High times in the high season

Trip Start Jul 2008
Trip End Dec 2008

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Thursday, August 14, 2008

People have teased us about travelling to the right places at the wrong times. Western US in November and December, Ecuador in the rainy season, midwestern US bicycle tour in July. It has just sorta worked out that way. And it has probably contributed to our spontaneous approach, as the off-season prices and availability have allowed us to follow our whims as well as the weather.

But at long last, we were going to be traveling during the RIGHT time. Late summer in Europe: the sidewalk cafes, the warm evenings in the plazas, the festivals, the bountiful countryside.... all this in the company of 6 gazillion other tourists.

We had heard about the high season in Europe, but gave it our typical dose of nonchalance. Wowee, there must be a LOT of other nonchalant people in the world. And what are the chances that we would all congregate in Prague at the same time?!!!

Fortunately, Prague has several large plazas and pedestrian boulevards, and accomodates the throngs reasonably well. Still, it had us thinking longingly of our trip to Paris in mid-November, and probably confirms our status as off-season travelers.

Its all great people watching, though. Yesterday I amused myself by noting what the various tour guides used to lead their respective groups. These included unbrellas (some open, some closed), small flags, stuffed animals, multi-colored punk wigs, and my personal favorite....a white long-stemmed rose.

All of this has led to a mild case of early-onset burn out (the other BO). Yesterday afternoon, we cast a baleful eye and the yellow cobblestone road and sneered "Churches and Palaces and Bridges, SO WHAT." Warning sign...

So today we mixed things up a bit with a visit to the Museum of Communism and then a classical music concert. The small museum presents three views of communism in Czech Republic, from dream to reality to nightmare. It is sobering to think of the dark times this country has seen. Even the young women my age knew communism for nearly half their lives.

After delving into the darker aspects of Czech history, it certainly lightened things up a bit to attend an early evening concert in a 13th century church. The string quartet Musica Praga preformed some favorite classical pieces, ending a bit of regional flair with Dvorak's Salvonic Dance and Brahms' Hungarian Dance. The timeless music was a refreshing reminder that beauty and creativity will survive through the ages.
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