Unfortunately, our first day of sightseeing in Prague was accompanied by a steady rain. So, I bought myself a Mucha umbrella, since I stubbornly hadn’t brought my poncho.
We focused on the Castle Quarter, which has plenty to see!
- Miniature Museum: to be quite honest, I didn’t really care about this stop, which was a small museum full of even smaller artifacts – tiny miniature sculptures you have to look through a microscope to see.
- Stairs leading down to Little Quarter: the view from this area just to the right of the entrance to Castle Square is breathtaking, looking down on Prague’s red roofs on this misty morning. You could also see the American Embassy in the distance, in case you need to know where it is. The stairs are also a good place for a photo op!
- Changing of the guards: I had a chance to catch the changing of the guards at Castle Square, which occurs everyday at noon. The ceremony was a little too long, drawn out and anti-climactic, although the five-man band (including tuba player) in the windows was a nice touch.
- St. Vitus Cathedral: there was so much stuff inside the church! Statues, sculptures, chapels, tombs (St. John of Nepomuck’s tomb is especially eye-catching), etc. But my favorite part was the Mucha-designed stained-glass window.
- Basilica of St. George: I gotta give it to Rick Steves, he described this basilica best when he wrote that it is beautiful in its simplicity. The limestone structure had such a clean, bright look, and its simplicity seemed perfect for the kind of quiet reflection you’re likely to do in a church. It made such an impression on me, that the basilica may be my favorite part of the Castle Quarter. I didn’t even take a photo, because I really don’t think I could have captured the essence of St. George’s on film.
- Golden Lane: I was very disappointed to see that this allegedly picturesque street is closed for renovation until May of 2011.
- Statue in front of the Toy & Barbie Museum: there’s a small square here, and in the center is a statue of a naked boy. Allegedly, if you touch his penis, you score several years of good sex. However, I haven’t found anything about this statue online, so maybe people just made that “good luck” story up to make tourists touch it! (Ok, I grabbed it, just in case the story is true!)