I am not really a city person, but last Friday morning I took a day off from my guided hikes, and I headed in the direction I usually try to avoid, to the city! And the reason? A tour in Prague, a place I lived in for almost three years. Yes, a local who had the chance to participate in a tour with the Naked Tour Guide.
It all started at Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square). In spite of its magnificent beauty, this is a place locals usually tend to avoid and leave to tourists. Rather expensive restaurants and tacky shops and stands which do not have much common with the Czech-ness a visitor would like to see.
So I was standing there that morning in front of the astronomical clock shortly before 8 a.m., the time when the tour starts. Marcus, the tour guide was already waiting there for his group to show up. He informed the gathered crowd in front of the clock that if they expect to see the astronomical show consisting of moving sculptures, that that show starts at 9.a.m. The loud disappointing sigh followed and the crowd got smaller. Our group gathered and Marcus started the tour with an explanation of the astronomical clock.
Within a few minutes I realized what I was missing by ignoring this jewel of our history for such a long time! The history of it, its precise mechanism with the symbolism involved, such a level of detail, and the fact that this masterpiece has been showing the time for centuries. Really, if you want to appreciate it fully, do not wait there just for the moving sculptures, you might be missing a lot. Like me up till last Friday.
Then we moved through the Royal Way towards the Charles Bridge. Due to the time of the day, it was not so crowded yet. Listening to Marcus about the statues on the bridge, it was like the language and symbolism of past times came to life again.
While making our move from Charles Bridge to the former Jewish ghetto, Marcus made a stop at the tram stop, he really wanted to encourage the visitors to not be afraid of using Prague public transportation.
Next stop was the former Jewish ghetto. By that time I was already aware of our guide’s ability to stop at the least crowded places for giving us an explanation about what he wanted to show to us. That was really appreciated especially in the Jewish quarter when the crowds were getting thicker. And again, it was fascinating to listen to how the poorest Prague quarter became the most luxurious one today.
At the end of our tour, I really liked when Marcus invited us to accompany him to his favorite cafe. That was a true gem for me. I did not know that if you take just a few steps out of the most busiest part of Prague, you can find yourself in the hidden, peaceful world of a monastery garden. It was just a perfect end to the tour when Marcus took plenty of time to give us useful tips about how to get around Prague.
Highly recommend Marcus and the Naked Tour Guide!