I hate tour groups

Trip Start Aug 16, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This morning I went to see the Jewish Quarter in Prague. It was very famous because it was a holding area where Jews were contained during WWII, before being sent to concentration camps. I wasn't that interested, though. There was one Synagogue where they had hand-written the names of the 77,000 Czech Jews who died during WWII. That was pretty humbling. And there was a Jewish Cemetery with tons of haphazard tombstones, and it was also very humbling. There were a couple other Synagogues that were basically museums about the Jewish culture. But overall, it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

I next went back to the clock tower in the Old Town Square, so that I could climb up the tower. There was an elevator, but also ramps, so I got my exercise while I could and walked up the ramps. The view from the top was really cool. I think Prague must have more towers to climb than any city in Europe.

My next destination was Prague Castle. I walked all the way there and first went to the Old Royal Apartments, which weren’t very impressive. Then I went to the Basilica of St. George, which also wasn’t very impressive. Next was the Golden Lane, a row of really cute timbered houses. But there were so many other people there that I didn’t stay long. My last stop was St. Vitus Cathedral. It was beautiful on the outside, and only so-so on the inside, except that it had the most beautiful stained glass windows that I’ve seen.

When I left Prague Castle there was a group playing outside the gates that was called the "Prague Castle Orchestra." Rick Steves had actually mentioned them in his guidebook and they were really good. They had a flute, accordion, and cello. They were playing traditional Czech fold songs and I liked them so much that I decided to buy my first souvenir of the trip—I bought their CD.

They actually stopped playing after only a few songs, so I started walking back towards the hostel. But on the way I took a detour to see the Lennon Wall. My Dad had actually told me about it in our Skype session yesterday. It was a wall where people had gone to leave messages for John Lennon after his death. The government tried painting over it for a while, but finally gave up and just let it be. And I thought it was very cool. There were actually several people who wrote something on the wall while I was there.

On my way back over the Charles Bridge I saw the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra again. I stopped to listen to them for quite a while and decided that I liked them enough to buy my second souvenir of the trip—their CD.

When I got back to the hostel I relaxed for a while and worked on organizing pictures. Then I went over to have another beer on the Old Town Square. This was my last night in Prague so I wanted to soak up the atmosphere as much as possible.

When I got back to the hostel I took my laptop to the common room to browse the internet for a while, and there were people being very loud again. They were sitting at a table drinking beer & vodka, and had music playing from a laptop. I went to bed about 11:30 pm and thankfully the people left soon after. I unfortunately had roommates tonight that had left their stuff in the room, but I was asleep before they came back.

So I threw away my cheat sheet of Czech survival phrases, and I’m never going to know the Czech word for goodbye now. But goodbye!

Tomorrow I spend my last day in Prague and then leave on an evening train back to Vienna.
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