St. Charles Bridge, Prague

Day 34, Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Prague TV tower against a beautiful blue sky.  It is 18 above today, and the sun is shining.
This is another of those very long, very fast moving escalators.  We wonder why the metro is so far underground?  A little research reveals that “In the event of an attack on the city, they should close to turn the designated stations into hermetically sealed bunkers. The doors can allegedly withstand a nuclear blast on the surface as well as a “torrential” wave of water. Up to 300,000 people can allegedly take refuge in the system for three days.”  Who knew? Although I can’t imagine being underground with another 299,999 people!  These fellows gave a little preview of an evening performance in one of the many churches in Prague.
St. Charles Bridge is probably on every Prague visitor’s must-see list. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is also home to many Czech artists, musicians and souvenir vendors whose stands line both sides of the bridge. This Medieval bridge, completed in 1402 is now a very crowded pedestrian zone. 
Here is a close up of the entrance to the bridge in the photo above.  Just a few people!  Very crowded but such great people watching, which is one of my favourite pass-times.  The bridge offers a great view of the Prague Castle on the hill.   As well as views of some of the other bridges along the Vltava River.  Touching this statue is said to bring good luck and ensure a return visit to Prague.  There are 30 statues on this 516 metres long and almost 10 metres wide Gothic bridge. The sun was setting as we leave the bridge. On the way home we peek into a Thai massage studio.  I wanted to give this a try but we somehow ran out of time. Prague is famous for its marionettes.  Most of the ones we see are obviously made for tourists and not that great but I find this window display of really beautiful marionettes.  They had really ‘beautiful’ price tags too! There are lots of shops selling wooden products. We see Nemo every time we walk along Wenceslas Square.
The streets are jam-packed with people tonight.  It is St. Wenceslas Day today which is also called Statehood Day and is a holiday. Interesting to see a blacksmith working in the square. These pastries are sold everywhere in Prague. They are call Trdelník (which means a hollowed out log)  and they are made by wrapping  layers and layers of dough on a cylindrical spit. It is then baked on an open fire and dusted with cinnamon sugar and crushed nuts. They look yummy just like that but many shops fill them with ice cream and all sorts of fancy toppings.  Unfortunately they are not gluten free…so none for me. These little sculptures in the store window appealed, but they are too big and heavy to buy so I settle for a picture.

National Technical Museum & Urban Sketchers Meet-Up, Prague

Day 33, Friday,  September 27, 2019

Bob discovered that, as seniors, we are entitled to free transit passes.  We needed a passport photo which cost us $6 Cad each and then another $1.20 for the transit pass card.  We can now ride free in Prague!

The National Technical Museum in Prague is the largest institution dedicated to preserving information and artifacts related to the history of technology in the Czech Republic.  Bob went to see it and I stayed home.  I want to go drawing tonight so decided to have a quiet day.

These are some of the vehicle he saw. The horse drawn fire engine from 1882, a 1921 scooter, a 1906 Śkoda, and a1937 Tatra with three headlights.

This 1905 bike has a bamboo frame and this intricate 1625 lock is about a half metre long!   

This church is beside our #22 tram stop.  I’m surprised at how many flowers are still in bloom.  Our Airbnb is in a great location for accessing Prague’s metro and trams.In the evening, Bob leaves me at Wenscelas Square where I join a Prague Urban Sketcher group. There are about ten of us, and after introductions we head our separate ways to draw for 1 1/4 hours, before we meet up again.  It takes me a bit to get going so I start with what I am familiar with…people.
It started to rain so I found a sidewalk table with an umbrella and drew two of the sculptures on the huge St. Wenscelas Statue at the top of the square.I tried to draw a part of the National History Museum, but wasn’t too successful, the perspective was way off and the dome lop-sided.  People seem easier to draw than buildings, so in the last few minutes before we gather I sketch some of the people walking by on the sidewalk.  Wenscelas Square is an awesome people watching place.
We all gathered to share our drawings and then went out to draw again for the last 45 minutes.  There is a Scottish band playing very loud, raw music, so I decide to try to draw them.  It was a bit dangerous as there were people dancing wildly in front of the stage and I almost got trampled a couple of times.  All the beer drinking probably contributed to that! At the end of their set, the band members ‘mooned’ the audience to great applause and laughter.  There was also a tall, big fellow dressed in a long curly blonde wig and a nightie with a cape!  No idea what that was about…maybe a stag party? While waiting for everyone to gather back for our last ‘show and tell’ I had time to draw these three.  This is only the second Urban Sketcher Meet-Up that I have attended and it was fun.  The other sketchers were very welcoming and there were some fantastic drawings.  I wish I would have taken a few photos of their work.  I just checked and there is a Prague Urban Sketchers Facebook group.  If you check out the Sept. 29 postings you can see some of the other artists work and I just posted mine too.As I was leaving, the National Museum looked beautiful lit up against the night sky. Here is the very, very long, steep escalator I go down to catch the metro home. Do you remember the TV tower from near our very first bnb when we arrived in Prague a month ago?  We are in the same neighbourhood.  It looks quite spectacular at night.  It is only a ten minute walk from the metro to our apartment.