One of the things one does as a tourist in Prague — one of those musts, like visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or seeing the Empire State Building in New York — is to make the across-the-Charles-Bridge and up-the-hill hike to the Hrad, the castle that looms over both the city and all its literary representations.
The spires, interestingly enough, that are so visible and recognizable in the many postcard images of the castle, belong not to the castle itself, but to St. Vitus’s Cathedral, contained within the Hrad’s third courtyard. We took a quick spin through the cathedral, which was gorgeously stained-glass lit but impossibly tour-group mobbed, and then wandered outside and around the perimeter of the cathedral.
We meandered past the massive obelisk (modern, and wholly unlabeled) that stands to one side, and were headed further into the courtyard, when I heard music — oom-pah music — emanating from a doorway on our right. The doorway opened onto a staircase (which, as it turns out, is called the Bull Staircase, and which was designed by the same architect responsible for the obelisk), and it was clear that the music was coming from below, so we headed down to investigate.
It was thus that we stumbled upon a public performance of the Castle Guard and Czech Police Orchestra.
This is a concept, I think, that could quite possibly revolutionize law enforcement in the United States. Imagine: The LAPD Orchestra. The NYPD Concert Choir. The FBI Ballroom Dance Team.