This was where we parted ways with my sister and her husband but we still had a couple of days to fill before they left. The first day was taken up going to Heroes' Square and seeing the semi circular parade of statues of heroes long past.
Then to completely mix things up we caught a bus to the countryside to visit Monument Park. Paul had a brochure for this place that claimed 'tons of communism' so we wanted to find out how many tons. Tucked away in the outlying areas and not easily accessible is where all the old monuments of communist rule can be found. Included are the boots of Stalin, the only thing left of his statue from the 1956 uprising, as well as a huge statue of a worker (I think) that reminded me of the Hulk. We did not spend a long time here as due to our parents' experience Erika and I were not overly excited by remnants of communist rule, but to the side was a building that was eminently more interesting. Inside were blow by blow histories of the 1956 and 1989 revolutions.
|The sun goes down on Budapest|
Sufficiently relaxed we boarded a train for our next stop, Prague, in the Czech Republic. We got in late but found out that from our hostel there were free tours running in the mornings. We got up early ready for our free walking tour and then followed the tour leader to four other places while he picked up more people.
We started our tour at the Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Hall just as it chimed and went through its complicated series of motions. Our guide explained that it is the only one of its kind in the world, the story goes thus: the inventor became really famous and was being asked to make similar clocks all over the world, so the ruler invited him over for dinner to celebrate but instead of a celebration he was blinded so that he would not create any more. The clock goes through the same steps every hour and a crowd gathers every hour and watches. At the end the crowd claps.
On the walk back we saw many sights including a weird fountain that Elizabeth really liked for some reason, I had trouble getting her to leave... Then we went over Charles Bridge which is an old bridge covered in statues, some of them can bring you good luck! Legend has it that John of Nepomuk was a priest who had taken the queen's confession which the king was rude enough to ask him to reveal. Saint John would not and was thrown off the bridge into the Vltava river. Consequently that translates into it being good luck to rub any statue of him (the logic escapes me, but luck is luck!). It is easy to know where to rub, it is wherever there is a shiny gold area.