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Published: September 4th 2017
Radek our guide
Traveling through old town on our way to St. Charles Bridge.
We were treated to a fantastic breakfast provided by the hotel. Served on the second floor where you actually get to see the tops of the beautiful crystal chandeliers sparkling. Breads, fruits, meats, cheeses, egg dishes, bacon, sausages, and eggs abound. It reminded me of a quote from Dad if I filled my plate too high, "your eyes are bigger than your stomach." I wanted it all but managed to restrain myself and just have some fruit, bacon, a stewed tomato, and.....okay you got me.....one very small chocolate croissant.
Today we are part of a guided tour around Prague. Having never wanting to be part of an actual guided tour, I was leary. Tom and I usually grab a map of the city, wherever we are and head to the oldest part and work our way forward in time. It's been a great way to discover Europe. On this trip however, we've been offered a guided tour, as part of our package, of every city we shall encounter. So what the heck....
We appeared in the lobby at the appointed time with what seemed like a hundred other human travelers. Some seemed lost, some looked confused, some seemed anxious,
An example of "grafetto" art.
The figures here are made by applying several different types of plaster.
and some were panicked and shouting out questions worried that life would end if they were not attended to immediately. Yikes.....maybe we should run away with our map in hand and take our chances, but no! We decide not to run from the unknown but to experience something new. The Viking staff arranged the crowd in groups. We fell into the group of "If you arrived at the airport yesterday please stand behind this desk." We were there with maybe 30 other people. We were handed monitors and ear pieces. We put the blue tooth in our ear and turned on the monitors. Magically the cacophony of the lobby noise disappeared and we could only hear our guide Rodek. He told us to move outside the hotel and here we began our journey through Prague's history.
For me specifically, I did not enjoy walking down the street with 30 other people. We gradually became accustomed to our ear piece and realized that you can hear him from almost anywhere. Rodek quickly showed himself to be one who truly loves his country and is passionate about telling its history. He mixed history with humor while walking us through the difficult
Difficult to see here but this building was inspired by. Picasso and his cubism style art work. I don't think the picture aptly shows that the building sort of comes to a point in the center.
times of World War II with the Germand Occupation, the freedom and just as quick Russian Occupation, and ultimately the "Velvet Revolution" where 300,000 gathered peacefully to tell Russia it was time for them to go and let the Czech citizens restore democracy. No war just words and then freedom.
I think Rodek had a joke for every story he told and Tom and I were sure to listen to his stories and laugh at his jokes. He is young enough to see the bright future of his country and old enough to understand the tough history. I think the one item I'll remember most is that he was grateful the Russian occupancy ended when it did. The ancient buildings were falling into disrepair but once the country was returned to the citizens they were able to began the decades long restoration of their heritage, a heart warming and beautiful thing and we are the lucky ones to witness the beauty of their labors.
In the end I remembered Tom and I on our own begining to discover Paris. We'd walk by fasinating buildings and have discussions about when it may have been built, why it came to
be, who wanted it to be built. We never really knew we just surmised and based our guesses on the cornerstone that marked the year it was built. Today while we walk through Prague we were treated with the actual facts, a 700 year old synagogue still in use, a Cathedral that took 600 years to complete. This story is actually amazing and we saw the stained glass windows inside that showed a notable difference to the techniques in the beginning stages of the 1400's and completion in the early 1900's. As an aside, King Charles the IV is cherished here and anything built during his reign is adored, I'm okay with that......because it turns out King Charles IV loved his people and country. It's pretty cool here.
Okay tomorrow Tom and I are on our own, we'll retrace some of what we did today on our own pace with better pictures.
As they say here in. Prague "dobro noc." and to all a good night.
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