Easter travels, part V: Return to Praha

In my last post, I promised to continue my end-of-semester stories, but upon reflection I decided that I should probably go back and finish telling you about my Easter holiday first and then continue through the semester.  That way the end is at the end, not at the beginning and then mixed throughout like the way some Hollywood screenwriters seem to favour.  I’ve already jumped around enough, so I am going back to being linear.  Confused?  Sorry.  Bear with me and I’ll sort it all out.

Jumping back a few months, I have a bit more to tell you about the beautiful Prague, Czech Republic.  I’ve already posted two blogs about it here and here, but those were both all about my first day in the city.  A few days later, March 21st to be exact, Scott and I returned to Prague to meet up with six friends flying in to spend a long weekend with us in Germany.  The day began quite early in the morning when one of our Herrnhut hosts dropped us off at the bus stop over the Czech border and we caught the bus to Prague.  We arrived in the city quite early so decided to walk around and see a bit more before meeting our friends up the hill at the castle. We consulted our map and agreed upon seeing the giant metronome, so off we went.

I have no idea what this is, but we passed it when we first arrived in the city and spent at least 5 minutes watching it in wonder.

I have no idea what this is–some kind of clock?–but we passed it when we first arrived in the city and spent at least 5 minutes watching it in wonder.

Prague is home to the largest working metronome in the world. This thing is HUGE: it stands 75 feet high! We crossed the Vltava River and climbed over 260 steps to get to Letenská pláň, Letná Park, at the top of a hill overlooking the city.  We were a bit out of breath after climbing so many steps with our bags, and after finishing saying something to Scott I turned to my left and…even though I had no breath to take away, the view stopped me in my tracks. It was incredible!

My camera won't take panoramic pictures, but I took quite a few of the view and tried to piece them together. The bottom left is far left looking out from the metronome, then anti-clockwise moves right across the horizon.

My camera won’t take panoramic pictures, but I took quite a few of the view and tried to piece them together. The bottom left is far left looking out from the metronome, then anti-clockwise moves right across the horizon.

There used to be a huge statue of Stalin where the metronome now stands, and it was eerie to think about walking the streets of Prague knowing that a massive statue of Stalin was watching night and day, flanked by two always-burning torches.  (If you’re interested, here’s a  photo of the old statue.)  I am so glad they chose to replace it with something that brings a smile to my face at least.  The park is also a favourite place of skateboarders from around the world; we saw several while we were up there.  Fun fact: During the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, the park was the site of some important anti-Communist demonstrations, including one protest of about 750,000 people!  But enough writing for now. Here are some more photos:

Here is a collage of photos taken at the top around the metronome. There was tons of interesting graffiti everywhere; the big basin-looking thing in the top middle photo is one of 2 where the eternal fire flanking Stalin used to burn.

Here is a collage of photos taken at the top around the metronome. There was tons of interesting graffiti everywhere; the big basin-looking thing in the top middle photo is one of 2 where the eternal fire flanking Stalin used to burn.

I took this looking up from the base of the metronome: it's massive! And it actually moves; I believe it takes about 8 seconds for it to complete one swing. It has been here since 1991.

I took this looking up from the base of the metronome: it’s massive! And it actually moves; I believe it takes about 8 seconds for it to complete one swing. It has been here since 1991.

After our trip to the metronome, we made our way back to the castle to meet up with our friends. It was so great to see them!  Scott and I showed them most of the sites we had seen a few days previously; it was really great to get to see everything again and share in their excitement.  The group was unfortunately running a bit late, but Scott and I saw the noon changing of the guard. It was a pretty interesting ceremony and we had the best seats–er, viewing place–to watch it.  My favourite part was noticing when certain guards made funny faces or cracked a wee smile.  I caught a few in pictures!

Here's a collage of the numerous photos I took during the ceremony. If you look closely you can see a few guards smiling or making faces!

Here’s a collage of the numerous photos I took during the ceremony. If you look closely you can see a few guards smiling or making faces!

When the ceremony concluded, it was about time to meet up with our six friends so off we went to see them.  It was a typical reunion of hugs and hellos and “how was the trip?”.  We of course showed them around the castle and the Cathedral, which is equally magnificent the second time, and spent quite a while examining the stained glass windows and figuring out which Biblical story was depicted in each section.

hard at work examining the stained glass

hard at work examining the stained glass

overlooking the city from the plaza outside the castle gates--beautiful view and beautiful people! left to right: Nick, James, Christabel, Anna, Hannah, me, Sarah

overlooking the city from the plaza outside the castle gates–beautiful view and beautiful people!
left to right: Nick, James, Christabel, Anna, Hannah, me, Sarah

castle statues

These are the statues flanking the castle gates. Not exactly the friendliest I’ve ever seen…

I seem to have a habit of writing very long blog posts–my apologies!  I just have so many stories and pictures to share with you.  My second day in Prague will have to be split into two posts as well because I likely lost you a few paragraphs ago.  The day’s adventures are not over yet!  To be continued…