I needed to change some money for use at the Christmas markets, as most small vendors only take Czech Korunas (Kč) ; a few take Euros and some fewer have touch to pay terminals. There was a bank with an ATM near our hotel, but to get into the small room where the ATM is located, you have to use a debit card with a chip to get entrance, slide it into a chip reader and the door opens. Today’s exchange rate is 1 Kč = 4.23 ¢.
It’s been a few years since we walked over to the Charles Bridge which is about a 20 minute walk, past the old market square and the astronomical clock, through a gauntlet of tourist souvenir shops. You can tell that you’re getting closer by the magnitude of the stream of people coming from the other side of the bridge. The Charles bridge is a pedestrian bridge over the longest river in the Czech Republic, the Vltava.
We visited the castle in 2016. This post describes some other landmarks on the same trip. We noticed some of the restoration being undertaken on the bridge monuments, part of a 20 year restoration project.
This evening, we returned to the old market square, that hosts the largest Christmas market. We visited another very small one this afternoon, but it mostly consisted of stalls selling some small decorative items, more limited food options. But one thing we tried that we’ve never, in all our 40 visits to Europe tried, roasted chestnuts. We found them hard to eat. The roasting cracks the shell, but you have to peel the shell off, usually in a lot of small pieces. And, they’re hot!
The old market square is amazing at night with the lights, smells of food, the (not overwhelming) crowds. We started by going up the old town hall, that towers above the square. It also houses the astronomical clock on one side. Last night I looked up at the tower and saw people at the top; it’s a long way up! But the old town hall has modernized (if you pay for it). They have an elevator! If you choose to walk up, it’s a winding ramp, not steps.
Looking down Pařížská from old town hall
Tomorrow we leave Prague, a city we’ve hardly begun to appreciate, but whose beauty brings us back again and again.
Country count 2
City count 3
Total Christmas markets 4