Saturday, September 26, 2009

Europe, part IV

14 September 2009
Prague, 11.20pm

We’ve had a wonderful day glimpsing some of Praha, starting with the Old Town Square, which boasts the Astronomical Clock – a surprisingly cool contraption which has a skeleton who reaches out and rings a bell every hour (plus more unintelligible aspects which were completely lost on me).

There’s definitely a more medieval feel to this city—just walking into the square confirmed that. Possibly the narrowness of all the little streets, maze-like, too, or the sight of Prague Castle across the Charles Bridge… Again, I am impressed by Eastern statues. So much more interesting.

We went on a tour with a bunch of other English-speakers (mostly Americans) to Prague Castle. The castle seems less like a castle up close, but has an elaborate changing of the guards and a gorgeous cathedral with stained glass like nothing I’ve seen before.

After the tour was finished we walked back to the Old Town via the not-disappointing Charles Bridge and did some shopping (at least, that was mostly me). I got some great present items [which of necessity must be hush-hush, given that this is a public blog]. And we wandered some more.

Tonight we went to the opera! Carmen. We were both a bit under-dressed, and the lady at the door looked us up-and-down very disapprovingly, which was a bad start, but at least she let us in. It only got better and better. The theatre was spectacular but once the performance started you only had eyes for the stage. We had great seats and the set/music/cast/EVERYTHING was wonderful. It seemed so much more like The Real Thing than anything I’ve seen in New Zealand (though to be fair I’ve never been to an opera before). A new addiction, perhaps?

15 September 2009
Prague, 2.30pm

I am sitting on an island – Střelecký Ostrov – in the middle of the Vltava River in Praha. It’s been a busy sort of day, a second full day in the city, which seems unusual and abnormally long compared to the last two cities. But it is very pleasant sitting out here watching the river, and it is a nice change from rushing around madly.

This morning we started off at the Chocolate Museum, which is as educational as it sounds, choosing this over the Museum of Medieval Torture (which actually looked pretty interesting) and the Sex Machines Museum (not so much).

Then we went to the cemetery in the Jewish Quarter. Naturally. This was the only burial ground allowed for Jews and so is stacked high with graves and a higgledy-piggledy morass of tombstones. Some Orthodox Jews were gathered around one grave, presumably someone special, chanting and rocking, and I felt so rude walking around with my camera out. Felt worse when I saw a couple of other tourists standing right next to them, snapping away…


Sarakastic said...

I've never been to Europe but i'm pretty sure that you did a better job of your trip then I could have.

heidikins said...

All your pics make me want to jump on a plane right. this. minute. and go to Europe! Swoon!