Powder Tower (Prasna Brana)

 Big Black Tower…

Built in the 1400’s, the Powder Tower stored gun powder in 1575 during one of the many wars. We walked up to the top, which is no small feat (but would have been easier if you had small feet..). It starts our with a tiny door up a tight stone spiral staircase, going up for about 70-100’, with a rope to hold onto. Then you reach the main floor which was where King Wenceslas kept court.

From there you get a little mobile audio guide, look at things on walls, and then walkup one more spiral staircase (30-50 feet higher). Only one person can fit through at a time, so every so often you have to huddle in little alcoves, where I saw some graffiti from the 1800’s… damn 19th century touristy hooligans!

Once on the second level you can continue up more stairs, about 50’ higher until you get to a wooden platform. From this platform you can look down onto the top of the ceiling you were just under. It’s creepy and not over yet.

You then go up some 2×4 wooden stairs up to the upper attic level, onto a wooden floor that you can See Thru Between The Cracks!! Eek! I’m not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of crashing through very old wood and being impaled on old stone buildings.

On this level some old stone statues are stored. My nerves are fluttery and I looked up and could see into the spires, probably another 100’ up, filled with shadows, cobwebs, and wooden rafters. This is where the Hunchback of Notre Dame would hang out.

I think “This can’t get any cooler, yet freakier.” This is when Justin says “Want to continue?”

“What? Where? “ I ask. He grins really big and says “Outside”

My mouth dropped open and I said something like “You’ve got to be (expletive deleted) kidding!!” He wasn’t. Safety Wires? Bars? Hand Rails? No! But the wall was over waist height, so that helped. Still- it was pretty cool.

And of course, it’s been standing for over 500 years, through storms and wars, so I think this huge stone structure can hold a few more tourists.

Excellent View.
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Churches & Gargoyles

 more gothic than I could ever dream of

Various churches and gargoyles.
Walking into an old church there are signs with pictures symbolizing no eating/drinking and no cameras. We walk in and everyone seems to be taking pictures. Stupid Tourists. Of course, being there to sightsee, I too am a tourist, but I am a *smart* tourist. I learned back at Belvoir (Beaver) Castle in England that pictures are fine, but it’s the flash that hurts the fresco’s, old paintings, and wood. Too much light.
So I felt almost guilt free taking non-flash pictures. I say ‘almost’ because I very quickly stashed my camera when an old deacon came out in his black robes and long silver roped outfit and stood by the door, watching everyone.
Silver mining was huge back in the day, so there are a lot of Miner statues, and figures of Santa Barbara, patron saint of miners.
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Olsany Cemetery

 All the lonely (or dead) people, where do they all come from?

We went to the largest graveyard I could imagine, and apparently we only saw 1/4 of the 116 acres after we had walked at a good pace for an hour and a half.
85,000+ graves and many graves are family plots with up to 6 people per grave. Imagine Central Park in New York but all graves.
We did see some unexpected life in the graveyard: Hedgehog! It didn’t want to play or be social, but it let us take its picture. So cute… I pet it with my gloved finger, cuz they’re prickly.
By the time we got back to the hotel we estimated that we had walked at least 10 miles.
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Doors Of Prague

 Communication is architecture

I’m taking pictures of doors. They are very cool, and way more ornate than average doors have any right to be. It almost frustrates me, because I stop at these cool doors and think “No Fair! Why can’t *WE* have cool doors like this in Portland?!” … and then I realize that these doors are in themselves probably older then Portland. Justin thinks otherwise: he thinks that the doorways are probably older that Portland, but the doors themselves have probably since been replaced. He may be right, but it’s still unfair… stupid doors..
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TV Tower & Jewish Cemeteries

television for the soul

We went to the TV Tower observation deck (with creepy weird child-art things on the side of the tower) and from there we saw the small cemetery next to it. The cemetery at the base of the TV Tower is not the “Old Jewish Cemetery,” but we went to that one too. Over 50,000 people buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery, many on top on one another (thus the stacked headstones), and most of them died in 1942-44.
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Pointless & Too Much Information

you shut your mouth!

*The bathrooms in many of the bars have a peculiar feature: actual keys in the doors to the stalls. I kept thinking Wow! How long till those were stolen if this was america!

*After our first day of walking around, Justin & couldn’t help but notice the blinding pain in various parts of our bodies. For Justin it was the ankles, shins, neck, and shoulders. For me it was the balls of the feet, the calves, and the lower back. Even better was when we realized our ibuprofen was
at least 3 years expired, and to top it off, our room was the 4th floor, and there are no elevators. Absinthe helps in the numbing of pain.

*Justin’s excellent black leather trench-coat was starting to fall apart and is so heavy that it’s hurting his shoulders after wearing it for so may days in a row. So we went to get him a new jacket, and we noticed the weirdest thing: the zipper on separating zippers is on the other side of the jacket. This may not seem like a big deal, but try next time you zip up something: you have become accustomed to holding the zipper with the left hand and zipping up with the right hand. Trying to switch is like trying to tie your shoelaces the other direction. Possible, but really frustrating. He bought a jacket with buttons.

*When you vacation to a place that has different foods than you are used to, your digestive system is a bit confused and sometimes gets really pissed off at you, and it’s not very subtle about it or care about the timing of it all.

* When walking around in very cold weather I have leggings on underneath my jeans. After using the restroom I need to reassemble my layers to go back outside. I am also wearing a fully buttoned and tied leather trench-coat and thick gloves. Should, upon hours of walking and hundreds of stairs, I need to readjust my underwear that has shifted from one place to another, there is no subtle way to do so; not with gloves, thick jacket and 2 layers of pants. One simply needs to decide to ignore it or find a blunt way to solve it.

*The bathroom stalls are very small in some bars. They even smaller when you need to disrobe 15 lbs of outer layers to use the bathroom and you don’t know what to do with said 15 lbs of jackets, hat, and purse. Once I went into a stall ~4’ wide. There was a toilette and a coiled radiator heater in it. The radiator was hot to the touch and had a roll of toilette paper sitting on it, heating up (I moved it). Since the door opened inward to the stall, the first thing I encountered was a hot radiator. So I kinda stepped past it onto the toilette, closed the door and stepped down onto the remaining 1 sq. ft area of floor across from the radiator. Then I shed my outer layers and dropped them at my feet onto the square of floor. Then I tried to undo my pants, turn, & land bare-bummed on the toilette instead of the radiator. I succeeded, thank all gods. Sitting there was, well, toasty: knees and ankles pinned together because there was no room over by Mount Jacket and I wanted to avoid Mr. Radiator. There is the problem, however, of wiping. You cannot do so and keep your ankles and knees pinned together. I kinda shifted sideways, sorta putting my feet on the jacket pile and to door, careful not to knock out the key out of the keyhole. I’m doing this while eyeing the 1/2” gap between my bare upper thigh and the radiator. Then, basically, I had to reverse the entire operation to become clothes and leave the stall.

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