10TH SANTHARIAN ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

PRAGUE ADVENTURES WITH IRID AND ROOKIE



Ever since the first great Santharian gathering of developers in 2005 in Landshut (Germany) Santharians have found ways to find times and places for real life meetings. The first Santhmoot with participants from all over the world was followed a year later by Santhmoot II where a European division got together. Then followed Dutchmoot in 1667, where developers from Belgium and the Netherlands met. And of course there were a bunch of other Santharian encounters, which haven't been documented on site. This time we've got some impressions from the Czech town of Prague for you with the adventures of an elf and a Brownie!

 
Overlooking misty Prague
There it is!

We wanted to write something about how we found Santharia, but then we took all these pretty pictures, so we decided to do something with them instead. PS: If you want to know how we found Santharia, read our respective team pages. ;-)

This weekend Rookie paid a second visit to Irid. The first one had been in Belgium, where we saw the town of Antwerp, did some Belgian folkdancing and then talked until four am, so that we slept too late to see another town on Sunday. So, we thought that a second visit might be good, to get the chatting out of the way. This time we met in Prague. Unfortunately, the plan didn't work... we chatted until three again, so we had to sleep in on Sunday... again... (Expect the results of one of these chats on the boards pretty soon.)

Picture No.1. Overlooking misty Prague, though there's not too much city to be seen on this one. Trust us, we were there. - Picture No.2. There it is!
 

We decided that the first stop should be the Prague Castle, which is one of the sights you HAVE to have seen if you visit the city (together with Charles Bridge, pictures to follow). The weather didn't like us too much, as you can see, so we were a little wet by the time we reached the castle itself. Rookie thought it'd be a good idea to walk, instead of taking the tram.

With the Castle built on a hill, we had a nice view of Prague when we reached the top. It was romantic and... very misty.

Saint George's Basilica

Picture No.3: Saint George's Basilica (Rookie's reaction: Wasn't he supposed to be *England's* patron saint?)

We wanted to visit the cathedral which was built inside the Castle grounds (because it's free), but the queue went halfway around the huge building. Without umbrellas it was not too smart an idea to go stand in it, so we dropped that suggestion and just took a little (wet) tour around the Castle grounds. We actually wanted to take a picture of the queue, but we forgot, so you'll just have to take our word for it.
 

Spot the 5 differences!

The view above is taken behind the cathedral, looking at Saint George's Basilica and something or other to do with Maria Theresa, who is one of Artimidor's favourite rulers.

On our walk we found what is likely to be one of Prague's most expensive souvenir shops... and went in. The jester's actually hanging outside, and Rookie forced instructed Irid to go stand beside it for a picture. In her words: 'It was an unmissable opportunity!' Then she added: 'Look at the hat!'

Picture No.4:  Spot the 5 differences!

This little part of the Castle ground had a roof over it, and there was another tourist taking a picture of the small part of the cathedral that you could see from there, so Rookie thought: “If she can do that, so can I.” So she did. Evidence below.
 

Under a roof

Picture No.5: Hey, I'm not going to stand out in the rain to take a picture if I can just stand under a roof and do it.

The tour went on and we found this little fountain. We wanted to ask a convenient passerby to take a picture of the two of us with it, but as it happened, we had to go out of our way to ask, because there was no convenient tourist nearby. Blame the rain. We did end up finding one, so here's us trying to imitate the elegant stone-like qualities of the fountain and failing miserably, so that we looked like complete tourists.
 

Tourist pose number 24674
Drowned rat... er, I mean, Rookie.

Picture No.6: Tourist pose number 24674, Picture No.7: Drowned rat... er, I mean, Rookie.

The grounds are full of fountains in all kinds of materials, and they're the perfect tourist picture spot. Around the time that we took this one, we decided that outside really was too wet, so we went to buy a ticket to see some of the indoor attractions. Just a note: Rookie could not get over the pinkness of the building in the background.
 

Most successful sneaky picture EVAR!

Inside Saint George's Basilica (see earlier picture), we saw a sign: Do not take pictures. The ceiling was cool though, and Irid seemed to take the sign as a challenge rather than a deterrant. This resulted in sneaky picture number one being taken. In Irid's words: “I'm proud!” Rookie is very impressed by the quality of these and thinks Irid may have missed her calling as a journalist. Irid is pretty sure that she didn't, though. - Picture No.8: Most successful sneaky picture EVAR!

There was also a stone standing in the middle of the Basilica, but seeing as it didn't say who it was for or why it was standing there, we didn't take a picture of it. We did see a picture of the skull of the first Czech saint however, princess Ludmila (who is a woman! Take that!), which was pretty cool. She had her tomb in there.
 

