Red, White, Blue in the Sky. Summer's in the Air

Trip Start Jun 29, 2013
Trip End Jul 28, 2013

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, July 5, 2013

Červenec 2013

Happy Birthday, America!

4th of July obviously isn't very important here in Prague, but the Czech flag is also Red, White and Blue.

On the train last night we were in a compartment with 3 students from the UK and a young couple from Prague.  The train had a long stop at one of the stations on the way to Prague (Vienna I think) and the couple from Prague said something to each other in Czech and then got off the train which was weird because they had told us they were going back to Prague.  I figured they seemed like free spirits and had probably just decided to stay in Vienna or visit friends or something.

A few hours later when we arrived in Prague, the British girl from our compartment discovered that her wallet was missing.  They took her wallet! I couldn't believe it.  Interestingly enough, I had actually been feeling safer from pickpockets here than in Western Europe, but it was still an ugly reminder that you have to be super vigilant about your stuff.

We took a nap in Prague since we didn't get any sleep on the train.  That's another strike against RailEurope.  They told me we would have beds on the train and instead we had a seat in a car with 5 other people.  Kind of crummy.  Just book your reservations when you get to Europe.  That way you at least know what to expect.

After the nap, we took a walking tour of the Jewish district of Prague.  It's one of the most glamorous parts of the city now with stores like Prada, Gucci, and Cartier, but it had obviously a very dark past with centuries of persecution of the Jewish people from the dark ages to the holocaust.  Read the descriptions on some of these pictures for the stories.

We wrapped up the day with a river cruise and a nice Czech dinner with wine. 

 5 Červenec 2013

On our second day in the Czech Republic we took a bus tour and a short walking tour of the castle.  The castle is actually more like a small city and is in fact the largest fortified castle in the world.  

Our guide explained that July 5th is a national holiday in the Czech Republic celebrating Sts. Cyril and Methodius who were responsible for the conversion of the region to Christianity 1150 years ago.  Celebrating the feast days of saints as a national holiday is especially interesting considering that we learned on our bus tour that the country is the most atheist in all of Europe with only about 10% of the population attending any kind of church.  Even so, some of the most beautiful buildings in the city are Catholic and Protestant churches and synagogues.

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