PRAGUE—CASTLE, CLOCK, AND MUCHA
Our Airbnb in Prague was comfortable, with a washing machine but no coffeemaker.  Luckily, less than a block away was a little hole-in-the-wall (literally) coffee counter that sold huge and delicious espressos for about 50 cents each. Yum. We do require coffee to start the day. 









Our rooms were located in Nove Mesto, or New Town, an area founded in 1348 by Charles IV… not really so new by our standards. Right across the street was a park, and there we discovered the first of many public pianos put there for anyone to use. Called Pianos on the Street, the sign explained that there are about 30 pianos on Czech streets just waiting to be played. Loved it!
The first day, we just meandered, oohing and aahing at all the very impressive buildings of Prague. We stopped at a spot right on the river Vitava for a light supper, and I had my first Caipirinha, a Brazilian cocktail I sipped from Prague to Vienna to Budapest. We wandered until dark, just looking, and especially marveling at the sparkling nighttime view across the river to the famous Prague Castle. 









The following morning, we set out for the Mucha Museum. I’ve been an Alfonse Mucha fan for years, particularly of his theater posters featuring Sarah Bernhardt. What I hadn’t realized was what a tremendous influence he was, essentially giving birth to the Art Nouveau movement. He designed money, he designed stamps, he designed stained glass, but he is best known for his prolific output of posters featuring lovely ladies surrounded by flowers. We didn’t make it to the museum housing his magnum opus, The Slav Epic, but the small jewel-like Mucha Museum should not be missed!






Next, Old Town Square to watch the famous Orloj, Prague’s astrological clock featuring not only the position of the sun and moon, but a parade of apostles and Death striking the hour. The clock is surrounded with superstition that ensures that the citizens of Prague will see that it is kept running … until the end of time? The square itself was great fun, with a jazz combo playing lively music and bubbles everywhere. Lots of big bubbles, made by a man waving his magic bubble wand. 
Dinner that night was one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten in a restaurant, at a local spot called Starogesky. It was huge, delicious, and unbelievably inexpensive. Good beer, too!








Prague Castle is what everyone we talked to told us not to miss, so we didn’t. It was a long walk up a hill and it took a long time to get in, largely because of bag checks being performed on all who entered. We thought the cathedral was easily the most spectacular part of the castle. On our way back across the river, we inadvertently but happily found Vojanovy Sady, a garden of vivid flowers and lots of peacocks, including one that seemed to find me fascinating.