Saturday, March 17, 2007

Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock

Before they can ring the bell again, we head out into the streets to get our bearings. It’s chilly and overcast and though our goal is to find Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge, we immediately go the wrong way. Yes, getting lost is a theme here.

Eventually we end up in front of the Municipal Building, a landmark which puts us on the map and allows me to figure out how to get to old town square. The buildings are beautiful here- a mix of art nouveau, medieval towers, and 18th century baroque. As we get closer to Old Town Square, I am stunned at the crowds of tourists here. It’s winter and I can only imagine that summer would be wall-to-wall bodies. It must be insane.

We arrive in Old Town Square just in time to see the hour change on the Astronomical clock. It’s certainly amusing watching the apostles pass by and the skeleton clang his bell, but there is a big crush of people here, all looking up at the clock, so beware pickpockets. The square is enchanting, even with all the tourist trappings. It’s easy to imagine what life would have been like here in the 15th century when the clock was built, or even later when some of the brightly painted mansions which surround the square were built.

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