Thursday, September 17, 2009

Prague: The Mostly Forgotten City

September 14

Prague was so much more then I ever could have expected or imagined. I had always heard about Prague, but did not know why the city was so talked about. What made Prague such a 'must-see.' After being given an amazing tour of Prague by a lovely tour guide named Steph, I realized the importance and awe that this city is always given. We met our free tour group at a decent hour in the morning, it was slightly raining, and just simply the perfect setting for a walking tour. ( To me, rain is always perfect). We started our tour in a square that seemed surrounded by everything worthwhile. There was so much history that the Czech Republic contributed to and was apart of. Sadly, everything that the Czech's created or did was taken away from them. From political uprisings to landings on the moon, the Czech people have been given very little credit for their efforts. There is so much that I learned, I do not even know where to start...
Everywhere we walked, there was history and reason attached the buildings and the places we stepped. We were led into a Jewish quarter where many Jewish memories were kept and honored. The Jewish community in Prague was where all the Jews were forced to live and only live during the Holocaust time period. There was a small little plot of land where the entire Jewish community was forced to bury their dead. The plot was so small that the Jews were stacked some 10 or 12 bodies high in each grave, the graves were marked by tombstones slanting every which way from each plot.
We saw the astronomical clock which was amazing and confusing. The clock was one of the greatest prize possessions of the Czech people and every day at a certain time there is a little performance done by the clock. Our tour guide said it was one of the most ridiculously pointless performances she had ever seen, but the old Czech people will go every day on the hour to watch it. Oh traditions, how we love them.
We ended our tour right before the Charles Bridge. Our tour guide told us a story about the king and a priest that held the secrets of his wife from him. And how the king pushed him over the bridge and he took the priest took the secrets to his grave with him. It was a lovely little story... I do not remember the details, but ask me sometime and I will try better to remember. The tour was amazing and after it ended we headed over the bridge to see more. The bridge itself was amazing, there were vendors and performers lining the outer edges. There were artists of all kinds. The bridge had scultures on the high walls including one that people believed rubbing it would bring them luck and many babies...
On the other end of the bridge, we found the castle...much much later. The castle was not what I expected. It was more like a small little village then a castle. There was not one large building with towers, but there were walls around with guards in front. I guess that counts :/
Leaving the castle, we headed to see the John Lennon Wall. Melody had told us a little bit about it, but I did not know what to expect. We reached the wall and it was amazing! Everything was covered with different colors. There was so many different fonts and sizes and colors and shapes and drawings and languages. It was a wall covered by so much emotion. People have been writing on the wall for just about 50 years! It started out as a place for people to just express themselves during a time of turmoil, but I guess the turmoil from here on out will never really end. It was just a beautiful display of everyone coming together. I absolutely loved it!
We spent a lot of time at the wall, taking pictures, leaving our own mark, and just simply taking it all in. After we left we headed out to just simply explore the city. We split up for a little bit to do some mild shopping and just wander. We met up after a few hours at TGIFridays for dinner. We also met up with our new Australian friend, Erin and her friend Jay. They ate dinner with us and we had a great time. The waiter was super sweet and very helpful. I ate tomato basil soup which was 95 crowns. It sounds like a ton of money huh?? :) Well in reality its only about 6 bucks. Hehe.
It was sad because this was our last night with Melody and Joel :`-( They were leaving us to head out to Koln to meet their friend. We had a lot of fun on our last night all together though. We hung out on the bed just being goofy and taking pictures. We tried to hide in more cupboards and scare Joel, but he found out and was not suprised. It was a good night. Melody and Joel had to leave at 3 in the morning to get on their train to go to Germany so we let them stay with us. Melody slept in my bed and Joel got his own bed while Christina shared with Chelsea.

Angela and I stayed up late trying to get everything finalized with our final hostel. It took forever because we did not want to spend any more money and London is so expensive so nothing was cheap. We spend so many hours on the iPhone looking for places and then we finally booked a guest house while we were way past the point of being loopy.Tiring. Blah! I love Angela!
It was a long night, but tomorrow it is off to Germany and then home for the semester AKA London!!!

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