Day 71: October 1st
We heard from the two couples we met the night before that there was a free walking tour we could take of the old town. Nothing is really free though…we’re expected to pay tips!:) it still works out much cheaper than taking a full tour so we decided to check it out anyway. We had to spot them in their bright green or red t-shirts in the old town square. Our hotel was only around 15 min walk from there….but by the time we got there, my nose and hands were almost blue from the cold. It was freezing! So we went and bought a hat for me first…otherwise there is no way I could survive a three hour walking tour.
We found the tour guides quite easily and were quickly dismayed to find that a lot of others had as well..there seemed to be around 40-50 people in each group which would have not been fun anyway. As we were walking away we saw another guide who seemed to be standing by herself. She was actually offering free tours as well but worked for a much smaller company..and she didn’t seem to have any tourists at all! So we decided to join her. It was a good move as there were only five of us when we started as opposed to the other tour.
Old town square where we started….there isn’t a lot to say except that it is the most stunning square I have seen on this trip so far. One doesn’t know where to look…there is Tyn Church and it’s gothic steeples, the baroque St.Nicholas Church, the astronomical clock which goes crazy every hour, on the hour; the Jan Hus monument( he is often credited along with Martin Luther for breaking away from the Catholic Church)..everything is just stunning.
We then walked around the Jewish Quarter…more than a 100,000 Czech Jews were killed in WWII and it’s very sobering to see some of these memorials. We ended the tour close to St.Wenceslas Square which is the main square in Prague..it is also where the 1969 uprising took place and more recently was the scene of the Velvet Revolution.
Post lunch we spent time in the communist museum..it is very interesting to see what life was life there. Even though you already know it in theory from reading history books or from the news, it’s different to see pictures and videos.
And now for the most exciting part of our day…we were going to an ice hockey game! That’s right! The Czechs are huge ice hockey fans and Bill did most of the research as you can imagine…I had never been to a game before.
It was the most fun evening. We had great seats…and soon joined in the fun cheering for the home team and joining in chanting, “Sparta…….Praha!” It was so much fun. Before the home team came onto the ice they had this cool montage and I laughed really hard when they had a scene from the movie 300 where Gerard Butler says, “THIS IS SPARTAAAA!” Awesome!:):) Sparta won 7-0 much to the joy of the home crowd. It was the perfect evening. For the first time we were really doing some thing that the locals do…and it wasn’t in a museum or a cathedral or a bell tower. While I love those too, this was special. It’s definitely one of my favorite evenings on the trip so far.
Tomorrow, we explore the beautiful Prague Castle.