Moving to Holland is not easy, but it's worth the effort. This blog tells the story of shifting from American life in Pittsburgh to Expat life in the Netherlands,
and all of our European adventures that follow.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Czech out Prague!

What a beautiful city. This is the overall impression that I am left with after our trip to Prague.

As one of the few European cities that was largely undamaged during WWII, Prague has retained much of it's Medieval and Bohemian beauty from the past centuries. To make our trip even better, we were able to meet up with Chris & Brandy, and their main man, Austin. It was great to explore the city with them, and catch up on their new adventures in Germany (they just moved to Dresden).

It was also an incredible honor to get to know Austin as a big-little guy, since the last time we saw him, he was 3 months old. He is at such a cool age, where everything is new and exciting to him. He talks up a storm, and is endlessly in motion. I found him quite entertaining. ;) I like the way he eagerly exclaims "OK," and especially liked his Scarlett O'Hara-esque cry of "Help Me" whenever you are tickling him. (I could just hear her: 'heylp me Rhett, heylp me!' hehe)
The apartment we stayed in was located in Wenceslas Square, which is less of a square, and more of a long wide road lined with restaurants, bars, and shops. At the top of the road and slight hill lies a National Museum. The front of this museum is quite impressive, and was used in Casino Royale. Speaking of Hollywood, while we were in Prague this weekend, they were shooting the final scenes of Mission Impossible 4 (or 5, or 6... I lost count). We saw a lot of trailers, lighting equipment, and security about, but unfortunately no signs of Tom Cruise. Who knows, though, maybe we'll pop up in the background of one of the shots! ;)

We were staying within walking distance to the Old Town Square. One of the major attractions here is the Astronomical Clock: correctly described as one of the biggest "is that it" attractions in Europe. It is a beautiful clock, with a lot of detail, statues, and dials representing the sun, moon, and a calendar. Every hour the bells chime and little doors open beside the clock and show a parade of the 12 Apostles. Thousands of people gather to watch each hour, and after the show you can see they are sort of waiting for more. That's if folks... nothing more to see here.

We were fortunate to be on time for an Autumn Festival in the Old Town Square. There were numerous vendors in wooden huts with all sorts of delicious food including smoked ham, kielbasi, jacket potatoes, and pretzels. My favorite, though, was a sweet roll called Trdelnik. It is like a cinnamon roll cooked over a campfire. Yum!

We walked for miles and miles around the town, including the old Jewish Quarters, or Josefov. This neighborhood has roads lines with beautiful, colorful buildings. This area also contains the oldest Synagogue in Europe. There is a legend that Golam lives in the attic of this synagogue, and that anyone who goes into the attic to look for him is never seen again (we didn't test this theory).

The Charles Bridge is a famous pedestrian bridge that connects the Old Town to the lesser town and Prague Castle. It is lined with statues and vendors selling the usual jewelry and paintings. In the middle of the bridge is a plaque that everybody rubs as they walk by. One side is supposed to bring you good luck, and the other side, with the dog, is supposed to make the women who touch it pregnant. It's safe to say that Brandi and I both stayed away from that dog!

Prague Castle sits on top of a huge hill... which we had the pleasure of walking up (while pushing a stroller... good practice!). It was an amazing walk, though, because the streets of the town below are so old and lined with the same colorful buildings. The castle is more of a 'gated community,' comprised of several buildings and a huge cathedral.

On Friday night, Brandi and I took a walk on the wild (or wicked) side, and partook in a haunted walking tour of Prague. The best part came at the end when we went down into the dungeons under the Astronomical clock. This is where they used to keep prisoners before their executions. No actual ghost sightings, but it was creepy down there. On Saturday night, we stayed in, and the guys went out and made their own mini bar crawl to experience all of the wonderful Czech beers (again).

It was nice not only to explore such a cool old city with our friends, but also to catch up and spend some time relaxing in our apartment. We really enjoyed playing with Austin (says the couple that does not have to get up and change diapers at 3 am). ;) And, as it turns out, Chad is not smarter than a 2 year old. Chad and Austin were playing tug-of-war with one of the couch pillows. Austin distracted Chad by saying "hey Chad, how's Chuggington doing?" (with a look referring to his cartoon video playing on the iPod next to them). When Chad looked down, Austin seized the opportunity and the pillow as his!
I imagine this is the mischievous
face he was making at the time. ;)

We saw every possible corner that we could of Prague. Though it felt like a bit of a short weekend, the good news is that we are going to see the Taylors again this December, when we go to Dresden for Christmas. And that also means more German Christmas markets... YEAH!


*See all of the pictures from our trip are on Flickr:

Also check out the Taylor's pics:

1 comment:

Brandi said...

Love it! We had such a blast with you guys, you are fantastic travel buddies ;o) And Austin is very much looking forward to outsmarting Chad again at Christmas.