Saturday, October 1, 2011

Old Town Square

In the afternoon, I took walk over to Staroměstské náměstí, a.k.a. Old Town Square. It too was lousy with tourists.

The main site in Old Town Square is the historic Astronomical Clock.

It is on the side of the Old Town City Hall tower.

I guess I should go back tomorrow and go up into the tower. It doesn't look unmanageably high. Anyway, the clock was built in 1410 (not a typo), making it the oldest functioning astronomical clock in the known universe (and third oldest of all time). Crowds gather there every hour on the hour for the cuckoo-clock like show. And there's a light show on the side of the Old Town City Hall after dark, which also draws a crowd of tourist.

Let's face it. Everything in Prague seems to draw a crowd of tourists. According to Wikipedia, it is the sixth most visited city in Europe, after London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin. That means Prague outdraws tourist meccas like Barcelona, Venice, Vienna and Pag Island, Croatia. (I threw that last one in there because I love Pag so much.) And when you're on the Charles Bridge, you think everyone of those tourists giving Prague that #6 ranking are right there on that bridge. And when you are in Staroměstské náměstí, you think they moved over there. This is a tourist town.

And I'm here in my capacity as a tourist, so it's all good.

But if you come as a tourist, wear sensible shoes. When I was in Staroměstské náměstí tonight, I saw this young girl (young girl now means early 20s), dressed to the nines, unsuccessfully trying to navigate the cobblestones of Old Town in the dark in stiletto heels. She was being propped up by her two girlfriends who were wearing sensible footwear. Kinda funny, Kinda sad.

Which reminds me of another point. Prague after dark is dark! This is not a very well-lit city. Yet it's perfectly safe, except for some minor street crime.

Before the late night visit to Old Town Square, I had a delicious dinner at Restaurace Na Zlaté křižovatce, the all-gluten-free Czech restaurant. I had a delicious dish called beef goulash, served with potato pancakes, but it was more a beef bourguignon than a goulash. I'm not complaining! Just commenting. It was served with a side of potato pancakes and I washed it down with a Celia, a draft gluten-free beer. Which tasted like regular beer. Which is the whole point. The strawberry and cottage cheese dumplings were "eh," but I'm not sure if that's the gluten freedom or just because it's the one clunker on an otherwise delicious menu.

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