Prague: Wandering to Old Town Square (Staroměstské Náměstí)

I arrived today in Prague (or, as the locals call it, Praha) by train from Vienna (or, as those locals call it, Wien). By the time I checked into my hotel it was almost 4:00 p.m. (or, as the locals call it, 16:00).

I checked the weather forecast. It didn’t call for rain until later in the evening, so I decided to do some aimless wandering.

I stepped out of my hotel, looked up to the sky, and saw a very large, very dark (almost black), very threatening cloud overhead. I decided an umbrella was in order and went back to my room to get one.

Rather than take my own traveling umbrella, I took the wider diameter, non-collapsible hotel umbrella that prominently greeted me when I first entered my hotel room. I wonder if I should take the hotel stocking my room with a big umbrella as a sign. The forecast for my stay is not promising. Does it always rain here? Maybe that’s why Kafka wrote such dark novels.

The Deluge

After I walked a couple of blocks from my hotel, Niagara Falls migrated to the skies over me. Just before then, I took the photo to the right.

Fortunately, there was an exceptionally large canopy over the wide sidewalk in front of a bank branch across the street from me when the air filled with water. Fifty or so people huddled under it when the deluge began. I made it fifty-or-so plus one because the wind picked up making an umbrella, even a large diameter one, pretty well useless.

I waited there until the wind subsided and the rain slowed to just the American Falls, rather than the Horseshoe Falls of Niagara. Then I continued my aimless walk.

I have an older iPhone, which I use as my camera. Why, you may ask, is that relevant? It’s relevant because mine is from before Apple made them water resistant. If I destroy my iPhone I’ll probably have to return home immediately.

I depend on offline GPS maps to get around when traveling. I’m totally useless with paper maps. Back in the days when they were the only option, I used to spend whole days trying to navigate three blocks on vacation. (I’m a guy. I don’t ask for directions.)

All this is a long way of saying, I don’t take pictures with my non-water-resistant iPhone when it’s pouring, particularly if it’s windy. So, don’t expect a lot of shots in this post.

Old Town Square (Staroměstské Náměstí)

After more aimless wandering, the rain stopped just as I stumbled upon Old Town Square (or, as the locals call it, Staroměstské Náměstí). It’s gorgeous. Despite being large, the old buildings surrounding it ooze charm. They should probably have that oozing looked at.

On subsequent days, I’ll probably explore any of the buildings that are open to the public. But not today. Unfortunately, by the time I got to Old Town Square it was time to head back to my hotel and, before dinner, make use of the free welcoming drink coupon my hotel gave me for being a gold-level Club Accor member.

Because, as I mentioned, it stopped raining when I was in the square, I snapped the following photos there. As luck would have it, I passed through Old Town Square on my way back from dinner, so as a bonus, there are also some night shots in the gallery below.

Cosa nostra barber shop

On my way back to my hotel I passed the “cosa nostra barber shop.” (Note: it was the shop’s sign, not me, that lowercased, rather than title-cased, the name and made barbershop two words. Although, to be fair, the “c” may be upper case.)

Fortunately, I was walking on the other side of the street. I feared that if I was on the same side a barber would have come out and said, “I’m cutting your hair.” And if I hesitated he probably would have added something like, “That’s a nice iPhone you’re snapping a picture with. It’d be a shame if anything should happen to it.”

What is the cosa nostra doing running a barbershop in Prague? And why, in Praha, is its sign in English? Then again, if you’re the cosa nostra I guess you can use whatever language you want.

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