas on the sidewalk. Try the goulash in a bowl made from a loaf of Bavarian-style bread, and eat the bowl, for 149 Czech korunas. Or try the duck baked on honey apples with red cabbage for 349 korunas. Tell the owners, Natalia and Pavljuk, I sent you. You may not get a free dessert, and they may not remember who the hell I may have been (that guy who ate the goulash in a bread bowl!), but at least it offers you the opportunity to name drop.

 

7 Stone Road 8192 E1Ancient cobblestones make interesting designs for your feet to wander across as long as you follow good advice and don’t wear your stilettos. But the stones make poor roads to ride your Segway on, so if you go to Prague, here’s my advice: don’t rent a Segway. It’ll jar your kidney stones loose. Segways may be banned by the time you get there anyway. I think I vote for that. I witnessed a teenage boy on a Segway collide with another kid on one. One boy got up, the other didn’t…for a long while. Cobble stone streets, obviously, are not one of the things you want to fall down hard on.

 

8 Umbrella Red 2031 NOOne way to get around and see Prague’s sites, if you don’t rent a Segway or a bicycle (or walk as I did), is to ride one of those big open-air buses. Old Town Square is a place to purchase a ticket. Apparently, this lady can help.

 

9 Bldg+Grafiti 2121 E1 SMA little bit of old stuff and new stuff just down river from the Frans Kafka Museum, which is not the place where he was born. A bad tour guide will brusquely point to a building in another part of Old Town and say: “That is where Frans Kafka was born” and then quickly whisk you away to the next spot on the agenda. Technically, that’s true, it’s the “spot.” But not in the building that stands there today. The building in which Kafka was born was torn down, the new one was built in its place. A good guide will tell you this kind of stuff.

 

10 Free Range 8130 E1You know, this is the kind of detail that miffs me later on when I look at the photo. Sure, it’s a fun scene, and a fun photo to show the scene. But what miffs me now is that I did not take the time to even poke my head inside to see just what was “Free Range Dining”!! Was it a big salad bar you grazed through, or just ad hype to get you inside? I guess I’m not really interested much in eating. Or dining out. I would like to be cool and say I’m a “foodie,” and I would like to be a connoisseur of wine, but I’m just not: to me, eating is a waste of time, and I just don’t like the taste of wine—red or white or pinkish. Give me a bowl of goulash, a hunk of peasant bread and a Perrier, and I’m good to go. Or better, just give me a pill with all the needed nutrients. I can’t even take a decent photograph of food.

 

11 Door Knock 2191 E1 SM“Martha? Martha, are you in there? I’ve got the Chinese take-out. Martha?”

 

12 HOOFS 2811 NOHorses pull old-time carriages around town, so tourists can get the feel of how Prague felt at the turn of the century…sort of. It’s kind of interesting to move at that slow pace, unless, of course, you’re not in a carriage and in your Porsche and happen to get stuck behind one (along with a long line of other cars) on a one-lane road and have to lumber along in first gear until you hit the corner and can pass the carriage. I’m wondering if you might have thought this would finally be a post without poop—because another thing you don’t want to happen while you follow a horse and buggy is for the horse to drop a few nuggets into the street in front of you. It happens. The horses wear these specially-designed shoes that facilitate their not slipping, and soften their step and put less stress on their joints, on the awkward and unstable footing of the cobblestones (where, remember, nobody wants to fall).

ARE YOU A FOODIE? DO YOU DISDAIN PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE TO EAT?

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON A SEGWAY?

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APOLOGIES: I’ve been traveling with very poor and intermittent Internet access. Yesterday, I washed up on the shores of Malta and am now living in a 500-year-old stone house in an atavistic (and non-touristy) village on the island and apparently, have no Internet access. So, it’s been difficult to post, and next to impossible to comment on other blogs. And worse, there is no Starbucks here. Now we understand just why the word “travel” came from the word “travail.”

