Given I had cycled over 1,200 km to get here I thought I best get up and take a look around before I left today . It’s surprising how few people are about at 5 am. What was a mobbed Charles Bridge yesterday was basically empty but for a few stragglers staggering home after a long night out. Or Japanese Brides having their photos taken whilst the streets were empty.
Some photos of this lovely city......
Looking back up to the well known Prague Castle.
Early morning street trams
Pragues “quiet streets” before the hordes of tourists descend upon them.
The Castle from the lesser known “Manes Bridge “
Charles Bridge from the Manes Bridge
Pragues Old Town Astronomical clock
Old town cloisters
Charles Bridge (foreground) and Prague Castle (background)
Views from Charles Bridge of the Old Town
Charles Bridge ..
Charles Bridge part II
Charles Bridge part III
Prague “New Town” Street scene
Just because .....attached to a street wall ...
My driver to the airport, son of the hotel owner, (House of the Big Boot Hotel... I can not recommend it highly enough for visitors) was a veritable fountain of information...
He speaks 6 languages, English-Czech-Bulgarian-Russian- Spanish and Portuguese. He focuses on Portuguese and aside from moonlighting as a taxi driver he also does guided tours of the city in any of the above languages. Visiting Brazilians are his biggest audience. He was 14 when the Czechs revolted and founded their democracy. A transformational time at that stage of his life. To be old enough to have witnessed state control on every aspect of life to suddenly having none. “ A challenging teenager to raise was I” he said.
That was late 1989. Opposite their house is the German Embassy where every day there was a sea of humanity wanting to seek refuge in Germany. As it was a cold autumn and many of these aspiring migrants had children his parents opened the top floor of their house as a refuge for the young and fed them soup whilst their parents waited in the cold to seek their immigration papers. From that hospitality was borne the idea of a hotel. Their first guests were Australian who also suggested a guest book. Today you’ll find the Australian coat of arms at the front of the book. A small world.
According to Thomas (son of hotel owner) the Wikipedia population of Prague is 1.3 million but in reality closer to 1.8 million. How many tourists a year ? Over 7.5 million at last count in 2017 of which 6.6 million were foreigners. Yes, Czechs visit their own capital city too. Ever since a South Korean TV channel made a soap opera based in Prague in the late 1990’s South Koreans have been the largest Asian tourist group. These days Germans , Slovakians, Polish, Russia and USA make up the top 5 most common tourists . China creeping up the ladder to 6th.
90% of tourists only visit the Old Town and area below the Castle. To get a sense of “real “ Prague Thomas suggests taking a tram just 5 stops from the centre.