The Prague Astronomical Clock

One of the most popular attractions in Prague is the Astronomical Clock or Prague Orioj.  Located in the Old Town Square the crowds flock to see the clock chime at the top of the hour.

Prague Orioj

Dating back to 1410 the clock consists of three parts: the astronomical dial that represents the positions of the sun and the moon, a calendar dial that shows the months and “The Walk of the Apostles” that moves every hour of moving sculptures showing the Apostles and Death who is represented as a skeleton.  It is the oldest working astronomical clock in the world,

There are various legends linked to the clock.  The most famous concerning the clockmaster Jan Růže.  The councillors of Prague were so impressed by the clock that they were worried that Růže would repeat his work elsewhere.  So they ordered that Růže should be blinded.  As an act of revenge Růže broke the clock and as a result it was left because nobody knew how to repair it.

As I said the clock is very popular with visitors especially at the top of the hour when the animated figures on the clock start moving.  Also a trumpeter will play a quick tune to each side of the clock tower.

Is the clock is worth seeing?  I believe it is worth viewing the movement once to say that you have witnessed it.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.


Prague & Bratislava – Day 3, 12/09/2012

After a good breakfast I ready to undertake the free walking tour the hostel offers.  The weather did not look too good and I had not brought a waterproof coat with me.  Another item for the Christmas wish list.  Still rain is only water.  So we set out on the tour.  The guide Javier was really knowledgeable.  He had come over from Spain because there were no jobs for him back home.

The tour took in the historical centre of Prague including the Jewish Quarter but did not cross over to the castle.

Statue of Jan Hus
Graveyard in the Jewish Quarter

As the tour carried on it was clear that the rain was not going to stop.  Only one thing to and that was to purchase an umbrella from the nearest store.  For 500kr it will have to do though I suspect that I would be lucky if it lasts until the end of the day.  During the tour I got talking to a few people and seemed to be getting on well with them.  We saw the Astronomical Clock strike midday.  Javier said it was considered to be overrated.  Like all great sites there were a lot of people waiting to witness the spectacle.

The Astronomical Clock in the rain

Rain I can handle but it was the cold wind that I was struggling with.  I just wanted to go somewhere that was warm.  Javier recommended a traditional restaurant to go and eat.  My pork in fruit sauce and dumplings certainly hit the spot and went down very well along with the glass of beer too.  I noticed that beer is cheaper than soft drinks.  Oh my liver.

Some of the group decided that they were going on the pub crawl in the evening.  My initial reaction was not was not to go saying that I would do it tomorrow instead.  I made my way back to the hostel with an American lady from the tour.  The problem was that neither of us were sure where we were going.  I think it was more by luck than judgment that we found our way back to the hostel.

I spent the rest of the afternoon mulling over the question of attending the pub crawl.  In the end I thought why not, I might as well enjoy myself while in Prague.  Did I enjoy myself?  Well I ended up in the tallest nightclub in Europe and did not arrive back to the hostel until 3:30 am.  Trying to be clever I thought that I would not wake the dorm only to walk into the bunk bed.  Happy days.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.


Photo of the Week – John Lennon

This week’s photo comes from Prague.  It is of John Lennon from the Lennon Wall.

This was one of the most moving sights I witnessed while in Prague and I felt emotional looking at the image.  2012 sees the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles first single ‘Love Me Do’.  John Lennon’s cultural importance was recently recognized when the British music magazine ‘The New Musical Express’ named Lennon as the ultimate icon of the past 60 years.  Need I say anymore.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.


Trip to Prague & Bratislava – Day 2, 11/09/2012

Not too much sleep as the man sitting next to me kept on rolling into my seat.  Also I could not get too comfortable.  A travel pillow is going to be in my Christmas list.  Nothing else of real note happened until my arrival in Prague.

As soon as I got of the coach the warm weather hit me.  This is a sign of it being a good trip.  Once I negotiated the metro I arrived at my hostel, St. Christopher’s at Mosaic House.  Upon checking in at reception there was a scare.  Even though the girl behind the counter commented on how she liked my surname she could not find my booking.  A moment of worry began to creep in my mind.  Eventually it was found and I made my way to my dorm.  I could not believe it.  I thought I had booked into the Ritz by mistake.  This is by far the most luxurious hostel I have booked into.  Check out the photo of the bathroom.

