Its a little chilly in Prague

Trip Start Sep 07, 2004
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Trip End Ongoing


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Saturday, March 5, 2005

On my second visit to Europe and Marty, we decided to visit Prague during my stay. I have long wanted to visit the home of one my favorite artists (Mucha) and Marty wanted the opportunity to see the Rasin Building by Frank Gehry (also called the Fred and Ginger as it looks like its dancing).

So we took our little easy jet and flew into the unknown. Our first taste of eastern Europe. So let me set the stage by saying on the weekend we decided to travel, the temperature was -12 C that is about 8 F and snowy. However, we knew this going into it and decided to just bring extra scarves and long underwear!

Prague was really beautiful, but I do have to say that I was slightly disappointed with how commercial it felt. The old town area was beautiful, but chock full of shops selling kitsch to foreigners. Tourist groups were everywhere and we weren´t even there during the high season! The nightlife was okay, but nothing to get too excited about. I would imagine it is better in the summer, though the hordes of young tourists could make it feel a little more like spring break, than anything else.

We did do a lot of exploring in the town center and outside as well. We became quite proficient with the public transit though it is not as intuitive as Germany´s. One experience while riding the tram really gave me one of those "I am in a foreign land" feeling. We were riding from somewhere on our way back to the hotel and the man sitting across from me pulled out this humongous hunting knife. The kind that is wavy (for gutting animals?) and scary looking. At the same time he pulled out a brand new package of Kleenex, and proceeded to use his foot long hunting knife to open this teeny packet of Kleenex. Of course once he was through he put the knife back in his jacket and proceeded to blow his nose. My Heart was in my throat. I have NEVER seen a weapon of that size on public transit and after living in a city for so many years my first instincts were definitely centered on survival.

Some highlights from the trip:
- The castle was magnificent. Perched on the top of the hill with a humongous church and surrounded by tall walls overlooking the city below. Really breathtaking.
- The Mucha museum, though small, was stuffed with different works of different mediums. The Lithographs were my favorite. http://www.bpib.com/illustrat/mucha.htm
- Pilsner Urquell - The first pilsner ever created was created in Prague. The Pilsner Urquell company also had several restaurants around town with traditional Czech fare on the menu. Delicious and equally good washed down with one of the different varieties of beer only offered at the restaurants.
- The Charles Bridge especially at night. The sculptures were really eerie but beautiful. The bridge is lined with Patron saints and a whole lot of cherubs that Marty and I thought to look more evil than heavenly, but it could have been the lighting...No it wasn´t the lighting because we saw these Cherubs at almost every church and they looked more like they were attacking than loving or lifting or whatever cherubs do...

In all, I am glad I was able to visit a city that has long been in my dreams. I knew would somehow get there, but I had no idea it would be in the snow. It had a magical effect on the whole trip. Almost a cleansing.
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