Not From These Parts: Last Stroll through Old Town Square

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SONY DSCYesterday I decided to have one final walk around Old Town Square to get a glimpse of all the festivities laying within the beautiful architecture. I saw the usual: a wedding, a live band, and a handful of street performers. This square will never get old or boring, and I don’t want to leave it behind. I can’t believe time has slipped away this fast from the beginning of the trip. It seems like yesterday I was that crazy tourist, photographed above, posing for pictures in front of the astronomical clock. Now at the end of my trip, it’s hard to look at the tourists the same way when you are starting to not feel like a tourist yourself.

While walking through the square, I saw a group of girls sweating with frustration as they were reading a giant Prague map. It was strange to think that only four weeks ago, that was me. I remember thinking that there is no way I am going to be able to get to know this city. However, just yesterday I remembered I had to take something back to the Pallidium (the Prague Mall), and I quickly hopped on the 24 and rode straight to the mall and then I ran into a market to pick up some snacks before heading to my apartment. This easy task wouldn’t have seen as simple in the beginning of my trip. Now getting around town seems like nothing! It’s exciting to think how far everyone in the class has come from those tourist days. I know I’ll always be considered a tourist while I’m here since I’m not from these parts, however it was fun learning the ways of the Czechs and getting to know the wonderful city of Prague.

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Morning Glory: Havel Market

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In the bright and sunny hours before breakfast, I decided to walk to my metro stop area to take pictures. I did not have a schedule planned, so I decided to take my sweet time while sightseeing. Between Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, I noticed old wooden souvenir shops all lined up down a wide street. Little did I know I was looking at Havel Market, one of the oldest markets in the city, dating back to 1232. It originally only sold produce, but now it mainly sells trinkets and handmade gifts with the words “Praha” all over it. It also sells flowers, paintings, chocolate, crystal, and other items special to Prague. The morning was the perfect time to shop around and snap pictures before the bustle of busy tourists arrived. I soon eyed one shop owner (photographed above) who was making sure his necklaces were all lined up in the way he wanted before the flood of afternoon tourists arrived. His organized and detailed manner made me appreciate the thought and time the shop owners put into their work to please the tourists. It was nice to be able to notice these details without the masses of people usually on the streets. Maybe I should walk around in the morning more often to acknowledge small moments like these.

Oh Happy Day!

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Today was a joyous day here in Prague. The rain finally stopped and the sun even peeked through the clouds for a couple hours. As you may know, the city has been flooding due to continuous down pours of dreary rain. Day after day, the rivers have been rising and the people of Prague are on high alert for danger. Various buildings have flooded, the trams have re-routed, multiple metro stops have closed and nothing seems to be operating normally. As a student, I have even noticed the anxiety in the air. Sounds of sirens and numerous warning emails have bombarded us for the past couple of days. However, today was different. Activities within the city seemed to be returning back to “normal.” In Prague, everyday has something different and unique to offer. “Normal” is having bands stomping, Indian dances forming, wedding bells ringing, and fire breathers spewing. Prague is always busy with activities catered to entertain any photo-snapping tourist that makes its way into the city. Possibly Prague’s host-like atmosphere and entertainment is a reflection of it’s past filled with Kings and Queens and other Royal delights.

As I walked through Old Town Square today, I saw Prague return to it’s ordinary self. I immediately noticed a bride and groom taking wedding photos with tourists suffocating the whole scene. I saw a jazz band playing their hearts out for some extra change along with numerous statue-like men painted in all gold or white. As I left the area, I even spotted people actually laughing on the once depressing tram. Yes, smiles were not uncommon today, because Prague was it’s old unique self again.