Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Seasonally affected

Looking south from Letná Park toward New Town (Nové město; a bit of a misnomer considering it was established in the 14th century), Prague appears peaceful - even calm. This probably isn't what you'd say if you were standing on Charles Bridge.

Prague Castle at 7:00pm, looking east.

The tallest statue of Stalin ever built (50m) loomed ominously over Prague in Letná Park, ca. 1955. Seven years later it was blown apart with 800kg of explosives. Apparently it was not popular. More info

The base of the statue still stands prominently on a ridge above the Vltava River. It remains a symbol of the deceased giant that was communism in the Czech Republic, but now it also signifies the power of perseverance and the ability to peacefully overcome what at times must have seemed an insurmountable obstacle. see Velvet Revolution

This metronome was erected in 1991 to fill the space once occupied by the Stalin statue. Some of the best views of the city are found along the this ridge.

The cold, snowy Prague I left in January is gone. It has been replaced by summer and life, green trees and a warm sun that never seems to set. Tourists have inundated this place, making daily transit difficult, but often visually appealing. I've got to recommend the immediate seasonal change associated with some inter-equatorial travel. On both occasions, I've been lucky enough to leave winter behind, arriving only hours later to summer clothes, beaches, and cherry orchards ripening below Prague Castle. My friends complain because it's hot, but I'm happy in shorts and sunscreen.

At lot has changed during the last 5 months. 25 January, looking north along the Vltava River.

18 June

25 January. Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.

18 June

25 January. A busy Charles Bridge in the winter.

18 June. Although it may not look like it, it was 5:10am when I took this picture. Thirty minutes later there must have been 50 people on the bridge, and artists were beginning to set up their stalls. At 7 I saw the first tourist bus, and then it's busy 'till well after dark.

I arrived on Sunday in the late afternoon, and Greg met me at the airport (well, met implies arriving around the same time, but he made it there eventually). We headed into town to drop my things at his flat and then went for dinner, after which I slept well. I spent Monday and Tuesday shopping around town for bikes, and found a good deal on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday I spent an equal amount of money on accessories, and today the bike is finally coming together. That's a good thing, because I leave tomorrow for a three-day trip to familiarize myself with the bike and watch Greg's choir perform in a small town about 40 miles northwest of Prague. With any luck, I'll get another ride in early next week before we leave Prague in 8 days.

My new wheels.

Panoramic view from Petřín Park looking north and east toward Prague Castle (Hradčany), the Vltava River, the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) and Old Town (Staré město)(L-R).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Arriving in Prague in the Winter was like a dream come true for me as to gaze across the snow covered rooftops was like something straight out of a fairy tale.
Right from the moment I took my first walk around the old town in the evening mist of my first night, I instantly felt as though I had been swallowed up by its astounding history from its first founding just over a millennium ago.The old town square is simply breathtaking, presided over majestically as it is by the town hall and the dominating presence of the monolithic Church of Our Lady before Tyn. We booked a room in one of the Prague hotels right in the center of the Old Town - wanting to be close to everything.A short five minute walk from the square has you standing on the banks of the Vltava River gazing in awe at the medieval masterpiece of the Charles Bridge - in fact the only thing that can possibly tear your eyes from this visual feast is the simply stunning presence of Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral standing proudly watching over the city on the opposite bank.
And that is just the beginning of visual treats that Prague has to offer... :-)