Posts Tagged ‘Prague’

Prague–Day 3!

Sunday morning we had plans again to meet with Lucie at 9.  We had her for another 4 hours, and we were eager to see the parts of Prague that we missed on Saturday: Old and New Town and the Jewish Quarters.   

Lauren and Our Guide, Lucie, in Old Town Square

Walking in Old Town

 

Us!

Lauren and Russ

 

Lucie showed us around Old Town Square and taught us about some of the buildings which we had been admiring for the past several days.  The magnificent church that seems to be blockaded by the buildings…..

Church on Old Town Square

Well, the buildings were actually in existence before the church.  The church was built in between the buildings because that is “where there was space.” Parishioners  must go inside the first building to get into the cathedral.  Strange!

We saw Kafka’s birthplace, and the spot where Einstein, Kafka, and famous writer Max Boden used to meet for coffee.  We also saw the concert house where Mozart debuted “Don Giovanni.” 

Kafka

Franz Kafka Statue

Don Giovanni!

We spent the majority of the morning in the Jewish Quarter, inside synagogues, and reflecting on the horrors of the persecution of the Jewish race for thousands of years.  In Prague in the centuries before WWII, Jews were already ousted several times and eventually subjected to living in ghettos.  Despite this, Prague had one of the largest Jewish populations in the world.  One synagogue in the Jewish quarter held a particularly moving display.  The names of each and every Jewish person killed during Hitler’s reign was painted onto the wall, and unfortunately the names filled almost every wall in the synagogue.  The synagogue, along with a visit in the oldest Jewish cemetery, was very moving.  However, we have no pictures from the experience. 

After the Jewish quarter, we made our way over the famous Charles Bridge, named for one of the most important leaders in Prague, Charles IV. The bridge was LOADED with people, but the view was nice.

Gate to Charles Bridge

The View from Charles Bridge

View From Charles Bridge to Castle Town

After seeing Charles Bridge, we had to bid adieu to Lucie.  She really was fantastic–friendly and incredibly knowledgeable!  I can honestly recommend www.praguewalker.com to anyone visiting Prague!!

After leaving Lucie we found a great little place to eat lunch — Pizzeria Giovanni!

Russ and Lauren in front of Pizzeria Giovanni

The best part of our day was when we took the elevator to the top of the Astronomical Clock Tower.  We had a fantastic view over Prague and saw the trumpeter bugling live! Daryl even conquered his fear of heights enough to enjoy looking over the edge of the tower and take some pictures!

Prague

Where we ate dinner the first night!

Daryl and the view from the tower

Lauren on the Tower

Old Town Square

Daryl and the Trumpeter

After descending we stopped at Starbucks for some afternoon coffee/hot chocolate.  We assumed alternate personas since Starbucks loves to write names on your coffee.

Zoolander?

Jacob (Ya-Cub) and Birgita (Beer-gee-ta)

After a rest we had a fantastic French dinner at La Gare, a restaurant near the hotel.  It was a perfect way to end a really fabulous weekend.  Prague is a great city!! Many thanks to Uncle Daryl for a great visit.  Come again!

Cheers!

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Czech Folklore Show

On Saturday evening we got a taste of some traditional Czech cuisine, music, and dance.  The “hall” where the event takes place was a little outside of the main part of Prague, so it was extra nice that the show offers roundtrip transportation to and from your hotel.  Since it was an all-you-can-drink event, and the legal driving BAC limit in the Czech Republic is a smart and seemingly obvious 0.00 %, it was an extra nice incentive!

Russ and Lauren Outside of the Folklore Hall

We were greeted at the door with shots of Honey Wine and servers in traditional Czech costumes.  We walked into a warm-colored space filled with long wooden tables and walls and ceiling adorned with traditional tools, cooking devices, animal furs, and instruments. 

Inside the Folklore Show

The Ceiling

We were led to our table which was reserved with our name…sort of.

Mrs. Lauren.....Barca?

When seated, we toasted our wine with our neighbors, visitors from France, and enjoyed our cozy seats in the lodge. 

Prost!

Soon enough the music began.  The hall was filled with the driving beats of traditional Czech music courtesy of a bassist, violinist, violist, and dulcimer player.  They also doubled as singers!

The Music Corner

Add the Musicians

Our host introduced us to many traditional Czech tunes and also called on the dancers to demonstrate some Czech folk dancing.  As any performer knows, it’s most difficult to get the crowd warmed up in the beginning, espeically when you want them to participate.  We quickly became our hostesses favorite guests because of our willingness to go along with the “shtick.”  Within no time, some familiar faces were taking part in the dances.

Czech Folk Dance

More Dancing

Dinner was also served in the traditional style.  Big pots and bowls were brought to the table, and we dished ourselves the filling homestyle cuisine.  We started with soup and bread and later moved onto the main course.  A large crock of different meats was placed on the table: ham, pork, chicken legs, and others with different types of potatoes lining the bottom.  We also had coleslaw on the side.  The flavors and menu were very reminiscent of  what we enjoy at Grandma and Grandpa McCullough’s house.  Yum!

Soup Time!

The Main Course

After some more singing and dancing and some fantastic dulcimer playing, we were asked to share a folk song from our home country.  We heard songs from France, Portugal, Greece, and of course the US.  Lauren and Daryl fought the urge to belt a tune from Broadway, and instead we sang the classic “Take me Out to the Ball Game” and asked the other few Americans to join in. 

The Folklore Hall

While Lauren was using the restroom, Russ and Daryl played with props from the show including the broom from a specific dance and an instrument made of a pitcher and horse hair, called the farnfnoch, that sounded more like passing gas than anything remotely musical. The pitcher is clay and has stretched hide over the top with horsehair threated through it.  You play it by running wetted fingers along the hair. 

Daryl and the Bachelor's Broom

The "Instrument"

It was a great night, but little did we know that our cultural experience did not end with the show.  We all were slightly uncomfortable with our driver flying down the streets of Prague, passing cars on the left, and texting on his cell phone.  We were more uncomfortable when a police car pulled in front of the van and the “Pull Over” sign lit up.  Uh oh!

3 Americans Sitting in the Van Hoping to avoid Czech's Penal System

Daryl Surreptitiously Takes Pictures by Coughing Over the Shutter Sound while Russ Gives Disapproving Glances

Luckily we arrived home safely that night, relieved and amused.  A night full of new and old Czech traditions!