Friday, July 22, 2005

Finally!

Begin Countdown to Vacation!

But first, the long promised Prague entry, which will consist of a list of places we visited and why they were so great.

  • The Prague Castle. The Castle is more of a little village, instead of just a castle. For a mere 110 crowns (approx 5 Euro - go Witt ID that qualified me for a "student" discount!), we visited the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Great Tower, the Old Royal Palace, and Golden Lane. This was my favorite part of the whole trip, I think - the Cathedral in particular, because of some magnificent stained glass windows that mesmerized me as Steffi and Elizabeth climbed the Great Tower. One of the windows looked as thought Van Gogh had painted it, but no, it was glass. Amazing. In the cathedral we also got to see the Chapel of St. Wenceslas, which houses the tomb of the great saint as well as the crown jewels. From the Palace Balconies, we heard a wonderful open air concert and had a great view of the city below. And in the Golden Lane - a row of tiny houses built right into the city walls - we saw a really cool museum of armour, chain mail, and medieval clothing, as well as the house where Franz Kafka was born. (It's the bright blue no. 22!)
  • Josefov - the oldest Jewish settlement in Central Europe. When we got to Josefov, we weren't sure we wanted to go in. It was Sunday morning, we were tired, and it was a bit more expensive than we had planned. But we stood outside the gates and watched people go in as we read a bit of history and finally decided to go in. Boy, was I glad we did. We saw four different synagogues, one of which is a memorial to the Czech Jews killed in the Holocaust - the walls are covered in the names, birth- and death-days of each of them. We also headed into the Old Jewish Cemetery. My Let's Go book says, "Between the 14th and 18th centuries, 20,000 graves were laid in 12 layers. The striking clusters of tombstones result from a process in which the older stones rose from underneath." It really is a moving experience just to see the thousands and thousands of gravestones packed into an amazingly small area. It was definitely worth it.
  • Many churches. Of the three St. Nicholas Churches in Prague, we saw both the Hussite and Catholic ones. We also saw the Tyn Church (closed for lunch) and the Church of the Infant Jesus (due to a slight mix-up while looking for the Catholic St. Nick's). Those Czechs really like their religion.
  • Charles Bridge. I'll admit, I was kind of disappointed in the Charles Bridge. Yeah, the view was nice, but I wasn't overwhelmed with emotion because of the beauty, or anything. If you're in Prague (which I recommend) , you should see it, but don't go to Prague just for that. Unless you are really, really into bridges or something, in which case, go for it.
  • Other stuff. Other random things we saw: the same group of college kids at a restaurant that we saw on the tram an hour earlier. Part of an archway in the St. Vitus Cathedral that looked like the Golden Arches. Bottles upon bottles of absinthe - so colorful! A weird curvy building that must be the bane of window washers' existence. Some kid wipe out on his skateboard while he was doing a trick. And some other stuff.
  • Stuff we did not see that I kind of wanted to see, but it's okay that we didn't. The astrological clock. Kafka's grave. The medieval torture museum.
Overall, a wonderful weekend was had. Prague is in my top three cities and I'd love to go back (and visit that museum!) one day. If you ever have the chance to go, I highly -highly- recommend it!

And now, since I've finished all of my work for the day, I'm headed home and shall not return for nine or ten lovely days. Leave me lots of comments or send me emails so I have something to keep me sane when I get back. Have a great week! - Heto.

4 comments:

Abba said...

Add the Mucha museum to your list of next-time-in-Prague destinations. I didn't get any farther than the gift shop, but that was cool, too.

Charlie said...

I was a huge fan of the Charles bridge. Don't know why.

Mike said...

so that's where you've been foreva! well, not Prague, I knew about that. In either case, I hope all is well... say hi to Jen (or I will, whatever). In either case, check out MY blog, which I've finally updated... I think that'll keep ya busy for a little while. Cheers!

Nicole said...

Hope you have a lot of fun! Take care :)