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July 25, 2002

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Today we explored Prague along with the milling hordes of other tourists. Like a plague of locusts, the tourists outnumber the locals in Prague ten to one. It's worse than Disney World and it has all of the soul of an amusement park too. Twelve years ago Communism left and along with it went all of the grey paint. Today each building bears a bright new paint job that covers the city's history and traditional character. Along with the surly Czech waiters who make you feel like an unwanted guest, elbows of fellow tourists jostling you at every turn, and cadres of guides running to and fro with umbrellas raised in the air, it doesn't take long to desire the next tram out of town. Dad almost had his wallet lifted from a clumsy lady who pretended that her hand in his pocket was really a come-on.
The tourist brochures claim Prague is 'undiscovered.' Pure hogwash. Maybe the eskimos haven't heard about Prague, but everyone else comes here for the summer (including the Hari Krishnas that parade down the streets each evening).
The town hall clock (1410) strikes the hour with a parade of apostles, a skeleton ringing a bell, and a crowing cock. If that doesn't catch your attention, you can't miss the throngs that wait to see it happen every hour.
An eagle for an address. Years ago important houses used symbols instead of addresses. Houses were known by the animal statue - a frog, elephant, owl, etc - that hung over the door. Which animal would you choose?
Despite the tacky, touristy onslaught that threatens to overwhelm it, Prague ranks as the prettiest city of Eastern Europe.