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You can find more entries to Lucile’s Rehab here:     Photo Rehab

Find more Walks with Jo here:  Monday Walks

You can find more entries to DP Photo Challenge here: Details

78 comments

  1. Thank you for showing me the world … my day is better and brighter for it!

    (When I saw your photo “free range dining” I thought wouldn’t it be great if it’s a place where you place your order and they bring you the uncooked food on a platter and gesture to the stove … “there’s the range, you’re free to cook it yourself.”)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, I’ve wanted to get there for a long time. It’s a place I think you’d like a lot and would enjoy. There’s not much not to like!! Except the crowds. And no Ben & Bills.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If I can have strudel, I will forego longing for ice cream. I am so glad time passed Prague by so it is still here for us to enjoy. Sort of like Vienna, but more affordable, I would guess. Gorgeous pictures. Why not move to Prague? You could do what you do anywhere in the world. Ah well, you know best. a hug

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not sure Prague is any more affordable than Vienna? Prague is not exactly cheap anymore. I could move to Prague and feel good about that. Thanks for the hug!! I needed that…

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  2. Yeah, always a good day with a Badfish post. I even dared to eat while reading it. I forgot.

    Lovely Prague details. Looking forward to more of them from Malta. Haven’t been yet but I hear they’ve got wicked doors. Without internet you’ll just have to talk to us straight up. Got my window open and my thoughts are loud.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, that’s our motto around here…make everyone’s day a good day! And if you can eat while reading…go for it! I eat while writing sometimes, many times. Two things at once…is that an ADD thing?
      Malta details…coming up! But yeah, you’re gonna have to listen up, keep the windows open. If I open the window or door here to let in air, five (semi-)feral cats saunter in!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You need to go back to Prague and find another detail: my blog name on the John Lennon Wall! I just changed my header photo a few days ago to feature my few minutes of fame on that wall; I’m quite sure I’ve been painted over by now, but you are just the guy to check! They have internet and Starbucks there – go back! Seriously, I loved the post – lots of great photos and interesting stances on things, such as foodies. Haha. I am not a foodie, but I do like to eat food and drink wine. I don’t care about the provenance of either, but I do like to enjoy them. Enjoy Malta unplugged!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, dang. I wish I’d known your name was on the wall, I’d have looked for it. Well, maybe not, it’s a lot of wall, a lot of names…but how cool. You’re famous!
      Um…this is what I think…if a person likes to eat food and drink wine, they ARE a foodie, girl! Especially if you eat ice cream after the meal. Where the stuff comes from is not part of the definition of foodie, I don’t think!!
      Malta Unplugged…I think that’s the title to my first piece from Malta! Can I put your photo of the Wall in the post just to show I know famous people?? Please..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you may flaunt my blog name and your connection to a celebrity (ha) as you like. As for being a foodie, I beg to differ. I like to eat food, but here is one way foodie is defined and how I see “them”: “A foodie is a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.” (Wikipedia). Foodie also has a negative, douche-y connotation; to me, foodies are affected about the whole thing whereas I just enjoy sitting down to eat! (And I never eat dessert!)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lex, OK…flaunting coming up!! As for foodies…I like what Wiki says about them–ardent and refined interest. That makes sense. I admire foodies…who are ardent and refined. I don’t admire the douche-y ones!! It’s just that I’m not either! And I might like to be. But I will say this: I ALWAYS EAT DESSERT. What’s wrong with you, woman?

          Liked by 1 person

    • I know…fun, huh?! And that shot was taken with my…you guessed it…iPhone 6! I use it when I want to make sure I get the shot, or when the light is quarky or when it’s low light.

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  4. I really enjoyed this animated tour of Prague, badfish; you had me chuckling a lot. Funny that the John Lennon painting on the John Lennon wall got painted over. The clock is beautiful, but how could they have lost track of the maker of this fine creation? And why would a rake hang in a restaurant window? Lots of fun questions to ponder about this beautiful city…thank you~~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chuckling…OK, that’s a good sign I’m doing my job right, eh. I saw a photo of the wall painted completely white with a sign that said The Wall Is Over, or something like that, so maybe they tried to get rid of it, but it kept coming back??
      As for the clock, well you know, that was way back at the end of the Dark Ages, literally, and maybe record keeping wasn’t that great. A rake in a window…yeah, what do you do go in and rake your food to your plate or what?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your random, non-touristy photos with their fun captions and stories 🙂
    So many great photos and each one manages to transport me back to Prague. I have to say though, taking a city tour on a Segway was THE MOST FUN. I thought I was going to die at least a half dozen times but I can be strange that way 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. BF, I’m in love with you! (don’t tell the girlfriend 🙂 ) Let’s throw food out the window. Not literally- I’d hate anyone to get messy. It’s just that I don’t know anyone else who can photograph horses hooves so beautifully. Oh, and a million other things 🙂 You made my day! Thanks so much for the link. I feel honoured. Malta, hey? Darn it- I’ll get there ahead of you one day 🙂 🙂 Safe and happy travels in this crazy world!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. These photos are so eye catching. Very unique for sure. I have not been to Prague but look forward to getting there one day.

