Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A walk through Malá Strana

Now I know I haven't had many touristy moments since I've been in the Czech Republic, but that happens when you're busy studying and/or drinking beer that's cheaper than water.

But after finishing the TEFL course on Friday, I realized that there was really nothing stopping me except for sheer apathy which I've had one hell of a case of lately. 

Finally I got up off my butt, donned my scarf and trench coat — I feel so European — and went walking around. We've had some incredible weather around here lately and every day we just cringe at the thought that it might be the last crisp, sunny day in Prague until Spring. That in itself should have been enough reason to make myself go out. 

Of course, it still took me until mid-afternoon to actually walk out the front door.

I spent the afternoon in Malá Strana which is the area of town around Prague Castle. I'm broke so I opted for one of the walking tours in the back of my Lonely Planet because, well, walking tours are generally free. It was the best afternoon ever. 

First I visited the Wallenstein Gardens.

  Warning: Having the sun out was brilliant, a little too brilliant for my camera to handle. No matter what I did some of these photos are still a little bit bright. Either way, I still think they're pretty.

This is the Dripstone Wall. It's absolutely magnificent.
The whole day just screamed Autumn which is something I have no experience with given I'm from the great state of Texas where we have only two seasons (Summer and three weeks of Winter).

The Czech Senate building is at the back of the Wallenstein Gardens.

 Basically the gardens are a bunch of winding paths of bushes, statues, flowers and fountains that lead up to the Czech Senate building. about three minutes after I took the picture above, a bride and groom walked up to take their wedding photos. She had this big, huge, fluffy white dress and looked absolutely gorgeous, but it was weird to me that they wanted wedding photos in front of the Senate building.

After I left the garden I walked down to the Vltava River bank.
I waited for a good five minutes for boats to move the heck out of the way so I could get this shot. I'm quite pleased with it. I love the Charles Bridge and all the architecture in this city.

Oh and for some reason there are peacocks and other fowl running around rampant.

 I'm not sure why. But it's pretty awesome how close they will get to you. I guess they're just so used to all the people now. This isn't even the closest this guy got to me. I have to admit though, when birds get to close I have this irrational fear they're going to turn on me and try to peck my eyes out. OK, enough crazy talk. Moving on.

The Weather Vanes art exhibit at Vojan Park.

 There was a sign next to the exhibit inviting you to walk among the weather vanes so long as you don't hang on them and what not. I thought it was kind of cute the way it was worded. Maybe that's because it was so polite and generally Czechs just get to the point.

Proudy aka 'Piss Sculpture' in front of the Kafka Museum.

The Piss sculpture is an animatronic sculpture created by  David Černý. The sculptures pee quotations from famous Prague residents into a pool of water shaped like the Czech Republic. Visitors can also send text messages to the statues which will stop what they were doing and write the new message before going on to their original message. 

Now I'm not really sure what exactly this says about Černý thoughts on the Czech Republic, but it's pretty funny. Unfortunately, the guys weren't peeing when I went to visit so they never got my message. 

Just some more evidence of Autumn.

Have I mentioned my love-hate relationship with cobblestone? I can't imagine Prague any other way. Flat pavement just wouldn't have the same character that this city obviously deserves. Unfortunately, cobblestone likes to eat shoes. Both pairs of heels I own need to go to a shoe cobbler. 

Is that why they call them 'cobblers'?

I love when graffiti is so reassuring.
 This city is also covered in graffiti. It's an art form that is essentially embraced. I totally understand that because you often find graffiti in Austin that's left untouched because people love it so much. It's just amazing that nearly every flat surface is covered in some message. 

Creepy modern art babies on Kampa Island.
 So one of my best friends hates modern art. I think it's funny because she really likes art in general. So now every time I think of modern art I think of her. Of course, I do actually think these massive bronze babies with barcodes (they look like coin slots to me) for faces are super creepy. Not really sure what the hell they're supposed to represent either?

More graffiti on Kampa Island down by the riverside.
 I think the best part about graffiti here is that it comes in so many different languages. You'll see it in Czech, Russian, German, English. You name the language and you could probably find it some where. 

There are so many bridges in this city it's insane.
But it also adds to the beauty. That and at least you don't have to worry about getting stuck on one side of the Vltava or another because traffic on the bridge sucks. Just pick a different bridge!

I can't believe I get to live here for a year (*ahem, maybe longer, ahem*).

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