Perspectives on Prague

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I am finally in the position to add another travel post to this blog – about time, I missed it! As you know, I left my job and had some leftover vacation days to take, so Mr. Betterhalf and I decided to go on a city trip for my birthday. At first, we discussed Barcelona and Stockholm, but decided against them. Barcelona is always sooooooo busy and Stockholm is simply too expensive. So we came up with Prague, a city that I always wanted to visit, but never did. And oh, have I missed out! Of all the cities I have seen so far, Prague is surely the prettiest! It suppose Prague did not get bombarded during WW II, and therefore all the beautiful old buildings are still there. The cobblestone everywhere is no fun if you are a fan of high heels (I was glad I brought my hiking shoes), but it adds to the scenery. You can imagine what it looked like in the 19th century, when there were mainly horse carriages on the roads.

There are millions and millions of beautiful photos of Prague on the mighty internetz, so I will spare you from yet another shot of Charles’ Bridge (even though it is beautiful). Instead I am going to show and tell you some of the things we found by just walking around and absorbing the atmosphere – like how we almost got to spend the night with Franz Kafka (yes, he’s dead, that’s why it’s worth a story) and how I got to march with penguins. Enjoy!

Let me start with a cross we came across (see what I did there?) that really got me thinking. After checking into our hotel, we took a walk towards the old part of town. Well, at first we walked… SOMEWHERE… until we noticed we had looked at the map the wrong way. Achem…. should have joined the scouts when I was younger. On the way there, we literally walk over a cross on the pavement:

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The cross has been put there in memory of the two Czechoslovakian students Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc, who set themselves on fire there in 1969. Their action was a protest against the end of the Prague spring. The cross is exactly where Palach fell onto his knees and then onto the ground. While I have to admit that I’d have to research the exact circumstances and historical context, it still touched me. I just don’t know whether I should have respect for the boys’ dedication to their political opinion or whether I should think that this is total bullshit. I think I go with the latter, but I do feel for their despair!

In Prague, you cannot help but stumble over the lingering presence of Franz Kafka. On one of our walks, we came by the Kafka Museum and decided to pay a visit. It is really well done, and – who would have thunk – very Kafkaesque! He was indeed a very interesting and also pretty disturbed person! On my birthday, we took the Metro towards the New Jewish Cemetary where Kafka is buried (next to his father! Franz would not have liked that, but unfortunately, he passed away before his parents.) When we entered the graveyard through an iron gate, I noticed a sign that mentioned the closing time of 5pm. I pointed it out to Mr. Betterhalf since it was 4:40pm, but he insisted that this was just the closing time for going in, but how you could always get out. Not. At 5:03 I got a really bad feeling. You see, I adore pretty graveyards, but a lock-in with Franz and all the creatures that this graveyard would produce at night (vampires at least!) on my birthday did not seem at all desirable. We reached the gate at 5:07 – and it was locked! “Buffy the vampire slayer”-affected me quickly scanned the surrounding for possible ways out… high walls with spikes. GREAT!!! I had just started to collect sticks and carve them into stakes, when luckily, the graveyard locker woman turned up. She looked at us disapprovingly, pointed at her watch and yelled “5 o’clock!!”, but then had a heart and saved two Germans from a lock-in with the guy who tortured them during High School 🙂

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See, vampire-y!

My birthday wish for Prague had been to go on a little cruise on the Moldova. This is when I first saw the penguins. There is – for no obvious reasons – a line of yellow penguin figures on one part of the shore. I mean – why? Because the Czech Republic is so famous for its penguins? Because of the legendary penguin invasion in 1483? I have no idea. I thought they were funny though, so when we were back on safe ground, we went to have a closer look. And I marched with them!

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There are more stories to tell, so many impressions, but for now I’ll leave the ones of you that have not fallen asleep yet to it. If you have the chance, go to Prague, enjoy the great and very affordable food, the beautiful sights and the atmosphere!

Yours truly, madly, deeply!

Lunatique

All photos used in this blog are mine unless stated otherwise. Feel free to use them if you like, but be decent and link to this site!

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4 thoughts on “Perspectives on Prague

  1. I was very moved by Palach’s story. I had goosebumps standing in that spot. I still think it’s one of the greatest individual gestures ever done by a human.

  2. Pingback: Whatever happened to cards and calls | The German Perspective

  3. Pingback: 2015: Gracias a la vida! | The German Perspective

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