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February 15th 2007
Published: February 15th 2007
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Guarding the CastleGuarding the CastleGuarding the Castle

Derek stands guard over Prague, high up above the city behind a fortified wall. This was just as the rain pelted down on us. Brrrrr.
As my dad so aptly pointed out, I finally have free access to internet and I haven't used it at all to post updates. I'm not sure why this is, because I can assure you I've been spending ample time online. I guess I've just been enjoying the freedom of random surfing too much to actually buckle down and write a proper entry. Also, I'm not really sure what to say. Prague is quite beautiful and we've been having a good time here, but we haven't really been doing anything that particularly warrents a retelling of, I suppose.

On our first full day here Derek and I stopped in at a bookstore which had a great English language selection at the best prices we've seen yet and I found a book which had guided walking tours of Prague in it. It cost less than $10CAN, which is about the price of a walking tour for one person, so I decided to buy it. Our guidebooks barely told us anything about the sites, and I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to appreciate them unless we had some more background info. So, for the past three days we've just
Prague from above.Prague from above.Prague from above.

It seems like every time we make the effort to climb to a high up viewpoint over a beautiful city, we pick the one day when it's rainy and gloomy. Today was no exception, though the clouds look kind of cool
been going on a walk or two each day. The book doesn't tell us very many interesting facts, most "trivia" is just about architect this and church group that, but it has led us through some interesting areas that we probably wouldn't have wandered into if we hadn't had it, so I'm glad I bought it.

We also have been taking advantage of a really cheap movie theatre here. It's about $5 for a student ticket, and almost all the movies are in English with Czeck subtitles so we have no problem enjoying them. The first one we saw was "Bobby," which was about the assasination of Robert F. Kennedy. Actually, there is a bit of a story here, I suppose. First of all, I'm ashamed to say that I was completely ignorant of this entire chapter of history. I knew about the JFK assasination, of course, but somehow never really knew about his brother. The movie was really great, and it inspired me to learn more about this man. After reading his Wikipedia article, I've decided that he really did have the potential to do amazing things and that it was truly a tragedy that he was stopped
Prague is PrettyPrague is PrettyPrague is Pretty

This is a view from the famous Charles Bridge, which was absolutely swamped with tourists. I had no idea Prague was such a tourist trap. I knew it was a popular destination, but I guess I didn't expect such a high denisty of visitors, particularly in February
before he could become president. Well, by the sounds of the article, he already had done some pretty great things, but he could have done more. Unbeknownst to us, it was particularly fitting that we should see this movie in Prague. The movie was sort of the kind where the lives of a number of different characters are followed, and then at the end of the movie all of their worlds come together in some way (in this case, the speech of RFK at the Ambassador Hotel). One of the subplots involved an international reporter who was trying her hardest to get an interview with Senator Kennedy. It turns out, she was a reporter for a Czech paper. The problem was, the Americans in the movie treated her very poorly and arrogantly because she wrote for a "red" paper and was from a--gasp--communist country. She was pretty good at sticking up for herself, but I felt REALLY akward because the theatre wasn't that full and Derek and I had been loudly talking in English before the film started, and I was certain that everyone in there thought we were American. I wanted to stand up and be like "FYI--We're Canadian
Statue on Charles BridgeStatue on Charles BridgeStatue on Charles Bridge

The bridge was lined with statues, which were nice but no different from the billion other European statues, so I have to admit I took this picture for the cloud backdrop
not American!!" Although I wouldn't be surpised if the same attitudes prevailed in Canada during those days. The movie was great, though. I encourage you to all see it (if it's still in theatres back home).

The next day, after a walking tour, we went to the modest, but informative, museum of communism. It's described as being "above McDonald's, next to the casino" which I thought was pretty funny, but that's where it was all right. I've always felt grossly uneducated about communism--the principles of it, the history of it, the reprocussions of it--and the museum helped somewhat. I even bought a book so I can continue my studies. I really am learning a lot on this leg of my trip, which is great. It's all about things I feel I should no about, but somehow never quite picked up the knowledge. That's why I wish I had free internet more often. During the day I amass a huge list of questions I want answered, but I have no way of finding the answers when I'm cut off from the precious world of online info. I plan to start carrying around a notepad so I can remember to write
An Old Mill WaterwheelAn Old Mill WaterwheelAn Old Mill Waterwheel

Last year at school I took a course from a family friend, Patrick VonArdekas, called Plants and People. It's kind of a random course where Patrick just talks about whatever he wants to and loosely ties it together with a plant theme, but it taught me SO much for this trip and I didn't even realize it. For example, it taught me about the importance of the water-powered mills in early European society, and you can still see the influence of that today (plant connection? Mill=grain=wheat=plant). He also taught us about trick fountains, still life paintings, and many other things that we've come across so far
down these subjects I want to learn more about later. For example, I've been trying to remember which set of laws Johannes Kepler was famous for ever since we got to Prague (where he lived). It's been driving me crazy. I thought it was something to do with thermodynamics, but then we found out he was an astronomer and I was pretty sure that he was the one who came up with the three laws of planetary motion. Turns out the latter was correct, but it was Derek who actually looked it up in the end.

Today we did a walking tour of the castle area, but it was reallly cold and windy today and then it started to pour, so around 3pm we fled to the warm sanctuary of the movie theatre again. We watched "The Last Kind of Scotland" which was about a harsh regime in Uganda and a young Scottish doctor who got mixed up in it all. Really intense, but still very good. That reminds me, I wanted to look up some more info on that subject.... I'll do that in a second. We never know about the movies we're going to see because the
Random SquareRandom SquareRandom Square

Just a shot of a typical prague square. Beautiful buildings with tram lines running through them.
writeups are in Czeck, but we're just happy to be watching a movie of any kind. We really wanted to see Dream Girls because we saw the festivities of its premier in London and it's been incredibly promoted everywhere we've been in Europe, but it doesn't open in Prague for another few weeks. I saw the preview today, though, it and it actually doesn't look very special to me at all....

Tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for all week..... HOCKEY DAY!!! We're going to see the Prague Spartans, arguably the best team in the Czech Republic, play. This is a league were future NHL stars play, so it should be really good. It will be the highest level of live hockey I've ever watched, and it should be exciting because I hear Czech fans can get pretty intense. Yea! Now to get tickets in a complete non-English environment...

Well, that's about it up till now, I guess. Food is really cheap here and there's a HUGE grocery store a kilometer from our place, so we've been eating pretty well. We're going to majorly stock up on groceries before we move on. We had planned to go to Berlin, but we just found out that Amsterdam Carnivale is a week earlier than we thought, so we're going to go straight there to see our friend Phoebe, then we;ll go to Berlin later. Phoebe has a 10 day break from school so we'll probably stay there for awhile. It should be great! You can NEVER have a bad time with Phoebe!

I'll post a few pictures, but I think all I have are ones of general Prague scenary. Happy Valentine's Day!

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20th February 2007

Those soldiers appear to have learned how to march by watching the Wizard of Oz. Speaking of which (witch?) I got this episode on tape. You're going to love it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmQBsh26LCE

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