Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Welcome to Praha!

Our group arrived back in Vienna on Tuesday morning only to leave the next day for a four day stay in Prague. So that was once again, a little rough for me. I was pretty tired of staying in hostels at this point, but as with every other place I've gone, the accomedations are always well worth what I see and learn.

We had an this really awesome tour guide that took us around the city every morning of our stay there. She was in her mid-30's and grew up in the Czech Republic while it was still under communist rule. It was very surreal to listen to the stories about her childhood. It's hard to imagine that someone so young and relatively close to my age went through some of the things that she did. She couldn't say certain things to certain friends. Her family once tried to go 'on vacation' but the government was suspicious that they would plan to escape, so they ordered that the youngest child would have to be left behind. So the family ended up staying until the fall of the communism. Her life was so interesting! When television was finally allowed not censored, they were actually excited to see commercials. I enjoyed my time with this guide. She really loved Prague and we learned a lot from here.
Our first afternoon there, we had a walking tour of the city. We saw both of the town squares, so that included the old Rathaus, and the old clock tower.
I think one of the most interesting things about Prague is it's Jewish history. The Nazis wanted to build a huge collection or museum of the 'extinct' race. So they gathered tons of Jewish artifacts, for lack of a better word, in Prague. Of course there was a long Jewish history in Prague before the Nazis. The cemetary there is stunning. Jews were only buried in this one cemetary for centuries, and the are buried on top of one another. So now, there are headstones every where in this hilly area. I would have liked to take a picture, but it wasn't allowed.
I think I visited more synagoges in that one day than I have in my whole life.
I also visited the Czech cubism museum. It was a very large museum, but I enjoyed it just the same. My favorite artist there was Otto Gutfreund. His sculptures expressed some emotions that I really related to. Once again, pictures are on Facebook.
We also toured the castle. I got to see some graffito in real life. Graffito is a type of facade that you can put on a building to make it look like it's made of stones or bricks when it's not. I can't tell you how cool it is to be lectured on stuff in class and then be able to see in person the next day.
Prague castle was cool. I learned a bit about the defensterization. That's where the people rebelling against the government through some of the government out of the window, and by window I mean fenster. Get it?
We had a lot of free time to wander around the city. One thing I will really miss about living in a city is the street performers. Fortunately, there were many street performers in Prague. I think my favorites were the old jazz band in the Old Town square. There were a bunch of old Czech men scatting, in English. And I'm fairly certain they didn't know exactly what they were saying. I really also enjoyed the violin couple who played Vivalidi. I'll hopefully be able to post those videos some time when my computer is up and running again.
A few words on Czech food: I love it. It's delicious.
Weeeelll, I supposed that's it for Prague!

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