Yesterday 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.
After the alchemy tour, our class separated to explore the city on our own, mainly to work on our metro stop projects. On my way back from my metro stop, I decided to take a longer route to my apartment by visiting the Charles Bridge. The first time I visited the Charles Bridge, I quickly became overwhelmed by the beautiful views and towering statues. The Charles Bridge is an icon of Prague, which links the two sections of the city in the most interesting way.
The Charles Bridge closed during the recent flooding due to the slowly rising river. Since the bridge has reopened, the whole area is completely covered with tourists. As I have quickly realized, this city is heavily filled with visitors and tourists from all over the world. I had no idea how many people could fit on a single bridge. At one point of my walk, the tourist traffic was stand still with people shoulder to shoulder. I wanted to leave the bridge as quickly as possible until something new caught my eye. Instead of being distracted by the frantic tourists, I took the time to pay attention to the souvenir and caricature stands that are lined up along the sides of the Charles Bridge. Along the bridge you can find almost anything; paintings, jewelry, crafts, fruit, maps, glass, and more. However, the most interesting thing about the stands is the people that work there. Many of them are extremely talented in their artistic skills and it’s mesmerizing to watch the artists work.
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.