Prague – Attack of the Umbrella People

Oh deary me! Prague feels so long ago – I am a bit behind on the blogging front! Perhaps I should free myself from the shackles of a linear narrative, foregoing a chronicle in favour of a thematic approach? Nah, effort…

Anyway, I wanted to write a bit more about Prague, because it was a really interesting city. We decided to do a small-group walking tour, because neither of us knew much about the place. The tiny streets of the old town are also completely unintuitive, and it was very easy to get lost, so a walking tour was an excellent idea! We did a two hour tour with Andrejs, and two other people. He familiarised us with the winding laneways and pokey passages, spoke to us about the city’s history, modern art, architectural styles, medieval symbolism and gave us tips on beer. I would highly recommend booking a small group tour, rather than one led by my arch nemeses, the Umbrella People. You’ve probably seen them – they lead hordes of people around a city or tourist attraction, waving umbrellas or little flags on sticks so the group can keep sight of them. After I was nearly stabbed in the face by an overly enthusiastic flag-stick waver in Vienna, I’ve steered clear. 

Prague seemed to have the most Umbrella People seen to date. The sheer number of tourists in the Old Town was pretty overwhelming. We gave up on our first attempt to see the Charles Bridge because the area was a sea of Umbrella People. It’s also a popular destination for school groups on end-of-year trips.

The city is an interesting blend of Really Really Old Stuff and more subversive modern stuff. The sculptures of David Černy are all over the city – his public art came to prominence in 1991, when he painted a Soviet tank monument pink and signed it with his own name, so the government would know exactly who did it.

The rotating head of Franz Kafka was cool:


Each slice rotates independently!

King Wenceslas riding a dead horse was a nice dig at all the “royals on horses” statues:


The creepy babies climbing the TV tower were not cool:



Černy, please, that’s just terrifying. 

There were lots of obscure museums in Prague, which we unfortunately didn’t have time to explore. We decided to give this one a pass regardless – I don’t feel a deep desire to see Abraham Lincoln’s chamberpot:


Four score and seven years ago, someone had a really shitty idea for a museum. 

So, after our walking tour we decided to check out the castle! You do need to battle the Umbrella People there, but the castle complex is really interesting. I liked the tiny workshops built into the castle wall, the excellent view over the city and the overgrown moat. 


Sneaky…


If you look really closely you can see the umbrellas on Charles Bridge…

Ah, people…


They even have a dungeon with a fake skeleton! At least I hope it’s fake…

Instead of catching a tram back to the old town, we walked. An excellent choice! Uninterrupted views of the bridge…

Some nice canals:


At the bottom of these tiny stairs we found beer:

And we made it across the bridge this time!


The bridge has questionable sculptures…

They’re just devo they can’t go here:

PRAGUE STATS:

  • Cats seen: ZERO. Despite the possibility of an intruder cat…
  • Dogs seen: many, including the tiniest dog I’ve ever seen in my life.
  • Average daily steps: I’ve lost count. One day we did 20,000… #regrets #blisters4dayz
  • Cherries eaten: many. I forgot to write about the fruit! I’ll do a fruit blog. 

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