Prague

One reason we are travelling independently rather than on a group tour is that we are not good conventional tourists and prefer to do our own thing. We arrived in Prague early enough yesterday to be able to visit several of the well known locations and had decided that we did not want to visit the castle or churches. Our public transport passes would allow us to get around so the hop-on, hop-off tour was not needed. Majella had thought about a river cruise and there were some things we had passed yesterday that we thought we might visit.

We were in need of rest so we did not rush down for breakfast when it started at 7:00 am. We were down by 8:00 am and by 9:30 am we were out on the street to walk to the nearby bus stop from which we took the 207 bus and got off at Namesti Republicky, a few stops short of where we boarded last night. There was a market there and we explored that for a while before moving on.

DSC_7548From there we walked to Wenceslas Square which is long and wide but definitely not square. It is a major shopping area and we walked up one side, intending to walk back down the other to survey the shopping which was mostly high fashion. At one point we crossed to the middle to look at some sculpture and then continued toward the end where we had noticed there was the national museum which we thought we might explore. When we arrived there we discovered it was closed for reconstruction but the signs mentioned the Czech Museum of Music across the river.

IMG_1974My phone apps suggested that a tram from halfway down Wenceslas Square would get us there so we walked back down and caught the tram. The building was formerly a church but has converted well for its new use with a large central space set up for performances and galleries on multiple levels housing the permanent and special exhibitions. Most of the signage includes English alongside the Czech so we were able to read about the exhibits. We spent some time in the special exhibition about fairy tales before moving into the permanent exhibition. Both included audio with headphones so we could listen to short segments of music illustrating various points. That was most interesting in the permanent collection which has a large number of unusual old instruments many of which were unfamiliar. The giraffe piano accommodates the strings of a grand piano in less floor space by standing that section on end.

We had coffee at the museum before catching the tram back across the river for our next visit. By then it was lunchtime so we walked to the area of the next museum and ate lunch at a nearby restaurant. Majella had caprese of mozzarella and beetroot followed by a sweet pancake for dessert. I had a caesar salad with chicken and a beer.

DSC_7553Our after lunch treat was the Apple Museum. it covers the period from the first Apple computer to 2012 with displays of well preserved examples of most of the Apple products that have appeared over that time. The displays are supported by a web-based phone app accessible over the museum wifi and offering history and description of the devices. I have owned or at least used many of the devices that were displayed and it was interesting to recall some of the experiences over almost 40 years.

DSC_7559Majella had changed her mind about the guided river cruise since yesterday. Instead she thought we should join the many other tourists we had seen in pedal boats on the Vitava River. A short walk and a bus ride later we were lined up and aboard a boat on the river. Minimum hire was for an hour and we made it to almost 40 minutes before concluding that any more pedalling would put us at risk of not being able to walk tomorrow. It was fun and, apart from the need to keep pedalling, relaxing. It certainly gave us a different perspective on seeing the city from the river.

We considered going to the Czech Beer Museum but it seemed unlikely that Majella would appreciate touring 3 floors of brewery and sampling 4 kinds of beer. Instead we walked through some more of the old town area, slowly making our way back to Namesti Republicky where we would catch our bus back to the hotel. We ate at the market we had seen in the morning – grilled sausages, unaccompanied lamb for Majella and pork with sauerkraut and onion in a roll for me with a beer on the side.

A short walk and bus ride had us back at the hotel before dark. Hopefully a restful night will repair the effects of pedalling the boat and have us set for a day of travel tomorrow.

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