Day 20 - Prague

Trip Start Feb 21, 2010
Trip End Mar 23, 2010

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, March 12, 2010

It's my last day in Prague... I woke up to snow, but even though it was cold, it was nice.

I've noticed in the few days I’ve been here that Prague has really embraced Commercialism. The majority of the popular stores are big US chains and brand name clothing, no real independent stores anymore…(there’s even a Ben & Jerry’s.  My concierge says that Czech’s always complain about having no money, but they tend to find it to go shopping.   I walked around and did a bit of shopping (mostly window shopping) – but interesting thing to note…Prague is very proud of their glass and crystal, it’s in EVERY window for relatively inexpensive and very beautiful. 

Prague also has a "Freedom wall" or also known as “The Lennon Freedom wall” (locally famous turned tourist attraction).  Once a normal wall, since the 1980s it has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs.  A little history:

In 1988, the wall was a source of irritation for the then communist regime of Gustav Husak. Young Czechs would write grievances on the wall and in a report of the time this led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge. The movement these students followed was described ironically as "Lennonism" and Czech authorities described these people variously as alcoholics, mentally deranged, sociopathic, and agents of Western capitalism.  The wall continuously undergoes change and the original portrait of Lennon is long lost under layers of new paint. Even when the wall was repainted by some authorities, on the second day it was again full of poems and flowers. Today, the wall represents a symbol of youth ideals such as love and peace.

I also walked down Charles Bridge to see the entertainers and then back to Prague Castle before leaving town to see the cathedral and it's amazing gargoyles. 

Tomorrow I go to Madrid for a VERY short day, then to Lisbon for 2.
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