Monday, September 21, 2009

Dobry Den (the only thing we could say)

It's true! We finally made it to our dream destination...PRAGUE!! We made all the plans, but I refused to believe that we would actually get there. Even as we waited patiently in Atlanta (which was a nightmare to get to) I still refused to believe. It wasn't until we were buckled in, on our way and they kept translating everything into Czech, that it finally dawned on me.....WE'RE GOING TO PRAGUE. Then it was all nerves from there. We've always gotten by with the language because of my Portuguese, but I knew I had no chance of picking up Czech. Flying over Eastern Europe was beautiful. Green forests with occasional old farmhouses was picturesque. So here we are as we landed.

We were fortunate enough to stay at the Marriott (thanks Adrian!) and it was beautiful. The location was primo, the beds comfy and they even had a shoe buffer!

One of our first places to visit was the Natural History Museum which was the site for Mission Impossible (where Tom Cruise dresses up as the Senator for the party). The scene is filmed on the staircase which was actually really small, but looking at our pictures, it looks big on film and photos. The museum itself was pretty neat. A lot of archeology, geology, animal history, and even a section displaying the labor and delivery tools used in the old days....yeah, made me not want to have babies.

There was a lot of different architecture. Definitely Medieval, Bohemian, and Baroque, this being one of the most famous Baroque churches. I called it the barbie doll church. It looked like a playhouse. The inside is covered in pink imitation marble. It was so glossy and pretty! The bottom left picture is the pulpit and the bottom right pictures is the organ that Mozart played when he lived in Prague.

It was during our first evening walk that I fell in love with this church. It was in Old Town Square where I realized that everything that I had heard about Prague was true: It's a storybook fairytale land. Walking in the streets felt like walking in Robin Hood times AND Disneyland. It didn't look real, it looked like a lot at Universal Studios. For how old the city is, it is soooo well preserved. I can say this is my favorite church EVER. It amazes me that it was built 100 years after the Pisa Cathedral, but it is totally different.

Prazsky Hrad

We spent a day at Prague Castle. It was tiring but fun. They have a changing of the guard, ancient palace (they still use part of the palace for current government), 3 churches, museums, garden, and fun grounds to explore. It is home to St. Vitus Cathedral where the Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept. They weren't on display, neither could we see the door with the 7 locks that it's in because of renovation. I must say it's very beautiful and unique, but it's the most well lit cathedral I have ever been in. It didn't feel dark and closed in like Notre Dame.

This is Golden Lane at the castle. This is where the goldsmiths and other servants would live. They're like midget homes. The ceilings are low and most of them are only 1 room which now house little shops. We did climb to the second floor, it was a long hallway where they housed the ancient types of Medieval armors and spears. And yes, there was even a torcher chamber (bottom right pic).

More amazing architecture. The top left pic is St. Vitus Cathedral, top right is the ancient palace.

The food there was very heavy but good. It was actually a great mix of a lot of cultures. But we had to try the most authentic. Klobasy with Sauerkraut which was really good and filling, but oh so greasy. We also found the apple strudel place that Samantha Brown went to and it IS that big. We did splurge one night and I loved what I got, but Joe ordered chicken and it still had feathers....and he was sick for the rest of the night of course. By our last night, I still hadn't tried the Goulash, but we were tired of the heaviness so we opted for Pizza, and it was just like Italy's.

Part of the charm of Prague were the Bohemian doors EVERYWHERE. Whether is was in a touristy area, or a home, ALL the doors looked like this.

Laska Praha

The Jewish Quarter was probably one of my favorite areas. Not only was it the wealthy area of Prague and architecturally beautiful, but it was our first time experiencing the impact of WW2. The top 2 pics are of the oldest Synagogue of Europe, it is where the Sacred Scrolls of the Torah are kept. Joe had to wear a Yarmulke to enter. I loved experiencing the Jewish Cemetery. The Jews were given only that plot of land to bury the dead from 1400's-1700's. Approximately 100,000 people are buried there. They were buried 12 layers deep thus they had to share the headstones, and not everybody got one. The most moving was the Pinkas Synagogue. They converted it to honor the Czech Jews who died in WW2. All the walls are covered with names of the those who died along with their birth/death dates from floor to ceiling. It was UNREAL. They also had an encased area where there were children's drawings. A woman who was a painter/designer and an art student held classes in Terezin (the transition camp). She felt it would be therapeutic for the children to express their thoughts and feelings in art form and provided this for the children. Everyday they would have a theme of what they were supposed to draw for example, their home, their bedrooms at the camp, the night they were taken from their homes etc. When this woman was taken to Auschwitz, she hid 2 luggage's full of these drawings, and they were later found and displayed. It was heartbreaking to see these drawings and you could tell exactly what they were drawing and how awful it must have been. We couldn't take pictures, but one sticks out in my head vividly. It was all grey and black, there was a building with many chimney stacks emitting "smoke" and there were dead trees all around the building. It was pretty amazing, but awful at the same time.

We climbed Old Town Bridge tower where we were able to capture these photos. You can see the vibrant colors of the city as well as seeing why Prague is known as "The city of 100 spires."

We spent our last night in Old Town Square (our fav) where they have my favorite church, the astronomical clock and much much more. It was hard to say goodbye. It came and went.

That concludes our trip, this was my favorite picture that we took (Prague Castle from across Charles Bridge). The sky really was that blue. Everything about Prague was exactly as I had anticipated. The people were VERY nice and spoke English. The food was unique but good, the sites were beautiful, the history was rich and it is a storybook city. What I also loved about the city was that the souvenirs catered to the storybook theory. There were so many fun things to choose from! We got an orange and black candle that that had a Prague scene carved in it, we got a medieval witch that laughs when you clap your hands and her eyes glow, just to name a few. All in all we fell in love with Prague even more!!!!!!!!