Kafka anywhere?

Next on the program of the small tour (which is really a lot more affordable than the big tour, logically) was the Golden Lane, where the gold smiths used to live. The houses were built in the 16th century. Also a fun fact: Franz Kafka used to live there. Below is a picture of this Golden Lane, together with a lot of umbrellas. Just in case you hadn't noticed yet that it was raining.

Picture No.9: So in one of these houses Kafka lived. Not sure which one though...
 

The blue house

The good thing about the rain: this is about the most deserted view of the Golden Lane that you can get. Do not try this in the summer. The shops were quite small for the amount of people trying to squeeze into them, which was about five at once. Or two with umbrellas. Seeing how the shops were filled to the brim with tourists like that, I do not want to know what it's like when the weather is actually good.

The shops were pretty nice though, and not at all as expensive as one would expect in a street called the Golden Lane, located in THE most touristy place in Prague you can think of. Irid actually bought a new book for just 100 crowns, which is about 4 euros. My apologies to the Americans amongst us but I have no idea what that is in dollars. Try filling in 'converter dollar euro' in Google. Below picture is the shop where this fairytale book was sold.

Picture No.10: Rookie really wanted a picture of Irid in front of the blue house (which we found out today, Sunday, is really the house Kafka lived in). The book came from here.
 

Little cool picture
Mole mug!

Picture No.12: The mole mug! - In one of the small shops Rookie found a mug with a mole on it (and a frog in it). This mole is a pretty well known character from a children's show. As it happens, Rook's mum is obsessed with moles for some obscure reason. Therefore our favourite Brownie could not resist buying this mug as a Christmas present. Irid wanted to take a sneaky picture of Rookie standing in line to pay, but unfortunately was noticed, so here's the posed picture. The sneaky one was too blurred.
 

Sneaky picture number two

Next stop was the Old Royal Palace. In there you could take pictures... if you had bought the licence. Which is really only 50 crowns, but we didn't. And yes, we did take pictures, see above. The stove was nice and warm, which was good because by this time we were pretty much freezing. Not that we like to moan, but...

So this room was pretty good to warm up in. Irid wanted a picture of the stove, so she looked around to see if there was a guard around. She didn't see one, so she took out the camera and took the picture quickly. Then she turned around and saw that there actually *was* one standing about two peds away (Yeah, while writing this we discussed whether to use metres or feet... We decided to compromise).

Picture No.13: Sneaky picture number two...
 

Cool ceiling

This was the hall where they used to have tournaments. It's very big, and it has a pretty ceiling. Here there were, in fact, convenient tourists close by. Or rather, we were the convenient tourists for two people, so when we took their picture, we immediately asked if they could take ours, before they ran away.

Picture No.14: Would you LOOK at that ceiling! It is a very cool ceiling! The guide book says so!
 

Misty Prague

There was this nice little spot with a view, where people were taking pictures. Again Rookie thought, what they can do, I can do better... And did! Well, we don't actually know this, but neither do you! So there! - Okay, moving on now...

Picture No.15: Misty Prague. Pretty cool picture, isn't it?

After our adventures in the Prague Castle, we decided to go out of the centre a while and warm up in a nice little coffeeshop. Irid took a large hot chocolate, Rookie a large coffee. Now, when we say large... we mean LARGE. This was no longer a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate for that matter, they were the same size), it was a bucket. We think there was more than half a litre in there.
 

Misty Prague

Rookie had coffee jitters for about an hour afterwards. They were so bad that she couldn't get her ticket into the machine to validate it, cause she was shaking so much. (Heehee...) On the upside though, we were warmed up head to toe! Picture No.16: In the coffeeshop.

That evening we bought something easy to cook and logically cooked it. Luckily we also ate it. The plan was to then go out to this little folk festival, but when we got off at the right metro station, we didn't really want to wander around there in the dark, looking for it. Or rather, we REALLY didn't want to do that. It was a bit (or very) dodgy-looking, and there weren't enough people around. So instead we decided to put plan C into action... C for cocktails! At least we could feel like we did our best to find this festival, so we could go to the centre with an easy conscience.
 

Oooh... Artistic!

Picture No.17: Oooh... Artistic! (Irid's comment: Look! They're little angels!)

Trust me, the other pictures we took here were just as crappy and mellow! So don't worry, you're not missing anything. Unless you *really* want to see that clock ;-)

The next morning we didn't bother to get up at an 'early' hour, and then we both had to take a shower to wash the smell of smoke from our hair. The Czech Republic is that much of a backward country that they haven't even heard of a smoking ban yet...
 

