Tuesday, October 02, 2012

When in Prague, make a wish!

A tourist makes a heartfelt wish at St. John of Nepomuk's cross, right at the famous Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. Indeed, when in Prague, don't forget to 1.) check out the Charles Bridge; and 2.) make a wish at St. John of Nepomuk's cross.

I've just heard of this when Kate, our guide at the free walking tours of Prague by Sandemans, mentioned this to us. While I made a mental note of the spot that I'm suppose to wish upon, it was difficult looking for it, what with the 30 Baroque statues that line the parapet of the bridge. One way is to look for the one with the plaque underneath, with a portion that has turned gold from millions and millions of hands that have touched it. But then again there are several of these as most visitors don't really know what they are supposed to touch!

But when I found this tourist (pictured above), which followed another tourist that also made a very sincere prayer, it was only then that I was pretty sure, "this is it."

This is the same spot where St. John of Nepomuk, who lived during the reign of Wenceslas IV, was thrown into the River Vlatva for honoring confidentiality and refusing to tell the king the confessions made by the queen. Because of this, St. John of Nepomuk has earned him the title "patron saint of discretion, slander and floods."

Touching the cross, which rests right at the parapet of the bridge, is said to grant one's wish!

The actual statue right after it (if you are bound to the Old Town), has a plaque underneath it, where the faithful is supposed to touch the bas relief of poor St. John being thrown into the water. Legend has it that touching the image of falling St. John will lead one back to Prague. While touching the image of the queen and the dog will bring bad luck!

As you can notice from the picture, there are also love locks at St. John's monument, which is very common in other bridges all throughout Europe. Legend at the Charles Bridge, however, doesn't speak of anything about this. If you want your lovelife to flourish or if you want to wish for longevity of your relationships, better hang a lock at the Pont des Artes in Paris (click the story, "Love-locked in Paris!").

A view of the River Vlatva and Charles Bridge (background) from the Prague Metronome.

 Tip sheet:
- Better to check out the Charles Bridge early in the morning when there aren't much tourists, or at night for a romantic stroll and breath-taking views of the Prague Castle

- Charles Bridge could be a long walk from the Old Town Square. Coming from Staromestska, which is almost in front of the Rudolfinum Concert Hall, trams 17, 16 and 58 can bring you closer to the bridge. Tram tickets cost 32 czk (a little over 1 euro), which is valid for 90 minutes (yes, you can hop to other trams or buses as long as you are still within the 90-minute window). A ticket valid for 30 minutes costs 24 czk (about 1 euro).