Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Prague Day 4: Swans and She-Devil by Charles Bridge

Swans by Charles Bridge.   The Devil of a View.   Venice of Prague.   Lovelocks go Viral.

  19 ºC

We designed our itinerary down to the hour to save time and disappointment. Sometimes, getting lost a little bit or deviate from the set plan it could be a good idea. Today is a very good example (of course, there were also bad examples).

We planned to start our trip today at Charles Bridge. We took bus service 207 which should be of interests to most tourists who want to visit Prague's Old Town. As you can see from the google map below, the bus skirts around or hugs along the eastern and northern edges of the Old Town, providing convenient access to this area.

Bus service 207, Prague, CzechRepublic
Blue line showing bus route 207 (click to enlarge)

It also runs past or closed to many major hotels in Prague like Intercontinental, President Hotel, and Hilton, etc. It also stops at Florenc and Republic Square metro stations. We stayed in Hilton today, and so it's less than 200 m walk to the nearest bus stop (actually at the Florenc metro station).

Museum of the City of Prague
Our bus stop at the Museum of the City of Prague
The entrance to Florenc metro station is hidden just behind the bus 

24 Hour Transfer Ticket let you use any
public transport (except the taxi).
You can buy it at metro station or some
newspaper stands

With the morning bleary eyes, I read that the bus 207 terminates at Charles Bridge. As it turned out, it terminates at a bus depot across the street from Rudolfinum. The bridge I mistaken for Charles Bridge was in fact Mánesův Bridge. This is the bridge just next to Charles Bridge about 250 m north on Vltava River.

Instead of walking south immediately to get to Charles Bridge after got off the bus, we decided to cross Mánesův Bridge, and then get to Charles Bridge from the opposite side of the riverbank. Besides, I can get a good view of Charles Bridge from here (you can't really see Charles Bridge while you're on it).

Right across from the bus depot where we got off was the Rudolphinum (name after you know who). The statue of Antonín Dvořák stands in a little park in front of Rudolfinum, which is a concert theatre. He was a native of Bohemia, which was a part of Austrian Empire).





Prague google map around Charles Bridge
My destinations (click to enlarge)

  Rudolfinum

Rudofinum, Prague, Czech Republic
Rudolfinum
The statue of Antonín Dvořák, Prague, Czech Republic
The statue of Antonín Dvořák

  Swans Farm

As we walked along the shops along riverbank, I spotted some swans floating on the rivers between Mánesův and Charles Bridges. So we stopped for a somewhat different photo ops. I guess visitors on tours probably wouldn't able to encounter this kind of pleasant surprise.

Manesuv Bridge, Prague, CzechRepublic
Swans by Manesuv Bridge

Charles Bridge with swans, Prague, CzechRepublic
Swans by Charles Bridge

You can see from the 2 photos above that the swans are located somewhere between the 2 bridges (and obviously closer to Manesuv Bridge).

Any time is meal time

Swan farm, Prague, CzechRepublic
If you can read Czech, you know what it says.

  Pissing Fountain

After a brief detour of the riverbank, we continued our walk towards Charles Bridge, and passed Kafka Museum. Outside the museum is a sculpture that attracts adults and children alike (more so with children).

Sculpture outside Kafka Museum, Prague
Pissing Fountain in front of Kafka Museum

This is my interpretation of this fountain. I believe it provides modern TWISTS to the traditional European fountain in 3 ways:

A. Instead of traditional chubby boys pissing into a fountain, to reflect modern day political correctness, the urinators are adults.
B. Instead of marble or stone, it uses metals for the statues.
C. Instead of static statues, their buttocks sections TWIST to produce swirling streams of water.

If I'm not mistaken, the irregular shaped pond/pool is the map of Czech Republic. So who are the 2 giants who pissing all over Czech nation represent? Dunno. Just a stab in the dark, the Nazis and the Soviet? One of them stand at the Eastern Czech border and the other Western border.

This is the video to see the "belly dancing", or territory marking, or typical game boys play in the public toilets.



  Čertovka Restaurant

Staircase leading down to Cerovka Restaurant, Prague
Green light says "go!"

We continued our way towards the Charles Bridge. After a few mins, we saw a very narrow lane between shops with stairs leading down. It has a traffic sign and a picture of a She-Devil. What man can resist the beckoning of a She-Devil? And the traffic light is green, and so I made my way down quickly before the traffic light changed to red.

The lights aren't for decoration. As the staircase is so narrow, there's only one person walking at any given time. This mean one-direction traffic at any one time. When busy, the lights comes in handy.

If I'm Jackie Chan, I would try to get down without touching the staircase (in case you wonder how, by pressing my hands and legs against both sides of the walls. I saw it done in many martial arts flicks. So it must be possible in real life).

At the bottom of the stair was a terrace of a restaurant with the view of Charles Bridge on one side, and a water channel on the other. After the refreshing look at the pissing fountain, I got a little thirsty and hungry (and nature was whispering at me). It was time to sit down to top up food and water. So I yelled at Ada from downstairs to come down for lunch.


Statue of a She-Devil at Certovka Restaurant, Prague
The She-Devil that's the logo of the restaurant. Judging from the tray, I think this big eyes works for tips.
You'll see her when you go to the loo
Statue of Jesus Christ, Certovka Restaurant, Prague
Never fear (of the She-Devil), Jesus is here.
You'll meet him at the bottom of the staircase.


  Čertovka River

The water channel that's beside the restaurant is called, you've guessed it, Čertovka, which means Devil's Channel in Czech language. Hence the restaurant logo of the voluptuous She-Devil.

This channel also takes the name Little Prague Venice. I think you can see how it gets this name from this photo below.


I ordered a beef goulash with dumpling (it turned out to be white toasts). I love goulash, and I ate them whenever I had a chance.

Beef goulash with "dumplings"

It tasted not bad. I give it a score of 7/10. But I was here to feast my eyes on Charles Bridge.

View from the restaurant


Some photos I took while waiting for the goulash. These photos are my entrees. Yummy.

Charles Bridge, Prague Charles Bridge, Prague
Charles Bridge, Prague Charles Bridge, Prague

After lunch, recharged, we finally got to Charles Bridge after the many unexpected, but nice stops.


  Waterwheel

Fences with lovelocks are spreading everywhere. It's located at the bottom of the east bank of Charles Bridge.

This waterway is in fact Čertovka that we saw in the restaurant that flow into the waterwheel and out the other end. This is more picturesque Venice look.

Čertovka underneath Charles Bridge, Prague
Čertovka underneath Charles Bridge

Lovelocks undeneath Charles Bridge, Prague
There's no more fences that are safe from the viral lovelocks. Escape from it is futile.

Waterwheel powered by Čertovka
We climbed the stairs from the east foot of Charles Bridge, and we finally made it. But that's for another article.



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