Prague Part 2

Friday, August 28, 2020


We woke up early around eight am for the start of our tour of Prague for the day. A shuttle picked us up from the hotel and drove us to the entrance of Prague castle. It was a chilly slightly damp morning with a light low fog rolling through the silent city. It was around this time I realized that my jacket would probably not be enough to keep me warm today but it was too late and would hope the body would have enough energy reserve to work a little harder in maintaining some amount of sustained heat. Our tour guide was pointing out points of interest along the way but I was still in the process of waking up so his words jumbled in my head in a sleepy haze. I was excited but it just took my brain a little while to rev up. 

    As we arrived at the entrance of the castle, the sheer size of it brought awe. It was beautifully perched on the top of the hill overlooking the land surrounding it. I imagined with what pomp and circumstance the kings and emperors would have lived during the peak of its splendor and what secrets must be hidden within its walls. Our guide explained to us that this is the largest palace in the world which made the structures even more amazing but also provided a tiny reminder that we would be walking a lot today. 

    We arrived a few minutes before the changing of the guards and were able to grab a great viewing point for the ceremony. A large crowd gathered around us to observe and I decided to put my camera down and take in the moment. A part of me was still absorbing the fact that I was standing here in Prague and able to take in all that surrounded me. One year ago, I would not have thought such a chance would fall in my lap in the near future or that Prague was somewhere I really should be visiting at all. I was in my happy place both literally and figuratively. 

The nave of St. Vitus cathedral. Photo by Anton Scherbakov on Unsplash

    After the ceremony, we entered through the fortification and made our way into the rotunda which housed the St. Vitus cathedral. The extraordinary Gothic architecture dwarfed its surrounding with its sharp peaks commanding the attention of those walking into the fort. The cathedral still plays an integral role in the Roman Catholic church as it is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. It also notably contains the tombs of the Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors that have ruled there. As I stepped into history, I marveled at the stained glass windows and the intricate designs adorning the great hall and admired the beautiful enormous paintings. The cool darkness of the cathedral punctuated by natural light painted a multitude of colours that flowed in through the stained windows adding an ethereal sense to the grandeur and sacredness. It is so impressive to see that we as humans can imagine and create such colossal and magnificent structures that stand today as a reminder of the glory of the past. 

    We continued our tour of the palaces and buildings within the fort and my mind became transported to the time of the kings as I attempted to imagine how the place would have looked like and what kind of events would have been held in this place. I took the opportunity to take so many photos to remind me of these moments but I also made sure I was not busy with just looking through the lens as well. I wanted to burn these images into my brain so that I could revisit this adventure while I lay in bed. 

    Another one of my favourite buildings within the fort was the Toy Museum. This was an unexpected yet delightful discovery during our tour and I decided I needed to go inside and explore it. This little building contained all the toys that were a blast from the past and more. Through the tiny corridors, I made my way to the Barbie room and stood there admiring the transformation of the Barbie doll over the years and reminiscing my own collection which became a graveyard of headless corpses thanks to my little sister. There were many other toys tracing all the way back to Ancient Greece. Although I had read mixed reviews about the building after my visit, the connection to the place comes from the nostalgia of the past and recognizing the toys from your childhood or maybe even relics passed down from generations. With times changes the way children have played and what toys were available and it is interesting to view the transformations and ponder over the importance and fantasy of child play. If you are a collector of toys or past memories, this building is worth a visit. 

    Near the end of our tour as we walked through the gardens at the back of the fortress, we received a delicious lunch which included Svickova a braised beef and dumpling gastronomical ride, in a tent that helped warm our bodies. We walked down through the surrounding town Hracany and across the Charles bridge which was busy with tourists back towards the city center. My step counter was really going that day and I could feel the light burn on my calves with the walking but I was not tired. We walked towards the town square with Tyn Church and the Astronomical Clock. 

Tyn Church and the Astronomical Clock in town square. Photo by Raul Cacho Oses on Unsplash

    My taste buds were overflowing with the delicious food I consumed such as the warm and soothing Koprovka, a soup made from dill sauce, and hearty goulash. In the city center, the markets introduced me to fried bread covered with cheese Langos and just deep-fried cheese to known as Smazeny Ser. My tongue was in wonderland embracing the delicious new cuisine and flavours. 

Photo by Mathilda Khoo on Unsplash

    The following day we visited the Jewish sector and explored their history and containment in the region. I feel such overwhelming sadness whenever I come across the human suffering and trials faced by a particular group of people because within history the exploitation and genocide of races are exhaustive. No matter where I go in the world, I will learn about a civilization that exploited another and the suffering that would ensue from it. Nevertheless, I still find it important to learn from history from all points of view and try not to support or fall into similar ideologies that consider one type of human to be above the other. As humans, we have achieved great things but also have created great destruction in its wake. The fight for power is neverending and to this day we continue seeing the destruction of races based on their religion, beliefs, or colour. The Uighur Muslims in China are currently facing similar trials and suffering as they are forced to change their beliefs and are forced into re-education camps. Our history in Canada and the US follow similar patterns with the Native Americans and black people. I need to ensure that any children I raise in the future are taught that we are all the created the same way and the moment you start feeling like you are better than someone, you need to take a step back and remember just as you have strengths and weaknesses so do they. 

    On the eight-hour bus ride back to our city, I pondered over what I had learned and experienced on our little spontaneous trip. Through my time abroad I have learned that I am truly a gypsy at heart and love to keep moving to new places and meeting new people. I am not one of those who need to lay their roots in one specific spot and settle because I never feel reluctant to going somewhere new. Whenever a new opportunity arises I will always be ready to embrace it and see where it takes me. 

Until Next Time,

Photo by Dmitry Goykolov on Unsplash

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