Czeching Out Prague

20 08 2012

It was approximately 10:30 AM when I landed in the Czech Republic. It had been a long day as I had spent the previous Sunday watching the Olympics in Hyde Park and through the middle of the night had made my way to Luton Airport to catch my 7:30 AM flight. As I made my way from Terminal 1 over to Terminal 2 I realized that my day of travel had been nothing compared to my father who I was about to see. Dad, arrived in Prague after a 21 hour journey from Vancouver via Toronto and Frankfurt. Although it was a long day for both of us, heading to the Czech Republic was very worthwile and the 8 days we had there were memorable. I plan to break up this trip into a few posts that I hope you will enjoy.

The first entry will focus on the 4 days I was able to spend in Prague.

Dad and I were able to meet up in Prague because of the International Conference of Historical Geographers being held at Charles University and because of this we were able to experience things other tourists may have missed. This began with a boat cruise down the Vltava river on our first night and ended with a traditional Czech dinner near Prague Castle where we filled up on traditional Czech food and beer.

Because Dad was there for work I spent most of the days touring Prague on my own. Fortunately it is a very easy city to navigate as most people speak English and the layout of the town is relatively straight forward. Our hotel was located just south of Old Town which allowed for a beautiful walk every morning down the Vltava river, past the Charles Bridge and into the Old Town square.

Although Prague is a city of 1.3 million people it is one that is extremely walkable. The journey up to Prague Castle is filled with gorgeous views and the fact it is centred around a river makes it very easy to not get lost! I spent the majority of my time just exploring the city, and learning what I could about the Czech culture.

Dad was able to join me one morning for a few hours of sightseeing so we decided to go to the Jewish Quarter, the smallest district in Prague.  This was a very emotional experience because of the past history of the quarter. During the Second World War there were 92,000 victims taken from this area and sent to Concentration Camps throughout Eastern Europe. The area is filled with synagogues that provide information about the Jewish culture and the history of the Jewish population in Prague, something that interested us both greatly. The Jewish cemetery is where the size of the atrocities in the second world war really hits home. When we entered the memorial building at the cemetery we were both taken aback by the display. It was very simple, the names of all the 92,000 victims on the wall. Upstairs were drawings from children who suffered through the holocaust, another thing very tough to look at.  This was followed by a trip to the actual cemetery which shows just how densely populated the Jewish Quarter truly is. It wasn’t the funnest morning, but well worth seeing, especially for a history teacher like myself.

Following the few hours in the Jewish Quarter Dad and I rushed over to Old Town square to watch the Astronomical Clock go off when 11:00 AM hit. While this was a sight to see, the true amazement for Dad and myself was the incredible amount of tourists in Prague. This is a common theme throughout the city and it is quite astonishing to see the price increases as soon as  you enter the square! The price for a meal in Old Town square compares to London pricing, but if you walk outside of the Old Town you can get that same meal for 1/3 of the price!

Prague is a city that lends itself to the photographer and I have tried my best to take a few shots of the city. I hope that you enjoy them!

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