Published: July 8th 2009March 21st 2009
We arrived at 7:30 am to our hostel (Hostel Rosemary - I highly, really, recommend it). After discarding our luggage, we headed to the nearest popular area in search of breakfast - Wenceslas Square. We found ourselves some breakfast - well, breakfast for Ahmed included a roasted chicken leg with veggies and taters, and about an hour later he had a street sandwich, a fried chicken cutlet. I was so happy to be in Europe! Egypt is great, but Cairo is oppressive...we follwed our crazy Spy Map of Prague (just hilarious) and after running into some amazing monuments/towers/etc. along the way, we found ourselves in Old Town Square. I loved this big, open space. We did what my brother said we had to do - we watched the Astronomical Clock ring in the hour - I absolutely LOVED how Death rings the bell - a bit gruesome but very cool. While heading back to the hostel, Ahmed discovered the delight of Apple Strudel. This began his addiction to it!
Since we hadn't slept since the night before, we headed back to our hostel for a nap and woke up hungry again, ready for a hot meal - and found Restaurant
Great location - we rented an apartment with a private bathroom.
22 (on Jindrisska St.). The top part is just a pub, but in the basement with a round ceiling was the restaurant part. We would eat here 2 times - great food at a great price. Feeling refreshed, we decided to check out the night scene in Old Town Square. As we approached the Clock from another alley street that we discovered, we both heard Egyptian Arabic (even I recognized it) and looked at each other, puzzled. Then it dawned on me - I looked around and sure enough, I found my CISE senior students on their Gr. 12 trip! I went up to them and received many hugs and handshakes from my favourite kids, and they invited us to join them on the ghostwalk that was just about to start - Ahmed and I said "What else will we do?" and went along. This walk was not as good as the one I had in Edinburgh, but it was entertaining nonetheless. This ended our first day in my new favourite hang-out city.
The next day we headed to the old Jewish Quarter. With me in my black abayya and hijab, needless to say we got ourselves lots of
Me and St. Wenceslas
Taken in St. Wenceslas Square
stares. But I thought, "Good - they can see that most logical-thinking regular Muslims are NOT anti-Semites!" I loved this old area of town. I also loved the easy ticket method here - you bought one ticket for ALL sights (you can also buy for specific individual sites) and the ticket has a map on the back. We went to every site - and they are all worthwhile since they are in fact museums about Jewish life in the past and present, in Prague and Europe in general. I got tears in my eyes at the Pinkas Synagogue - they have written on the walls and ceilings all the names of people who were lost to the Holocaust. I checked for any with the last name Balan (even though we aren't Czech or Jewish) and found none. This place was overwhelming. At the top of the synagogue, there is a small display of children's art from Terezin Camp - very moving as well. The Spanish Synagogue was beautiful and I was especially interested in the historical artefacts here - WWII things. The Old-New Synagogue was a treat, too, first built in 1270 I believe, and it's the oldest still-used synagogue
His usual meat and veggies breakfast
in Europe. There were other sites, too, but these were my favourite.
After another great dinner (eating was a main activity for us), we hit the Charles Bridge at night. The saints statues looked cool yet also creepy at night.
There are more photos below