Monday, July 18, 2005

first night in Prague

Arrived in Prague late in the evening. Walked down to the river and saw the National theatre (Národní divadlo) which was fabulous. The arcading at the front has little coffered ceilings with trompe l'oeil in them, seemingly all different - blue and gold and buff and pink. Then we walked up Smetanovo nábřeží along the riverside. There were lots of trees and a beautiful view of the castle, all lit up and with St Vitus' Cathedral in the middle. We could see Karlův most (Charles Bridge) ahead with lots of people on it, and the weir in the middle of the river. It all looked magical in the dark. There was a huge mad Gothic fountain with statues too. Then we walked to Karlův most and saw a lovely Baroque domed place and a fab church opposite the end of the bridge. We saw the statue of Charles IV, who caused the bridge to be built to replace the Judita Bridge which was swept away by floods. I loved the asymmetry of the towers at the end of the bridge. (Apparently the shorter one was originally part of the Judita bridge). On the old town end, there were statues of bishops leaning slightly inwards, having a chat or gazing benevolently down on passersby. There were loads of people on the bridge, including musicians and fire-eaters, and homeless people who had gone to sleep with cups held out for small change. The other bridges to the north were also lit up. On the Mala Strana side of the bridge there were two lovely houses, one pink and white, the other blue and white. We turned and walked back through Na Kampě and back through the Kampa. Then we walked back across the most Legií, looking at the Slovanský ostrov (island), past the National theatre and the Laterna magika (which looked, at night, as if it glowed from within) and noticed two lovely Art Nouveau buildings.

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