Obviously, when you go to Prague, you’ve got to visit Prague Castle. It’s up there on the hill, photobombing every picture you take of the skyline. It’s the embodiment of centuries of history. It has six different admission options.

Do I have to?

I figured Prague Castle was just another big, empty castle. Even when Rainer strongly recommended it, I was still hesitant. But perhaps inevitably, early one morning I caught a tram ride up the hill. And perhaps inevitably, I got off one stop too early. It should have been a clue when, on a tram full of tourists, no one else got off. Oh well.

Prague was shrouded in a morning mist.

St. Vitus Cathedral was founded over six hundred- aw , let’s just take a look around.

The castle consists of many separate structures and rooms. Here are a few of them.

Wandering these hallowed halls does impress one with the sweep of history and the pageantry of human existence… and then one crosses paths with a fashion train wreck like this.

Fashion disaster

It’s the little touches that make Prague Castle so memorable. Like the disaffected twentysomething guarding the pay toilets, babbling continuously into her cell phone while we each paid 20 koruna to take a pee.

Just when I was about to give up on the castle experience, I spotted an exhibit ready-made for me: the gargoyles.

I do love a good gargoyle. Especially a ghoulish, how-did-that-creepy-thing-wind-up-on-a-church gargoyle. And this place has got ’em. Turns out the elements have worn away most of the originals, so there’s an ongoing process of making casts and fashioning new versions of old favorites.

Just a few of the stalwarts on active duty outside:

For me, when all was said and done, Prague Castle was pretty much just another big, empty castle.

But I did enjoy the gargoyles.