It pays getting up early in the morning to explore one of Europe’s most magical cities. Even more so if it is a bright Sunday morning and your means of transport are your somewhat worn but trusted running shoes….
Setting off at the impressive fortifications of Vysehrad at the South of Prague, the road is decending gently to the East shore of the Vltava river. A slight downhill slope – I think – always makes a great start to a scenic run, as it gives the body an opportunity to wake up and to adjust to the running routine, especially in the morning.
Vysegrad gives a commanding view over both the river and the surrounding hills
and in the cemetery of the Basilica of St.Peter and St.Paul rest the remains of great Czech composers like Dvorak and Smetana. The latter immortalised the river below with his famous symphonic poem “Vltava” (The Moldau).
The river continues to be busy with nummerous restaurant boats taking visitors from all over the world up and down the stream, enjoying classical music and Bohemian culinary delights while passing underneath its famous bridges.
None more so than the Charles Bridge with its impressive towers and its alley of 30 statutes. Until 1841 it was the only crossing between the Prague Castle and the Old Town and one of the most important bridges connecting Eastern and Western Europe.
With the bridge continuing to be arguably the center of tourism in Prague, it is also a great platform for political statements – something that can be seen in many places in the city at the moment….
Continuing my run along the Eastern shore of the Vltava, I am coming across an instalation that is absolutely no-Czech, however such is the draw of this city that music of all composers and works of artist from all over the world appear to have made it their second home.
Leaving Salvador Dali’s unicorn (admittedly with not much of a horn left…) and the sleeping beauty at its feet behind me, the river is now starting to turn towards the East and at the Stefanikov bridge I decide to leave the Vltava to return to the starting point of my run through the still sleepy Old Town.
The Art Noveau fassade of the Czech National Bank
standing in direct juxtaposition to the 15th century Powder Tower , not only offers another photo opportunity, but it is also a symbol how different architectual styles and periods are coexisting peacefully here in a unique composition.
No question that I am not far from the old Jewish Quarter when I am passing another Golem….
and a few moments later I am running past “ Prague Crossroads” , a Church now converted into an art centre
where Czechia’s famous Poet-President Vaclav Havel is fondly remembered.
Before hitting the 10 km mark , I am coming across the evidence of another “Art Tourist” more frequently seen on these shores
and I can’t supress the feeling that Antony Gormley must have brought his influence to bear here as well……
With a sharpe shooting “Godmother” in hot pursuit…
I am then paying the price for the altitude loss at the beginning of my morning outing, when a sheer endless number of steps right at the end of my run force lactic acid into my thighs and make me crave for a shower and a well deserved breakfast.