I know Paris is older, but Prague feels older. If Paris is a lady, then Prague is her grandmother. She wears all her jewelry, even at breakfast, she’s weathered all the storms and cannot be bothered and she’s beyond impropriety. Prague is the Maggie Smith-esque Dowager Countess of Europe.
It’s just that everything in Prague is so old and so massive. I assume the words grand and magnificent and monumental were invented to describe Prague. I’ve never been in a prettier city that was so hard to photograph. The scale of these giant ornate boxy magnificent buildings are beyond the scope of my camera.
Every picture I take fails to show the weight and grandeur. It’s awe inspiring. How long did all this take to build? How many millions of people contributed? I can’t imagine.
I even climbed a tower to get some perspective.
This is the tower on the Mala Strana side of the Charles Bridge, looking towards Old Town across the Vltava river. And the city doesn’t look so massive from here.
Obligatory czelfie in Czech land.
And afterwards I spent most of the day in the Jewish Quarter, a neighborhood they call Josefov.
I saw several synagogues in this neighborhood, for a change of pace in my churchy wanderings. I only went into one because they all charged admission. But I picked a really good one, the Spanish Synagogue.
Moorish-inspired, intricate and so detailed and incredible. It was a rather small space but the paintings and carvings were extraordinary. And in their archives of photos and memorabilia, I saw this star from WW2.
I wonder what would have happened if they’d said no. Forget it. We won’t wear them. What could Hitler have said. “wear it or we kill you?” And could that have been worse? I think ultimately it would have changed nothing but I do wonder.
This Josefov neighborhood dates back several centuries and Jewish people were buried in this cemetery for at least 300 years until the 19th century. They estimate over 100,000 people are buried in this small plot of land no larger than most people’s houses.
On a lighter note, here’s the exterior of the most Dr. Seussical synagogue in all the land
Again with the massive buildings and the difficulty of shooting pictures, but you get an idea at least. Those colors are out of control!
Franz Kafka got a monument in the Josefov, right near where he used to live across from the Spanish Synagogue. It’s a cool alternative piece inspired by one of his stories. Even though it was installed 80 years after his death, I like to think he’d approve.
I walked all the way down to New Town to get a picture this Gehry designed building. We’d driven past it on my way to the hotel and I really wanted to see it again
It’s called Dancing House but here in Prague they just call it “Ginger and Fred.” Isn’t that fantastic?
And speaking of things that are fantastic, here are more bubbles!
I love these bubble guys. They always make me happy.
These Bohemian Bards were throwing down and that made me happy too.
Public squares are my favorite things about Europe. I love the buskers and performers all gravitating to this public space as well as all the music and food and general revelry.
Speaking of food, here’s a Czech delicacy called trdelnik (feel free to try to pronounce that. The shopkeeper laughed when I attempted it :)
The dough is rolled on metal rods, brushed with butter and cinnamon sugar and then baked over these open flames. They cut them in chunks and serve them as is or coated with chocolate inside.
Perfect midday snack with coffee.
I’ll leave you with the only bit of street art I’ve found here in Prague
Not quite in the street art spirit but still beautiful.
One more morning in Prague. I’m hoping to storm the castle!