I am certain that I am going to like Prague.  However, I knew that after yesterday that I needed a good sleep so I decided to put my head down for a couple of hours.

I was awoken by the sound of my dorm mate coming into the room.  After introducing ourselves he mentioned that he was from Marseille.  To my surprise the next thing he said totally threw me.  “Joey Barton” for he had just joined Olympique Marseille.  Funny how football brings people together.

Talking of football the hostel was showing various World Cup qualifiers including England v Ukraine.  England were lucky to scrape a draw.  After a summer of sporting excellence it does not take it much for football to bring it back down to earth.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.


Prague & Bratislava – Day 1, 10/09/2012

At my age I would have thought that I could get away with not sleeping because I am too excited to be going away, yet at 4am I was wide awake.  So two hours later I was out of bed.  The majority of the packing had been completed so it was just a case of eating breakfast, drinking a cup of tea, taking a shower and getting dressed.

At 09:30 I was ready for the off, so I waddled with my rucksack towards the bus stop.  Typically the bus was running late.  Is this the shape of things to come?

Arrived at Birmingham coach station and was relieved when the coach left on time.  In London there was the parade to celebrate the success of British Olympians and Paralympians.  Fully deserved it was too.  It has been a great summer for Great Britain, one that will stay in the memory for a long time.  However, I was concerned that I might be caught in traffic once I arrived into London.  In reality I should not have worried as it was one of the smoothest journeys into the capital I had ever completed.  After a bite to eat I checked in to catch my coach to Prague.  Everything was running smoothly until the coach stopped in Dover.  A large gentleman sat next to me.  To make matters worse after we crossed the English channel he decided it would be a good idea to remove his jacket and jumper and relax in his vest.  Oh my, this is going to be a long journey.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.


London 2012 – A few thoughts.

So the summer of sport is finally over. I have to say well done Britain you actually pulled this off. For the seven since we were awarded the games there were plenty of sceptics including myself who thought that we would struggle especially after Beijing.

Oh we of little faith. Not only were the both the Olympics and Paralympic games a success they also succeeded in bringing a nation together but also showed the rest of the world how to organise a event.

I believe the master stroke was to hold the Olympic touch relay around the UK. Everybody else in the country was made to feel part of the games and not to be seen as a wholly London centric event. It also added to the games build up to. We could not wait for the event to start. The opening ceremony was classic Britain at its best in the way it sent us up. It highlighted our sense of humour.

Great Britain was shown to be a sports loving nation while supporting its own athletes it would recognise the efforts of other nations too. Everyone was made to feel welcome and it was appreciated.

Finally I would like to note that the real success of the summer was the regaining of the British flag by the people away from the far right. We have every right to be proud of the achievements this summer has brought us. More importantly I have regained my pride in being British. Once again well done Britain.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.


Photo of the Week – Me and The Thinker

This week’s photo was taken at the Rodin Museum in September 2005.

It shows myself with Rodin’s statue ‘The Thinker’.  It is Rodin’s most famous piece of work.  Like ‘The Kiss’ it is housed at museum which was Rodin’s former home.  It is certainly worth a visit as there are gardens to stroll around too.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.


Packing List.

In less than a week I will be off on my travels again.  This time Prague and Bratislava are calling.  The trip will take two weeks.  It will be unfeasible for me to carry two weeks of clothes with me.  Importantly there will be laundry facilities at the hostels I am staying in.

So here is a list of items I will be packing in my rucksack:-

  • 3 x Cargo pants
  • 1 x Jeans
  • 2 x Short sleeved t-shirts
  • 1 x Long sleeved t-shirt
  • 2 x Polo shirt
  • 1 x Short sleeve shirt
  • 4 x Socks
  • 4 x Underwear
  • Flip flops
  • Sandals
  • Walking Shoes
  • First aid kit
  • iPad
  • iPod Classic
  • Kindle
  • Travel adaptor
  • Notebook
  • Pens
  • iPhone

The only worry is that I may have packed too much.  What do you think?

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.


Photo of the Week – Street Entertainers at Plaza Mayor

This week’s photo is of street entertainers performing in the Plaza Mayor.

I could only marvel at the feat of strength and concentration being shown.  There were plenty of street entertainers on view in the Plaza Mayor.  Some better than others.

Until the next time, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.