To date, I had only ventured into Old Town and west of the Vltava River. One of the lists I had consulted suggested a couple of interesting things to see that were south and east of Old Town. I put together a path to follow and headed out.
First up was a painted nuclear bunker ventilation shaft in Folimanka Park that had been decorated to look like R2-D2. Of course, Star Trek is the superior series, but I’m still a fan of Star Wars and thought it would be fun to see. I made my way to the park (long walk) but the map didn’t lead me directly to the ventilation shaft. In fact, I found a different one first that has been painted to look like a Minion. I was initially worried that they had painted over R2-D2 but kept looking around and finally found the R2-D2 ventilation shaft:
Props to the artists who came up with the idea. Pretty fun.
From there, I headed to another park, Grebovka, to see the Grotta, which is beautiful building that could be so much more. It’s a bit like a rotunda with a fountain in the middle that seems like it housed a bunch of statues at one point (it has alcoves for the statues). But it is publicly accessible and free and, of course, people have abused it. There was graffiti and trash around and it looked like people had not been kind to the building over the years. It could be amazing but it wasn’t to be. This led me to reflect for a bit on what kinds of things can be free and public and what really needs to be gated and require an entrance fee. For something to be publicly accessible and free, it needs to either be strongly protected or basically indestructible given that there are assholes out there who will try to break things just because. If an art installation or monument is not indestructible, gate it and charge a fee or it will get destroyed. (Sorry, realizing something negative about the nature of humans is rarely fun.)
I was genuinely impressed by the intent and created a couple of photospheres here. This first one is on the bottom level by the fountain:
This second one is from the top level:
I meandered through the park then headed toward my next stop, the Olsany Cemetery. It’s the largest cemetery in Prague and was originally created as a place outside the city to bury plague victims. It’s now a nice, wooded area with lots of intriguing headstones, tombs, and monuments. I didn’t realize it at the time, but if you go, note that “Rodina” is the Czech word for “family.” I saw that on a lot of the tombstones and thought it might be a popular first name. Nope. It literally means “family.” So, you might see a tombstone that says “Rodina Pstrossova,” which would mean Pstrossova Family. I like a good cemetery but didn’t stay too long. I walked through the cemetery on my way to my next stop.
My last stop on my very long walk was the Zizkov Tower. A lot of the comments I saw about this said it was an eyesore, but I thought it was intriguing. Plus, it has a viewing platform and a restaurant that overlook the city. I timed my walk so I would arrive just in time for lunch. The restaurant is a bit pricey, but you’re paying for pretty good food and great views. I enjoyed my lunch and the view and think it was worth the price.
My foot was actually hurting a bit after all the walking and I still had 3 kilometers to go to get back to our AirBnB (and a big hike the next day). I took it easy but it did make me think that this route would be better done on a scooter. It’s 10 kilometers, which is quite the distance for someone to walk. I did get to see single family homes and some different parts of the city, but it was a long walk. Here’s my path: