Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic
it’s like Las Vegas but with
Fewer casinos

Our street

My perception may have been colored by the fact that the opposite end of the block from our apartment housed 3 strip clubs and one sports betting establishment.

Sex Machines Museum

Plus the old town has a variety of touristy "museums". I was sad that this one was not playing nonstop James Brown.

Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square, illuminated at night


Prague’s native artists
Nouveau and Existential
Mucha and Kafka

Municipal House

Art Nouveau Municipal House, parts of which were designed by Mucha

Kafka Museum

Looks like Jeff and I have similar shots of the Kafka museum...


Euro 2012
History? Proximity?
This crowd votes German

Euro 2012

Germany vs. Netherlands Euro 2012 match in Prague's main square

Prague Summary

Four nights: Sunday, June 10 to Thursday, June 14

Prague was a nice city from an architectural perspective. Earlier I wrote that Budapest impressed me with it’s many fine squares, large boulevards and fancy buildings. Prague was similarly impressive, but had a little bit more of a seedier underbelly. Donna believes it has more of a Las Vegas veneer (or crust), which I can understand based on the extensive tourist infrastructure coupled with a certain amount of sleaze in the form of adult entertainment establishments.

But Prague was not all hot dogs and hookers. On our first full day, we went on a four-hour walking tour to better familiarize ourselves with the city. After a van ride to the castle complex on the hill, we checked out the palaces and cathedral then worked our way back down to the river and old town Prague. On the way, we passed the Lennon Wall which was important during the Communist 80’s as an outlet for pro-Western sentiment. Near the Lennon Wall was also a small Venice-like canal where people placed padlocks on the bridge railing (the “Love Lock” bridge) as a symbol of commitment.

 

On our second day, we hit a few museums. The first was dedicated to Alphonse Mucha, the influential Art Deco painter/illustrator. The collection was pretty impressive – plus, for me, I think he must have influenced 20th century illustrators such as Frank Frazetta, famous for his fantasy book cover art as well as album covers (Wolfmother, anyone?).

We also visited the Franz Kafka museum, which was fairly atmospheric but heavy on written descriptions of Kafka’s history in Prague. One surprise outside of the Kafka museum was a sculpture by David Černý , depicting two male figures pissing over a pool in the shape of the Czech Republic. What’s more, they were animated with swiveling hips and hinged members, allowing them to “write” SMS messages that you send them!! I have a video I’ll upload a bit later.

Another interesting site we came across was a giant metronome installed on a hillside peak overlooking the city. In the 50’s, this was the site of the largest Stalin statue in the world, until it was ordered destroyed by Khrushchev. The metronome was installed in the 90’s as a symbol of the changing times.

On our final night in Prague, we engaged in what I assume is an authentic European activity – we stood in the main square drinking beer (and wine), eating sausages and watched the Euro 2012 football match between Germany and The Netherlands. The square was pretty packed with fans from both sides, but the Germans were the dominant presence. I suppose it’s a good thing that Germany won 2-1, otherwise we might have been witness to an authentic European football riot!

Finally, with respect to food and drink, I know that the Czech Republic if famous for its beer – after all, this is where pilsner was invented, etc. I did have a few different Czech beers and enjoyed them all, but I think I’ve developed too much of a taste for Northwest-style ales to be able to properly appreciate the subtle differences between different pilsners or lagers. That said, they go great with sausages, of which I had many!