Prague/ Praha

Trip Start Dec 18, 2008
Trip End Jan 15, 2009

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Where I stayed
Wenceslas Opera Apartments , Vinohradska 22, Vinohrady

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008
Prague/ Praha

Today dawned bright and sunny - and minus 2! We had high hopes of snow as Michelle had seen that Prague was getting snow overnight - and a high today of 7 degrees.. unfortunately, no snow - it turns out that we should have gone on the BBC World was Prague, Nebraska that got the snow!! Oh dear, how sad, never mind.
Anyway, off we went on our excursion through the dark and smelly and probably dangerous commuter tunnels linking us with Wenceslas Square. Not nice. It seems that everyone in Wein and Praha has a small dog on a lead...apart from the people who have a large dog on a lead. Some of the small dogs have more than a passing resemblance to rats. Wonder if some of the famous Praha sausages feature Chihuahua, poodle or terrier.It has ceased to be cute and is now repulsive. There is also no problem in this part of the world in wearing fur.. which is of course highly practical if also a bit repulsive. At least it looks like the older generations are the furry ones.Went back to the Old Town Square, which compared to yesterday was "empty".. in other words you could move. Purpose of the visit was to see the astronomical clock in the Town Hall.. very cool. Also climbed the tower which gave us 360 deg views of Praha. Perfect day for it, so we were absolutely rapt.
Then we caught a noon boat tour of the canals in and around the Charles Bridge.. and heard some of the recent history -including the 2002/3 floods which almost destroyed the bridge and the recent discovery of a (dead) shark in the Vlatva river. Bizarre. It's quite a way from the sea.Other stories centred around the world's second largest statue of Stalin - blown up in 1962 by Kruschev's order - and 1950s ice-skating on the river. Must have been bloomi' cold.Great views of the castle.
Then an authentic Czech pub lunch a few streets back from the tourist thoroughfares. The group split in 3 with some returning home, the majority going to the Communist Muzeum and Steve, Leigh and the boys heading for St Cyril & St Methodius Church.. why, you might ask? Well, Praha has more churches even than Vienna and it seemed a good idea at the time given it's Sunday. Hold on.. back that up. We're not R.C. let alone Czech Orthodox. No, this church is significant for a different reason.In 1942, a group of Czech parachutists assassinated Reinhold Heydrich, the Reichprotektor of Moravia and Bohemia - and the SS guy responsible for the Final Solution. The Czech soldiers were hidden by the resistance inside this church until they were betrayed by one of the group- and 750 SS troops surrounded them. A gun battle erupted and the surviving parachutists committed suicide rather than surrender. Of course the Czech government in exile knew what would happen next when reprisals occurred. Two villages - Lidice being the most famous were levelled and the inhabitants murdered - 2000 died and 3000 people were sent to concentration camps as a consequence of the assassination. This was the price the Czechs paid to show the Nazis that they weren't welcome!Very courageous act and a very moving place. The bullet holes are very real and the story one of those that Steve had known for 30 years, so yeah. Blown to bits.Then "home" to the apartment - and we found a neat pizza restaurant where the waitress spoke good English, and we got take-out. Nice one.




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