Good Times in Prague

Trip Start Sep 11, 2005
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Trip End Dec 13, 2005


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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Prague- October 11, 2005

Prague was an enchanting city filled with many sight seekers and a great deal of history. We stood and admired the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle from a distance. We felt like little people as we walked through the Old Square and saw the many sights and towering buildings. We grabbed a bite to eat and some delicious ice cream. We hung out on Charles Bridge amidst the crowds and watched the many people enjoying the incredible view.

We wandered along Karlova Street and managed not to be taken by any swindlers, although a few toys and jewels did catch our attention. I wanted to get a garnet in the Czech Republic, but had trouble determining who were the valid jewelers and the scam artists. We don't have a lot of money to play with right now, so I decided that I could live without it. This street eventually lead us to Old Town Square.

This square holds many buildings and interesting people and architecture. It was hard to pull Charlie away from the blacksmiths doing work. He loved to stand and watch them. We ventured around the square enjoying the various memorials, churches, and historical sites. We tried to see the Anatomical Clock, but it was under construction. We peaked under the scaffolding to see the work at hand. It should be opening back up in November for others to enjoy.

Wenceslas Square caught our attention with it's many shops and history which has taken place there. We went to the Communism Museum to try and identify with the struggles this area has gone through. Although it was a lot of reading, I felt like I walked away understanding more about communism as a whole and the culture of the area. It blew my mind to think of the hardships which so many faced and how intentional some of it was. I realized what I bubble I have placed around my own mind, not understanding the world which surrounds me each day.

I did not realize that when I was fifteen, living the life of luxury, many people here were just beginning to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel. In 1989, the Velvet Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall brought about so much change to the gloomy area. The gray skies were allowing the sunshine of freedom to peak through and bring hope. This is no longer a gloomy place, but it is thriving in so many ways.

The communist museum put Wenceslas Square in perspective. When I walked back out to the square I could see the many protests which had occurred and the activist doing anything they could to bring about the much needed change. I could see the government officials and the police standing guard over the people, forcing them to do as they saw fit, regardless of the means. History has been coming alive for me.

The Charles Bridge drew us back to it's sidelines many times in our stay in Prague. It is a delightful view, especially at night when the castle is lit up behind it. We sat and enjoyed the lovely evening ambiance, promising to return as soon as we could.

We were eager to check out the castle which stands so glorious for all to see. The castle is different than it appears from a distance. In reality it seems to be built around the St. Vitus Cathedral. It has a gothic feel, different builders added their personal touches creating a lovely sight. The many magnificent stained glass windows always catch my attention. I can not figure out why we don't have more of these in churches today. Maybe it's a money issue, who knows. All I know is that they are amazing.

St. Vitus did remind us of St. Peter's in Rome. Obviously, it wasn't as huge, but it captured our attention in the same way. It is a centerpiece of the city and holds many important people and historical moments. I hope it holds many spiritual moments as well.

St. Vitus was the highlight of the Prague Castle area for me. The castle was different because we did not see a main residential area like usual. Instead it appeared to be a working castle, built for leadership to meet and make decisions. It reminded me of congressional offices or something of the sort. It was still neat to see and hear of the historical moments which took place here. On the castle grounds was also other church areas, gardens, and small village area. We strolled through them enjoying the beautiful day.

We made it across the Charles Bridge again, and Charlie rubbed the statue of Saint John of Nepomuk. He was a priest who was killed because he would not tell the King the Queen's confession of her sins. He was thrown over the bridge after he was beaten to death. Supposedly when he hit the water five stars rose above his head. You touch him and a wish will come true. Charlie didn't share his wish, we'll keep you posted on the progress.

The Jewish Quarter was also a highlight for us in Prague. We were leary to fork over the cash, but we were glad we did. The museum consisted of several Synagogues many of which had been turned into museums. It also included a cemetery. The museums told the story of the Jewish people in the Czech Republic. It gave their background before WW2 and showed many of their belongings which were brought here before they were taken away to various concentration camps. One synagogue listed the names of the 78,000 Czech Jews who were killed during the war. It was a sobering experience. It lead out to the cemetery which represented the lives of many Jews who lived in the area before the war. That number dramatically decreased. The area is now thriving again, although the many deaths are still remembered and honored through this museum.

We enjoyed our time in Prague. We liked just sitting amidst the many travelers and locals taking in the town as a whole. We too were creating our own opinion of the place and interactions with it. We couldn't afford to stay there a really long time, but the time we did have there was enriching and action packed. Our quick moving feet, or the metro wisped us from sight to sight. We had a blast and are thankful for the experience.
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