this turning of public places into malls is great business idea it not only brings in the greenbacks its very useful for the traveler something Indian policy makers need to think about .
We were staying in Hotel Anananas which was a bit far off the central part of the town and one had to walk a bit to the the metro station and travel a bit change stations travel more to reach the historical area of old town ,
the Prague metros were more ancient and a little drabber to the one seen in Austria ,the trademark of socialism was sticking to it ,it was also very deep cut into the bowels of the earth it was one of the deepest metros I had traveled so far ,its escalators went down endlessly and the crowds were big people too weren't as prosperous as seen in Vienna and Bratislava .
Harry potter fans would love this place
The roads from the square led off to narrower ways to the freedom square with the gun powder tower and later on to the Charles bridge winding its way up to the Prague castle ,there were plenty of restaurants bars souvenir shops and currency exchanges the crowds were boisterous and as it was a cold evening many were merry with drink ,
Prague was known for petty crime so we were a bit careful as we needed more Kroner we went into an exchange shop but finding the rates abysmally low ,as we stood debating what to do a middle aged tourist sauntered along and stood near us and commented these exchanges they offer very poor rates cheating tourists ,we thought this was another friendly tourist airing his views all of a sudden he said I have some kroner and as I am leaving today ready to sell it at a very good rate ,that sounded plausible and we got tempted but parted only with twenty euros and he counted exchange currency and gave it to us all very good and then he just disappeared ,
over times the clock had been renovated many times the last being in 1945 during the WW II and the Prague uprising and the Germans fired and destroyed a part of it later it was restored in 1948 .
Reaching or room we slept soundly
we had to reach the Freedom square to join the heritage tour that day ,
most countries abroad have these excellent tours with very well trained guide s,
tours are very professional and leave on time ,our guide was a lady in early sixties but agile and talkative she told us we would go in our coach to the Prague castle and spend around two hours in a walking tour and also have some lunch later we would descend the hill see Charles bridge and get back to where we started by end of day .
One imposing building as one entered the freedom square was the legendary Powder tower so called because it was used to store gun powder in the 17 th century though when built in 1475 it was one of the gates of the city built in commemoration of the coronation of Vladislav II .
I got a vantage point aiming my mobile which takes excellent videos at same time clicking on my SLR to catch the moments,the blue uniformed guards marched with military precision sure and slow and it was over quickly ,
later we joined th security check line where our bags and cameras were meticulously but politely checked and finally we got into the castle grounds ,
on all sides were baroque buildings and our guide filled us with facts ,it was photo time again ,she took us into more scenic spots and since the castle was on a hillock she took us to where we could see the sprawling city below
later we went to a heritage restaurant where we had our choice of lunch or small eats refreshed ourselves
and then descended down vineyards shops gardens gradually and finally reached the ground level walked through narrow alleyways and more heritage buildings finally reaching the Vltava river itself ,and there was the most famous Charles bridge spanning across the Vltava more like a museum with an array of statues on its sides ,caricaturists and painters sat doing their jobs
The Charles bridge was constructed in 1357 by Roman King Charles IV by architect Peter Praler who also constructed the magnificent St Vitus Cathedral and was completed in 15th century ,it was around 621 meters in length with 16 arches and three towers ,there were more than 30 statues all baroque style but today replaced by replicas mostly of patron saints
till 1841 the Charles bridge was the only connection between the old town and the Prague castle
the Charles bridge suffered the vagaries of war as some of the fiercest wars were fought on the bridge ,of natural disasters like flood after the nineties it is only allowed for walking and modern methods of reinforcement makes it resilient to natural disasters to a large extent
the crowd was enormous and we waded through to the other side ,there was a gate with many locks on it this was again seen in so may places in Europe and it was done by public who believed their wishes more on romantic side became true once locked away
The tower at the old town side was called the old town bridge tower and one could go up to view the city from it though we did not
At other end of the bridge was a quaint little township Mala strana or lesser town or little town with fine cottages gardens cafes shops etc we walked through to reach the heritage old town square again and here our guide bid us farewell it was exhausting but worth it and we returned to our hotel for some rest as we had to be back for the river cruise around 8 pm .
in centre is the Jan hus statue who was a saint who felt the catholic church was corrupt and the church burned him in the stakes for his troubles ,after this his followers rose against the church and the Hussite wars followed
We returned back to the old town area by metro by 8 pm ,by now it was familiar to us ,we were in search of our Dinner cruise booked online ,we had to walk a bit to the Vltava river side and it was quite chilly too ,soon we reached a bridge and we had to descend by stairs on its side to reach river bank and get into our luxury dinner cruise ,we were taken to our table right in front and on our side was the flowing river the other side was the small stage where a singer sang with a guitarist giving the rhythm ,soon the boat filled up as I nursed a vodka to drive away the chill .
the dinner itself was nothing to write about though the view was magnificent as we floated along the banks with towering media veal fairy tale castles looking ethereal in the dusk and magical in the moonlight ,we went through a series of locks rising and falling and bobbing away ,some couples rose to dance while others watched the fun a fitting end to our visit to this magical city of thrt past Prague for we returned back the nest morning