I really had no idea what to expect from Prague. It just seemed like a popular place to visit, and people told me I would really like it there. It certainly has some very touristy areas, but there are some really wonderful things in those areas.
The Charles Bridge is my favorite bridge in all of Europe. It's lined with sculptures and touristy things. However, the touristy things are actually pretty good quality. Normally at heavy touristy areas, they sell small things like magnets and keychains. The latest trend in tourist trap souvenirs are these little splat balls. But the collection of vendors here felt more like a local art fair. There were los of hand-crafted jewelry, drawings/paintings, and musicians.
There were actually some pretty enjoyable street musicians in Prague. This band was good, and their lead singer sounds just like Louis Armstrong. And this other guy reminds me of Bert from Mary Poppins.
In the center of old town is a square with your typical church looming over it and street performers. It also has something very unique and pretty amazing. There's a huge clock. But it's not just any clock. It's an astronomical clock that keeps track of the position of the sun and moon in the sky, and even the zodiac. Every hour, the figures around it all move around like an old Disney ride (you probably can't see it in the video, but trust me, it's not that big a deal). It was first installed in 1410. My dad has a serious collection of clocks, and I scoured the entire city a for working replica with no success (sorry, dad). Unfortunately, even with technology today, it's just not economically feasible to produce such an item.
For a slightly more exciting video, this is from the 600th anniversary:
I spent my birthday in Prague. I went to a beautiful cathedral with some of my favorite stained glass so far.
For lunch I had a pork steak with some really good horseradish. Apparently in its purest form, it's like "European wasabi" as my waiter called it. It wasn't as strong as the kind you get with oysters or steak, but sweet almost. For dinner, I had McDonald's, but not just any McDonald's. This was the most modern McDonald's I've ever been to. It was decorated like the promenade bar on a cruise ship.
For some reason Prague provided me with the best souvenir shopping. I found so many good gifts here, it's weighing me down. I'm fairly certain I will have to leave a few things behind to fit everything.