Prague..."Czech It Out"

Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
Trip End Apr 28, 2008

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Prague- Feb. 28- March 2nd
This last weekend was finally our big, long trip to Prague.  Prague was the #1 place that I wanted to get to visit while I was here, so I' m glad that I got to go there and see everything that I was able to.  We took a bus trip there because we were able to get a good deal for 125 Euro for being one of the first 10 people to sign up.  That included our hostel too which was nice to not have to figure out either.  Even though our trip didn' t cost us the full amount, we paid for it on the bus ride itself.  14 hours each way.  14!!!  I never want to be in a coach bus again.  Amy, Lisa and Katharine (two other roommates), and I left Thursday night and got there Friday morning.  They played some movies, and I was able to sleep on and off enough to be able to walk around all day Friday. 
Friday morning, the people who organized this trip walked us into town so we could get oriented with the city a little bit.  Our hostel was about a half hour walk from the Old Town square which is the main area.  It was cloudy and rainy and very industrial looking, making me feel like I was exactly where I was... Eastern Europe!  We got to the main part of town and split up, got some money, and had some lunch at a typical Czech restaurant.  They don' t use the Euro here, they use Krounes.  It was strange because 2000 Kroune was about 80 Euro, so getting although it wasn' t as much as it seemed like it should be, it was fun to hold a bill that said 2000 on it!
After lunch, we went and walked around just trying to see some things.  We went through the Old Town, St. Charles Bridge, and just walked around the streets.  Later, we went back to get ready to go out for dinner and to a dance club that the group was going to.  We went to a nice dinner at a Czech restaurant.  Then we went the club that was right near St. Charles Bridge.  It was 5 stories, and each level was a different theme.  We bounced back and forth between the different levels and had fun with all the different music.  Every other floor had a bar, too, with different types of drinks, some went with the theme of the level.  Amy and Lisa left before Katharine and I left, but the trams weren' t running then luckily, so we didn' t have to wait in the rain for one, and just got a taxi instead.  I like getting taxi rides because I like getting to go in cars every now and then for a change!
We got up early the next morning, and went to have breakfast.  The hostel included breakfast which was nice to not have to go find something in the morning when we were hungry.  Saturday was a strange morning because we left the hostel and it was sunny.  Then 5 minutes later as we were getting on the tram it started to storm... thunder, lightning, rain... and even sleet/hail!!  It was crazy!  The winds were so fast and strong I left like I was in a tornado and wasn' t sure if the tram was a great place to be at the time, but better than outside!  We were planning on starting a tour of the city at 10, but didn' t make that because of the weather.  We just had some coffee and waited it out for a little bit.  We decided to shop around and have some lunch before starting an afternoon tour. 

We also went and saw an art exhibition while we were waiting.  Amy and I went to one by Mucha, while Katharine and Lisa went to one by Salvador Dali.  I like looking at art, but probably don't appreciate as much as some people, but when I saw the Mucha paintings I feel in love with them.  I didn't want to leave the building because I thought I could stare at them all day long because they are so beautiful!
Our afternoon tour was going to be for 4 hours.  The weather was still extremely windy and cold, but it wasn' t raining, so we couldn' t complain.  The tour was great!  It was the four of us, and a couple other people for only half the time.  We started in Old Town learning all about the Astronomical Clock, the old town hall, and other things there.  Then we walked to the Old Jewish Quarter where the Jewish Ghetto was.  We saw many synagogues, The Jewish Cemetery, and where Franz Kafka was born.  The Jewish Cemetery is the biggest Jewish Cemetery there is.  There are 16 levels of graves there and tomb stones piled on one another.  The Old New Synagogue is one of the most famous ones there.  There is an old legend that there was a Frankenstein monster made in Prague, Golum, and after he was finally killed, his remains were hid in the Old New Synagogue.
After the Old Jewish Quarter, we went through the streets of Old Town.  The streets all lead back to the Old Town Square, but don' t have much of a structured system otherwise like our streets have at home.  After Old Town, we got a half hour break to get some coffee and warm up.
We started the tour again by taking a tram up to the Prague Castle.  The Prague Castle is the biggest castle in the world, and is more like a small city within a city.  It was so beautiful because the architecture in Prague is mostly Gothic style.  Most of the statues and churches are very dark and the gothic style just gives them almost an eerie feel.  At this point the winds were still feeling like a tornado and we were really cold and starting to lose some interest in being outside!  But, Hanna, our guide, was still pushing through and telling us awesome details about everything so she kept us interested.  That was the end of our tour, so we went back down towards Old Town and got some Chinese food for dinner.  We are still craving different flavors being here. 
Saturday we got tickets to see a puppet show.  We saw Mozart's Opera, Don Giovanni.  I felt like I was in The Sound of Music watching a puppet show, but it was really fun.  We couldn't understand it because it was in Italian, but it was still cool to watch.  Between that, and buying the wooden stacker dolls, I feel like I was able to get some cultural experience in.

We slept in a little Sunday, and then we had some breakfast and left around noon for another 14 hour bus ride!  This time it was a little better because it was light out and we could see the scenery.  We drove through Germany and Austria and we were able to see the Alps on the drive.  It was pretty cool.  All the trees there looked a lot like Up North Wisconsin, so that was nice to have a little feeling from home!!
This week we have midterms, so I have plenty of studying to do, but then it' s Spring Break!!  Amy, Scott, and I are going to Seville for 4 days and visiting Amy' s current roommate/my future roommate, and then going to Barcelona for 3 days.  Mitch and his friend Mike are supposed to be meeting us there in Barcelona!  I' m so excited to see them because I' m at the point where I need a familiar face from home!
Hope you are all doing well at home! Ciao!
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