A Photo Journal: Prague Reaches Polar Temps
Prague in December is officially the coldest place I have ever been to on this earth - and that's saying something considering I've traveled to both Iceland and the Finnish Arctic in the dead of winter.
Not to worry though. We warmed up by soaking in massive oak barrels full of bubbling beer at a formal beer spa! A sentence I never thought I'd say...
But first! Prague is SUCH an architecturally stunning city. Every single building in the old town, even down to the most basic grocery store, is a centuries-old, pastel-colored masterpiece.
You'll see everything from Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque influences which also speak to the political, economical, and cultural hub that Prague once was in central Europe. Honestly, it still is.
One of Prague's most intriguing and perplexing landmarks, is its famous astronomical clock.
I can't even begin to explain all the levels of complexity on this clock, even after reading and researching it myself. Here are a few interesting facts:
The clock was designed more than 200 years before humans realized that the earth rotates around the sun. That's why you'll see the earth in the center of the clock surrounded by orange, black, and blue sections - these stand for the different phases of the day. The orange section represents dusk, for example.
The clock is also split into 12 sections that represent how ancient civilizations used to divide their days by 12. Obviously this is incredibly accurate to modern-day time! These different sections also accurately depict the shorter winter days and longer summer days. Mind. Blown.
You'll also see the 12 different Zodiac signs in the clock's inner ring.
Even after all the allure of celestial bodies and ancient assumptions, the clock is still just a clock. It shows a 24 hour day on its outer ring.
It is thought to have been constructed in 1410, but this is a guess. We do know that it was damaged during World War II and wouldn't resume a functioning state for the city until 1948.
Every hour from 9:00am to 11:00pm, the clock rings as the procession of the Twelve Apostles make their way through the openings at the top.
I did stand there to catch one formal ring of the hour, and I also noticed the skeleton in the upper right corner. For an entire minute, he is the one pulling down on the cord that sounds the bell.
Legend has it that the astronomical clock protects Prague, and the city will suffer if it is ever broken or neglected. If that happens, the skeleton itself will condemn the city until it is fixed. Yikes.
We also obviously came for Prague's renowned Christmas market, and it did not disappoint. I had just about every flavor of crepe over the couple of days we were there without regret.
Don't let our smiles fool you, because this was one of the coldest days of my life. We were constantly laughing though, trying to figure out how we could possibly be this frozen when we hadn't felt this chilled to the bone in the arctic last December.
I had on four layers of wool underneath my arctic-grade jacket, and it all still seemed to do nothing. I read that Prague's high-moisture climate creates a type of damp cold that is unbelievably bitter.
And with the wind chill, we could only tolerate being outside for about an hour at a time before our bodies forced us inside somewhere.
The entire city was a block of ice, and I'm shivering just looking at these pictures again. I feel like I'm being so dramatic, ha, but when it's already single digits out and the windchill plunges it into the negatives... just, yeah...
Enter the BEER SPA.
Those two massive oak barrels were filled to the brim with bubbling beer and hops, jacuzzi-style.
Apparently this is a real thing, and there are real health benefits to soaking in beer.
With a fun twist, we also had beer on tap as we soaked in our personal beer hot tubs.
It was a welcomed break from the bitter cold temps outside, and we ended up soaking in there for almost two hours.
The Beer Spa was easily one of the weirdest things I've ever done, but I'll always remember my time in Prague, Czechia because of it.