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Prague, part 2

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Last month, I visited Prague, Czechia, to see if we could assist our colleagues from CSOB in moving their myriad of backup solutions towards one global environment. As many questions remained unanswered (and a bunch more popped up) after the first visit, we realized we needed much more information. So last Tuesday and Wednesday, I had the pleasure of visiting this beautiful city again. The two days were mostly filled up with an exhausting meeting marathon, but I think it was worth the trouble.

This also meant we could spent some time on sightseeing the city. It seems that Prague is one of Europe's best-preserved cities. It's filled with sumptuous Art Nouveau facades, offers tons of cheap Mozart and Vivaldi, and is home of the well-known lager beer in Europe. Prague's focal point is the Old Town Square, a market square since the 11th century. Today the old-time market stalls have been replaced by cafés, touristy horse buggies, and souvenir hawkers, but the square — ringed by pastel buildings — is still beautiful. Facing the square is the towering 14th-century Tyn Church, with its fanciful spires almost a fairy-tale castle. The pointed 250-foot spire rising from the square marks the 14th-century Old Town Hall, famous for its astronomical clock. Join the gang for the striking of the hour on the 15th-century clock featuring revolving disks, celestial symbols, and sweeping hands.

Charles Bridge is a famous historical bridge that crosses the Vltava river, which used to be the most important connection between the Old Town and Prague Castle. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge but has been the "Charles Bridge" since 1870. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, erected around 1700.

Looming atop the hill is Prague Castle, the roost of Czech rulers for over a thousand years. It's huge (by some measures, the biggest castle on earth) and exhausting in its own way, as the many stairs to the top are a hard nut to crack. The persisting tourist is rewarded with a splendid view over the old city (and a cool lager in the pub at the end of the stairs).