Friday, January 29, 2016

Fred and Ginger Go to Prague

The next day was kindof the same as before; we followed the path we were on but added a little more.  Today was the best lighting for the clock though.  The main clock was completed in 1410, with the lower calendar display added in 1490.  The astronomical dial represents the sun and moon positions, the calendar dial with medallions represents the months, and the figures surrounding the clock move on the hour.

The clock has been damaged and repaired many times.  The legend goes that the city will suffer if the clock is not well kept and running smoothly.  We also got a better look at the buildings and details around the clock.

After a while we decided we better work up our body heat by walking a little bit.  We took the curved road (with curved buildings!) to the bridge once more.  We hung out with King Charles before taking off down the bank.

The Dancing House, also known as Fred and Ginger (after famed dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), looked a little better during the afternoon lighting.  It was designed by Vlado Milunić along with the famous Frank Gehry in 1992 and was completed in 1996.  It caused a lot of controversy when it was built; its so modern compared the all the gothic buildings surrounding it, and really, all the rest of the buildings in Prague.  I think it works though, on the corner and with similar, Prague-like colors.  

(photos by e.hunt)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pater Patriae, Otec Vlasti, Or Father of the Country

On the second day, we went back along the route we were on the day before, except this time, we added a little more.  First stop was the Astronomical clock.

But look at that really awesome door to the left!  It had the weirdest little goblins and rodents carved into the wood, not to mention the faces that were in the door itself.

After a quick stop at the Starbucks across the street, we moved on to the bridge terrace.  You could see it much better at this time of day, and the castle looked mighty and proud in the cloudy twilight.

The coolest part was this statue off to the right of the entrance gate.  King Charles IV stands atop a pedestal adorned with allegories of theology, medicine, law, and philosophy.  King Charles IV (of whom the bridge is also named after) is known as The Father of the Country, making Prague the capital of the Holy Roman Empire during medieval times, and had many building constructed there.

Taylor quite liked the statue as well.  After spending a good amount of time studying the monument, we continued our journey along the riverbank.  Our goal was to reach The Dancing House, which was quite a ways down, and it was getting colder and colder as the sun went down.

We fought through the cold and walked the entire way.  While the dancing buildings themselves were a little disappointing (with the traffic lights and wires, car and buses whipping by, and the interior lighting not regulated to show off the building), the view back towards the way we came was very pleasing.

And then we started the long trek back, crossing the bridge and going up the other side of the river, of course.  I thought it was prettier from this angle, with the lights reflecting off of the water and the silhouettes of the statues standing above.

And on the way back through Old Town we stopped in a little patisserie named Paul to find something for breakfast the next day.  We also got a little croissant boy for dessert!

(photos by e.hunt)

Time, After All, Takes Time

The next day we got a bit of a late start.  After spending some time in the apartment catching up on some stuff on our computers, we ventured out to the Old Square.  In the middle was a gigantic Christmas tree.  We inspected it pretty closely and discovered that it was, in fact, all one tree.  Because it was so big, it required giant cables to hold it up!

We thought it was a little sad that a tree that old and big is now dead, just for some Christmas decoration.  It was quite beautiful all lit up though.  We also had our first glimpses of the Astronomical clock, which is also in the square.

Even at night, it was beautiful.  We decided to do a little research on it and come back during the day.  It's so interesting how it's just on the side of a building.  I guess that's how town clocks usually are, but you'd think that such a worldly (or other-worldly, in the astronomical sense) clock would be displayed more prominently.

After making the rounds of the square we continued on to find the river.  Along the way we passed a number of interesting buildings.

We walked and walked along the cobblestone in the cold before coming upon the bank, looking out at the castle.

(photos by e.hunt)