We have been blessed with fine days so far in Prague, but this afternoon it changed and some rain has set in.
This morning was fine, and we decided to use the public transport system to venture to the lookout tower on the top of Petrin Hill overlooking the city. We bought a full day ticket from the concierge at the hotel – quite inexpensive (100 crowns each, $8) and this lets us travel for 24 hours. A 75 minute ticket would cost just under $1.
The tower on the top of the hotel looks like a mini Eiffel Tower and can usually be reached by a funicular railway. However the funicular is closed for the next two weeks so the only way up was via Shank’s Pony. It was a steep walk but the view across the river increased with every step. Rather than walk the 260 steps to the top, I paid an extra $2.40 to ride in the elevator. It was very small – cylindrical, and a bit like fitting four people into a 2 1/2 metre high 44 gallon drum. The view across the town was well worth the trip.
Instead of walking back down then steep hill, we took a path that followed a wall that was built in the days of Charles IV. It was built by people who were rewarded with food for their work – one of the early ‘pay for the dole’ schemes.
This path took us past a couple of interesting points of interest and back to the main road that goes out to the airport from where we could catch a tram. The best thing, however, was that near the tram stop was a little cafe where we could buy a toasted sandwich and a cup of mulled wine for lunch.
We planned to catch a couple of trams up the river to see the ‘Dancing House’, a modern office building built represent Fred Astair and Ginger Rodgers dancing. it’s a great example of innovative architecture. some of the contemporary buildings that we have seen here are superb and a credit to local architects. Somehow, they seem to blend into the surrounding style of buildings nicely.
We ran into a problem with the tram as we missed the pronunciation of the stop where we had to change to another line. As we had an all day ticket, We decided to just ride the tram to the end of the line and then visit this building on the way back. The tram wound it’s way through some of the extended suburbs and ended up in a rather sad looking area of buildings that the locals call ‘Socialist Style Accommodation’. We would probably call them uninteresting Soviet Style apartment blocks.
By this time it had begun to rain and the temperature had dropped from about 14 degrees to about 9 degrees so we decided to just head back to our hotel. We took some shelter under the tram stop and waited for the tram to turn around and start again. We were surprised to find that the number for the oncoming tram was on the No 17 Line that would take us straight back to our hotel. The only problem was that when it reached the river, it turned the wrong way and was obviously headed for the terminus at the wring end of the line. We jumped off and waited in the rain for another tram to come in the opposite direction. This didn’t take long, except that we had to get off a few stops early as the tram was being diverted because of some roadworks.
However, all ended well. we saw some unexpected parts of Prague and ventured further than just the main tourist precinct of the old town area. We expect that it will be wet again tomorrow so some more tram rides might be in order.