Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Exchange Adventures: Prague!

If I had to leave Berlin, I suppose Prague was not a bad place to go next!  I admit, I didn't really know much about the city except that it is very popular with tourists, very beautiful, and somewhere that I needed to go.   It was much smaller than I expected, which made it pretty easy to see everything in two days.

After taking the five hour train from Berlin, Melissa and I walked to the Hotel Mucha and met Min & Demola.  Within minutes Min showed me flyers for a Bolero concert and a Gershwin concert... already such great choices & a great sign for mutual group interests!  Min, Damola, and I took off to see the city and somehow ended up buying tickets to Swan Lake that night to cap off our chosen Bolero concert. Um.... girl trip much?!

We then grabbed some mulled wine in a cafe in Old Town Square and had a great view of the Astronomical Clock.

We then headed to the top of the tower to get 360 degree views of Prague and orient ourselves in the city.




After another wine stop, we were ready for our 5:30pm concert at the Spanish Synagogue.
First - the synagogue was gorgeous.  Hopefully the pictures do it justice.  Second - the music was fantastic! There were 5 musicians playing violin, viola,  cello, and bass and a very talented singer who wowed during renditions of Evita, Carmen, and Hava Negela!  Other songs included Bolero of course, Porgy & Bess, and some classic hebrew songs that took my back to my Temple Shalom days.  I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and was so glad Min found it.
 Next we went to a performance of Swan Lake! It was definitely touristy, but no matter - it was still very beautiful and reminded me how much I love Tchaikovsky and ballet. After five hours of culture, the group decided to end the night at an Irish pub followed by a chilly walk home in the snow.

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We had a pretty good plan for Monday, and got started around 10am after I had probably 5 cups of coffee from the breakfast buffet. (Did I mention I miss unlimited coffee?!)  We walked through town and through a park up to Prague Castle.

 
We explored some churches, including the famous St. Vitus Cathedral, watched the changing of the guard, took in the gorgeous views, and then headed to the Strahov Monastic Brewery for lunch and beer.  This place was fantastic!!! I highly recommend it.  In addition to some delicious beer, we all had beer/onion soup with cheesy bread that was superb.  I think all of us were surprised at how much we enjoyed Czech food here!


After lunch, we headed towards town to the Franz Kafka Museum.  This was one of the odder museums I have been in, but quite fitting because three of us are in Life Philosophy together and recently have been discussing his work. I have always been a fan of Kafka's work, so getting to learn more about him was a highlight.

We headed back over the river via the famous Charles Bridge, and then came to terms with the fact that no one wanted to be outside anymore.  Even though one of the pictures looks like it is sunny and warm out, the sun lasted for maybe three minutes.

With three hours until dinner, Min & I opted to get Thai massages which kept us warm and comfortable.  After my Indian massage experience, I am not very keen on people touching me.  So I got the 8 euro hour long foot massage that was incredible.  (You'd think after foot surgery I would take better care of my feet, right?! But this made me realize that I have been doing myself a disservice by avoiding my feet for two years. Anyway, too much information perhaps?)  For dinner we opted for a very close restaurant, some Staropraman (YAY!), and an early night.

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We split up Tuesday morning as we all had different interests, and I got up early to eat breakfast and then check out the Mucha Museum.

I had seen Mucha's work, but didn't know much about him.  I am so glad I went to this museum as I learned a lot about his life and his art!  I still had three hours after the museum before it was time to leave, so I wandered the city, purposefully getting lost and just assuming I'd find my way back. (This is something I learned from Joe and I admit it is pretty fun!) I was able to see the Jubilee Synagogue, the National Museum, some churches, New Town, and Frank Gehry's "Fred & Ginger" house.

I made it back to the hotel at 1pm in time to catch the cab to the airport. I was ready to get back to Barcelona, meet Jen's Hilary, grab dinner at the always-amazing Cal Pep, sleep in my own room, and get ready for Joe to come back!

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Thoughts on Prague:
1. As I said, this city was so much smaller than I expected.  I feel like one day might have been enough as there wasn't really all that much I wanted to see.  I am sure it is even more lovely in Spring/Summer and I would have been more motivated to stay outside!
2. Czech beer is fabulous!!!
3.  Prague really reminded me of Budapest. I think the major difference is that the buildings in Prague are original, meaning the city was never really damaged physically by wars.  Pretty cool to see so much original stuff!  If pressed, I think I actually liked Budapest more though! Who would have thought?!
4. As much as I don't like to travel with a "check the box" mentality, I think that's the case here. I don't think I'll be back (unless for work or something) but I'm glad I went. 

1 comment:

Rosemarie Entwistle said...

“...this city was so much smaller than I expected.”— The city of Prague may be little, but I can tell that there are lots of things do in this city. One of them is figuring out the mystery behind the Astronomical Clock that has been ticking and pulling the crowds ever since. There are some complicated zodiac figures on the clock's face that according to the folks, contain some occult mysteries.

Always,

==>>Rosemarie @ Equity-Point.com