I can flyyyyyy...

After that we sat down and wrote the first part of our exciting adventures. If you didn't realise it, this is already the second part. Then we headed out to the other must-see attraction. Charles Bridge! We were luckier than yesterday, the sun was shining.

Picture No.18: I can flyyyyyy...
 

Willow lady
"The three-headed dog"

On the way to the bridge, we got sidetracked cause we saw a sign pointing to an antiques market. Before we actually reached the antiques market, we got sidetracked (again) by some sculptures. And guess what? We took pictures!

Picture No.19: Willow lady! (Who apparently got turned into a tree by... her lover...) Picture taken for Noxie especially.

Afbeelding 20: “The three-headed dog”. Who actually just has three eyes, and one head, but that's probably just me.
 

Great view up here!
See? Sun!

When we got back from the market, I suddenly saw this human form sitting on a ledge way above our heads, which kind of distracted me for a minute from the chattering. It turned out to be yet another sculpture...

Picture No.21: Great view up here!

That was the end of our little detour. We then actually got to the bridge. - Picture No.22: See? Sun!
 

View of the Moldau

Picture No.23: View of the Moldau. Or as the Czechs have it, Vltava. No, don't try to pronounce that...

About halfway across the bridge this little jazzy band was playing, originally called... The Bridge Band! They were really old, but really cool! This one guy was playing a washboard with thimbles on his fingers. I'd add the video that I took but I don't actually have a clue how to do that. You'll have to satisfy yourself with the picture.
 

I hope I'm this cool when I'm old

Picture No.24: I hope I'm this cool when I'm old. (You can decide for yourself if that's Irid saying this, or Rookie.)

There was also this other guy with a guitar-playing puppet. Ok, so there was actually a little cd-player from which sounded the music, but meh. Still funny to see (though it would, in fact, have been more impressive if the puppet really was playing the guitar!)
 

Awwww... Can I keep him?

Picture No.25: Awwwww... Can I keep him?

Just after the Bridge, there was a cool lamppost, which you're only going to see about half of in the following picture. You would not believe the discussion we've just had concerning the spelling of lamppost. I, Irid, say it's with two p's, Rookie claims that it's with one. Sadly for her, my keyboard is really strange (because it's Belgian) so she can't actually type on it. So it's written here with two. My apologies to anyone I might have offended. Including Rookie. (Who is actually giggling too much to be offended).

Yeah... Moving on again to the actual picture.
 

Practicing tourist poses
Random house

Picture No.26: Irid's really practicing those tourist poses!

We then wandered around the old centre for a bit, taking pictures a bit randomly here and there but mostly just chatting. Here are some of the pictures we took.

Picture No.27: And here we've got another random house (well, restaurant actually).

Picture No.28: Apart from the bins, this is actually a pretty good photo...
 

Prague and bins
Anyone up for a painting?

Picture No.29: We reckon some Santharian houses should be painted like this one. Anyone up for it?

During the wandering, we stumbled across the Chocolate Museum. We wouldn't be us if we hadn't gone in. Not too many pictures taken in this one, just one that Irid thought was kinda cool. If you look closely, you can see her reflection looming in the glass. At this place we had a Belgian waffle which was only just ok but with Belgian chocolate poured over, so that made it great.
 

Keeping things cooking
Pretty building

Picture No.30: It's meant to keep your pot of hot chocolate, well, hot.

When we got out of the museum with out waffles in hand, it had turned dark out and we decided to go get something more substantial to eat. On our way to the metro, we spotted an Art Deco building that we couldn't resist photographing.

Picture No.31: Ignore the two people in the front. Just look at the pretty building!

And so, on our last night together in Prague, we found ourselves seated in a prehistorically themed restaurant in some basement, which is really nicer than it sounds. The food was good. But lots. (Rookie: I'm still full. This said after about two hours...) But good!
 

So full!


Sorry, but you don't actually get to see the prehistoric decorations in the one good picture we have from this place. You'll get over it. To cheer you up, though, the picture does show the two of us together again.

Ok, so this is our anniversary special. The next Irookie moot is planned for February in Leeds. We're not guaranteeing another photo report for that one though. Sorry! You'll probably see the photos on their own. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we did writing it. - Lots of love from rainy... ehm sunny... errr... Prague! Na shledanou!
 

 Date of last edit 13th Dead Tree 1668 a.S.

Photos and texts by Irid alMenie View Profile  and Rookie Brownbark View Profile