With only two full days in Prague we felt panicked about our ability to see it all. The neck-craining onslaught of architecutural eye-candy at every turn was almost to much to take in. The city of 100 spires seemed overwhelming, because beyond the spires every other building represents a textbook example of an architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, and Cubist (to name a few). It was hard to just get down the street.
We started our day in Old Town Square watching the Astronomical Clock strike 10:00.
We left Old Town Squared and decided to structure our experience of the city with a walking tour (narrated in our earbuds by Rick Steves) starting in Wenceslas Square (yes, Good King Wenceslas of Christmas carol fame). Lots of interesting history to Wencelas square (and architecture) but what was most interesting to me was that it was the site of the Velvet Revolution.
After our walking tour went to the Mucha Museum which featured a large colleciton of Prague’s native son. It was extraordinary. I was somewhat familiar with Alphonse Mucha but always thought his work was more commercial/graphic design oriented art nouveau than fine art. I didn’t realize how much detailed symbolism he put into his equistite beauties and how large some of them were. Unfortunately they didn’t allow photographs, but you can see the collection here.
We caught lunch nearby at a pintxos restaurant called Špejle that reminded us of our time in Barcelona.
After lunch we bought a few Czech eggs from a small market outside of our destination: the Museum of Communism which I’d highly recommend. It did a good job connecting the Habsburgs and WWI and their collapse to the creation of Czechloslovakia, WWII and the German Nazi occupation of Czechloslovakia, followed by the post-war Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (where most of the museum is focused) and ultimately the Velvet Revolution and birth of the Czech Republic. Definately worth a visit to get a sense of what life was like in Czechloslovakia during Communist rule.
As the afternoon wore on we walked back thru Old Town Square and then beyond towards the Charles Bridge. Along the way we stumbled upon a record store tucked away in an inner couryard – Disko Duck.
As we stepped out of the vinyl shop empty-handed (most of the records seemed imported from Japan so were very expensive) we happened upon the Ta Fantastika Black Light Theatre next door. Tawny had read about the many black light theaters across Prague and Ta Fantastika is known as one of the better ones. We bought ourselves some tickets for the 9:30 performance that night.
After tucking our tickets away we headed towards the Charles Bridge and restarted Rick Steves’ walking tour as we crossed.
On the opposite side of the bridge we took a quick detour to the John Lennon graffiti memorial which is as much about John Lennon as it is about fredom of expression and dissention against Communist rule.
We continued our walk along the Vltava River, past museums of art, boat rentals, and coffee shops to find the Dancing Houses; the collaboration between architects Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry.
It was a very very very very long day of walking and our feet were very sore. I’m sure the Dancing Houses would have been more impressive if we had taken an Uber to see them instead of walking what was at this point over 11 miles throughout the day. But we soldiered on, walking to find someplace to eat. As we headed towards our Yelp chosed destination we happened past Mosaic House, who’s external artwork intrigued us and we decided to have dinner there instead.
It was nearly 21:00 hours and our TaFantastika black light theater performance of “Aspects of Alice” would be starting soon. Our feet were too sore for the walk so we called an Uber and had them drive us to the theater.
The turnout of the performance was sad – pathetic really. In a theater that might have seated 200 there were only 13 people in seats. Despite that the performance was excellent and we really enjoyed the timeless ingenuity of the black light performance concept.
After the performance they asked for volunteers to “learn the secrets of black light theater”. Clara and West raised their hands and were invited on stage to learn the trade…
It was such a long day and we did and saw so much of Prague. Our feet hurt so much they may as well have been bloody stubs. But the day ended on such a high note with the “audience participation” of Clara and West…it couldn’t have been a better day. With this momentum (and a glass of wine or two) we decided to do a walking tour back to Old Town Square and our Airbnb.