    I am definitely a foodie, but thats okay. We all have different priorities in life. When I am in a new place with an ethnic or different type of cuisine I get excited just thinking about what my next meal is going to be and where I might eat it. That said, am not much of a meat eater so that can be kind of limiting.

    Really? Dont you even like a big plate of gnocchi? Do you have a favorite food?

    Your photo near the Frans Kafka museum is stunning. I love how the light hits the top of the building making it glow. Thaen again I am very drawn to your cobbkestones and horses hooves. Nice eye!

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Foodie…yeah, I would like to like food so much that I want to try all the dishes of a place. Usually, I try the local food if I’ve never been to a place before, well, I always do that. But it’s because I want the experience.
      My favorite food is dark chocolate. And Mom’s homemade chili con carne. Or anything Mexican.
      I like that photo with the half-lit building, also. Just happened to be in the spot at the right time. Don’t know why I photographed the horses feet…what’s up with my head?

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      • Dark chocolate is my favorite food too. And I love the range of dishes Mexican food offers. My favorite dish was had in Puebla years back, the name escapes me right now, stuffed pepper with cream sauce, walnuts, fresh peaches, chicken. So very yummy.

        Peta

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed your post and fascinating photos, Badfish. The clock is so amazing. I’ve often said that I wish we could just take food pill every day, then I wouldn’t need a kitchen, which of course I haven’t got at the moment. I can’t say that I don’t enjoy food, though, but I’m not addicted and could live without it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The clock is outrageous…for a clock. Thousands of people stare at it every year. I’m so glad there’s someone else who would simply like to take a pill!! I feel so alone when everyone else is so thrilled to be a foodie. And right, I can enjoy food when I have nothing else to do, but usually have something else to do!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, I am a foodie so not only am I miffed that I have no idea what Free Range Dining is, but now I wonder what in the heck is ‘sklen’ which is reflected in the window and is obviously code for something very important. 😀 Such great photos, BF.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I haven’t been on a Segway and doubt that I will. I value my intact bones too highly to take that sort of risk. I know exactly what you mean about the Free Range Dining photo. So often when we get home and I start writing posts I wonder why I didn’t find out more about a particular place I photographed. A bowl of goulash and a hunk of peasant bread sounds pretty good to me. We would much rather explore the markets and find delicious treats to take home than eat in a fancy restaurant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Segway looks cool, but it’s just not natural! You move without moving? What’s up with that? And yeah, I always, always come home with that feeling of not knowing something about something in a photo I want to now know more about. I can vouch for the goulash! To be honest, I’m usually disappointed in most restaurants, so I agree, I’d rather find stuff in local markets, fix it myself…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. There’s a lot here to fascinate. I love the clock and the horses’ inventive shoes, not to mention the rooftops and the shrine on the housetop. Never been on a Segway (no way) and do like eating (how could I not with a vegetable garden?). I look forward to a tour of Malta, another place I’ve wanted to go…Enjoy!

    Like

  12. You simply just don’t get to sit at the top of the food chain by being a pussy is the obvious lesson we keep handing down to the next generation. – Sir Bad Fish, PhD.
    And, what one of your followers said about “here’s the chickens and there are the ranges.”
    Oh, and the most excellent tour of Prague, in several volumes. Anthony Bourdain can not be more reverent, nor snarky than the most bad of all the fish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah…maybe I should write a book on philosophy of the human mind, eh? I would like to be knighted…Sir!
      I’ve never seen Anthony Bourdain…but if he’s snarky and cool, then fine!! But maybe that should be irreverant is what I’m thinking?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I see a prestigious literary award in your future if you do! And why not a knighthood, to boot? I mean, that’s some volume of work you’re gonna pen.
        Bourdain is both reverent and snarky in all of his TV travel essays. I enjoy his shows, though I wonder if even mentioning him will make some of your fellow travel bloggers cringe. Maybe he appeals to only those of us who aren’t seasoned travelers such as yourself and your fellow travelers?

