on February 12, 2007
Take the metro to Namesti Republiky and leave by the exit marked “Obechi Dum”. This is important: use ONLY this exit, and look up as you climb the stairs to the street. The street scene that comes into sight is mind blowing - The Municipal House on the left, the Pariz Hotel to the right. Go to your left, to the front door of the Municipal House and enter, go up and down the main stairs, look into the café and the restaurant for some fine Art Nouveau interiors. Exit Municipal house, turn right to the medieval Powder Gate, turn right, and down Celetna - one of the main shopping streets for tourists - to justly famed Old Town Square Walk around the square. I skipped the performance of the astronomical clock to explore the nearby streets. She stayed to watch the clock performance, and said I had the better use of the time. Take a look at the interiors of the Tyn and St Nicholas Churches. We popped into St Nicolas during a reversal for that evenings concert, and stood inside the entrance for awhile enjoying some fine music.Mozart conducted his operas at the Estates Theater, one block down Zelezna, the side street leaving the square across from the side door of the Town Hall tower. There are lots of overpriced restaurant and sidewalk cafés around the square. You pay for the location, but a beer or a coffee at the least is a must.One block to the right of where Celetna enters the square, we walked along Stupartska for one block, turned right for one block for a peek inside the lovely St James Church. Unfortunately, we arrived between noon and 2pm, when the church was closed, providing only a look through the interior doors at the classic Baroque interior. From Old Town Square, maps show three routes to the Charles Bridge. We found four. There is also a busy pedestrian passage through the courtyard of the Clementinum Monastery behind the Church of the Holy Savior.Charles Bridge is one of Prague’s top sights. Walking it both directions is a must. We made the round trip at least once a day, maybe more. By day, the bridge is choked with tourists and artisans hawking their wares, a great place to shop for small art works and jewelry. The towers at both ends of the bridge can be climbed for an elevated view. Then, from the Stare Mesto end of the bridge, start up Karlova and take the next two rights, toward the Smetana Museum, near which, along the banks of the Vlatva (Moldau) there are great views of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. So far, we have covered the heart of Stare Mesto. There remain several nice neighborhoods of Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings, but as tempting as remaining here might be, keep in mind that three more major areas of the city remain to be seen. Best save them for later.
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