Trip Start Mar 31, 2002
17Trip End May 11, 2012
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Here we are in Prague!
This is certainly a beautiful city full of lots of things to do. We have been starting our major city visits with waking tours from the Sandemans tour company. They are free and at the end you give a tip if you were satisfied with the tour. Starting with the walking tour of the city, every corner you turn you find a treasure and 3 hours later we end up at the base of the castle complex
The old city has some significant towers, buildings, theatres, concert halls etc and over seven bridges across the river. The castle and cathederal dominates the skyline in one direction.
Saint Vitus' Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Prague, and is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. Located within Prague Castle it containing the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors, this cathedral is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and is the biggest and most important church in the country.
In the old city is a Jewish Cemetery, for over 300 years it was the only burial ground permitted for Jews. Jews were not allowed to be buried outside the ghetto so because of the lack of space, people had to be buried on top of each other, up to 12 layers deep.
In the same block but in a separate building is the Pinkas Synagogue founded in 1479. This building now is a memorial to all the Jewish Czechoslovak citizens who were imprisoned and murdered by the Nazi's. On the walls are inscribed the names of 80,000 Jews from Prague and the south areas. Above this level is a floor where some of the children's drawings completed while they were imprisoned at Terezin concentration camp are displayed. There were 8,000 children and most of them went to Auschwitz never to return. The drawings show a range of things happening in the camps but all leave you with a sour taste of the outcome for all these children.
The Jewish Quarter in Prague was not destroyed during the war as the Nazis were planning to use the area after the war to show a "Museum of an extinct race". The information here is quite explicit and tells part of the story from the Czech Jews viewpoint. Unfortunately it was very crowded and many tour and school groups were visiting.
The food in Prague is diverse and cheap compared to Australian main course prices. In Cesky Krumlov we were eating a great main course for under $10 Aus. In Prague a little dearer, about $12-15 Aus for salmon with vegetables. We are not so keen on the dumplings that come with most meals but we have tried most local produce and have only eaten at authentic restaurants recommended by the people at our hotel. As a result we may have avoided the tourist trap of over-priced meals.
Andrew and I have walked and walked, most days about 6 hours and as a result have sore legs, calfs, ankles and backs but it is the best way to see the nooks and crannies of the city.
The most spectacular part of the old town is the area around the river where Charles Bridge and the astronomical clock is.
So Andrew and I are off to Berlin, back to Germany for a few days, Geoff and Sue are off to Poland. Our impressions of Prague are mixed, to some of us it seems very culturally diversified and very European and yet at odds with other parts of the country we have seen which seem to be very poor and still with a communist legacy. We all agree that it is very crowded with tourists and school groups now and can not imaging what it would be like in high season.
Hope everyone is well and enjoying the snapshot of our travels
Na Shledanou (see you later)
Andrew and Michele