        Like

        • OK…I’m dreaming of knighthood now. Bourdain…I guess I’ll have to check him out, maybe he’s got something online? I don’t watch TV at home, and don’t surf the net, so haven’t seen him, but he looks cool!

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Every photo a gem! And your notes for each wonderfully descriptive and captivating. As usual! Even with the poop. I’m pleased to see the horses have decent shoes. My horse-podiatrist niece would be pleased too. I’m totally with you on the whole food and wine thing, but when we get to Prague I’m definitely headed for a goulash in a bread bowl.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alison…thanks so much. Sorry about the pooop thing. Old habits die hard as they like to say. Don’t know why I thought the horse shoes would be a good shot, don’t know how I got that low to take the shot. But I do like it for some reason. You can’t go wrong with the goulash in a bread bowl, really!! My advice is don’t go to Prague in peak tourist season, go in spring or fall. Or winter when there’s snow on Charles Bridge…that would be a great shot, no people and snow!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Glad to see your ‘street art filter’ in use. Love the expression on her face and the dress against the graffiti backdrop. And how cool is that clock? Very. Just glad that I haven’t created something so awesome in this life that someone would want to blind me to stop me from creating. Hope you are enjoying Malta. We set sail for Indonesia tomorrow. Life is good.

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    • I know. I keep thinking of you when I walk around looking for street art and not finding a dang thing!!! Scribbles. You are going to LOVE Indonesia…all the island are different, have different tribes of people. But if you find street art, you are truly blessed by the gods…if you find a STREET you are blessed!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Now I understand the expertise on Good King Wenceslas you displayed the other day. It’s a shame they didn’t build Wenceslas Square just that tiny bit bigger, though, so it could accommodate a 40,000th person.

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  16. I had seen Prague in movies but the one that you showed is totally different, amazing and beautiful. Feels like I am walking the streets and watching everything as it happens as I read along. Loved the piece! Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Badfish there is so much I love about this post I barely know where to start. Washed up on the shores of Malta to start. Sounds fantastic. It’s definitely not all unicorns and cupcakes when we re on the road is it? I should do a post of all of the front desks I have crawled under in search of Ms Wifi. Travail indeed.
    Loving your creative photos! Why anyone would want to smoke and bake their beer is beyond me. 🙂

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  18. Oh Badfish! You knew this post would speak to me! The guy with the Chinese take out, followed by the fascinating footware of the horses. Bravo my friend for spotting the really cool details.

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  19. Can you confirm if the lady with the red umbrella and t-shirt is the proud owner of the red dingy? Have you find her in Prague and escaped together to find isolation in Malta?
    As to Prague….you made me want to go there again! Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Aloha Mr. Badfish…what a great read, as I am Czech by descent, need to go visit that clock, cause time certainly does not wait! Always love your take on things and pictures…my favorites are the clock and the horse hooves…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Your pictures are fantastic! I love that clock and all the colors. You really present a feel for the town. I love the cobblestones and the horse’s shoes
    I don’t really care that much about food. I drink a lot of shakes. It is kind of a waste of time, because you just poop it out after all, which also seems a “waste” of time.
    Never been on a segue, only in conversation jumping from one topic to another.
    Anyway, Badfish, great post!
    Peace
    Mary

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  22. Beautiful post… truly interesting to learn about Prague’s clock … AKA the world’s oldest astronomical clock still in operation, as you described above… Also, I feel some tenderness when I reda that the different parts of the city are named New Town, Old Town, Lesser (smaller) Town. I think there is something Latinoamerican about those names somehow….
    Wishing you a beautiful day, dear Badfish… Keep the good posts coming. Aquileana 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aquileana…thanks so much, glad you like the history even thought it isn’t gods and goddesses messing with us poor humans!
      Latino…yeah I can see that: casanova=new house. Casablanca=white house. Nuevo Laredo=new laredo. I get that!! Are you latina?

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  23. Such beautiful pictures I think I forgot to read the text. I will always chance to see what food delights lie within though! I am a foodie, though sometimes I wish I wasn’t. lol

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  24. Such a wonderful collection getting close up to Prague. My favourite was definitely the rooftops of Lesser Town – the combination of the red rooftops and the colourful houses is an unbeatable combination:)

    Liked by 1 person

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