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|Prague Castle. Photo credit: Go to Prague|
Thursday, September 1
We visited the Prague Castle, home of the current president and the past Bohemian Kings for several hundred years. It is an amazing complex of buildings, a 16th century church, museum, theatre, and several courtyards of cobblestone.
|Stalwart and unmoved guard at Prague Castle.|
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Each entrance is guarded by a powder blue uniformed soldier with white gloves. They clutch bayonetted rifles, stiff faced, except for the eyes. The president was in residence signified by the blue and red flag flying above the palace.
The castle has a commanding view of the city’s red roofs, several bridges, and a multitude of spires that seemed to puncture the morning mist. We leaned over the castle walls, mesmerized by the scenery below. We spied a British and American flag, wondering if the United States had a consulate office in Prague. Because it is the capitol, we saw many Rolls Royce’s and Mercedes, most likely belonging to important dignitaries.
|The wild environs of Wenceslas Square. Photo credit: Wikipedia|
Anything goes in this city, especially along the wide boulevard of historic Wenceslas Square, the place where demonstrations congregate and site of the Velvet Revolution. Andy and I wandered its colorful, cultural length. Sex shops are located next door to banks; a woman helped her young daughter urinate into a street drain; the poor huddle on the sidewalk with hats cupped upward for handouts; a man picked through trash; bank guards let in only enough customers as there were tellers available, workmen impounded vehicles by clamping a device onto the front tires.
The afternoon was hot so we returned to the campground for relaxation. I hand washed laundry while Andy cleaned his bike and replaced rear brake pads. Afterwards, I did some bike maintenance, wiping the frame and rims, and re-oiling the chain. Neither of us enjoys working on bikes, yet pedaling with a smooth-rolling drivetrain creates a quieter and easier shifting ride. Plus, the bikes will, hopefully, encounter less wear while on an extended trip. While I concentrated on the rear rim a spoke fell loose from the axle. My hopes sagged. Replacing a spoke is not something I feel comfortable doing, nor is truing a wheel. Besides, we weren’t carrying the proper tools. I’d had a spoke replaced not too long ago, in the Netherlands. The tension must be out of whack, only remedied by total replacement or at the very least, rebuilding the wheel with all new spokes. We’ll need to locate a bike shop soon. For now, the Trek is ridable. The wheel isn’t wobbly, or at least not yet.