A Trip to Prague and Budapest: Day 6

My dad and I are on a Rick Steves Tour in Prague and Budapest. This is our fourth day of the tour and our sixth day in Prague.

You can find all my previous posts about this trip here.

 

This morning we did a communist tour of Prague, where we walked around and learned about what life was like under communist rule.


We learned a lot about the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The hands of this sculpture represent the hands of the students who took part in one of the first protests against the communist government.

Martin, our Czech guide, took us to Wenceslas Square and told us about the day thousands of people flooded the square and shook their keys in protest.


We also saw several sculptures by David Černy, including the moving head of Kafka and King Wenceslas on an upside down horse. I like the detail of the horse’s tongue sticking out.


Dad and I went to the Choco Cafe, which had been recommended by his friends yesterday. He got hot chocolate with whipped cream and I got hot chocolate with sea salt along with quiches and elderberry lemonades. Dad didn’t like the lemonade and wished he had gotten a raspberry lemonade instead. I love elderflower and elderberry flavored things, so I liked it. The hot chocolate was more of a liquid bar of chocolate than a drink. It was good, but it was way too much chocolate.

We finished getting souvenirs, then went to change our money to Hungarian forints since this is our last day in the Czech Republic.

In the evening we went to the Smetana Museum and had an opera concert given by the soprano Yukiko Kinio, the baritone Vratislav Križ, and the pianist Petr Smetáček. The last song they sang was Papageno and Yukiko Kinio’s son, Matej, played Papageno at the end.

Find all my posts from this trip here.

A Trip to Prague and Budapest: Day 5

My dad and I are on a Rick Steves Tour of Prague and Budapest. This is our third day on the tour and our fifth day in Prague.

You can find all my previous posts about this trip here.

We started the day with a tour of the Josefov neighborhood, which had been Prague’s Jewish Ghetto. A Jewish Museum was established in the early 1900s to commemorate the neighborhood’s Jewish history and memorials were later added after World War II for victims of the holocaust.

Our first stop was the Pinkas Synagogue, which has the names of 80,000 holocaust victims written on the walls.

The yellow words are the town the victims had come from, the red word is a last name, and the black words following are the names of all the victims with that last name from that town.

In the upstairs of the Pinkas Synagogue is artwork from Jewish children. They had been sent to a place called Terezín, which was a cute little community the Nazis used as propaganda to prove the Jews were being sent to a nice place. It was a stopover point for many Czech Jews before they were sent to concentration camps.

Outside is a cemetery that is hundreds of years old. Each time it filled up with graves, a new layer of dirt was added on top to create room for a new layer of graves.

I found a snail friend among the graves.

We then went to the Maisel Synagogue, which has a little video showing what the Josefov neighborhood looked like before many of the buildings were torn down and rebuilt. Some were not rebuilt, so the video shows buildings that are no longer there as well as ones you can see when you walk around.

Our last stop in the Josefov neighborhood was the Spanish Synagogue. It’s called the Spanish Synagogue because it is built in a Spanish style.

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The Kafka statue outside the Spanish Synagogue.

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There is a Kafka statue in front of the Synagogue.

The interior was really cool. I like the support beams and the chandelier, which is a Star of David.

There are exhibits upstairs that talk about Czech Jews post WWII and the silver religious artifacts housed at the synagogue such as crowns and pointer fingers for the Torah.


Martin, our Czech guide suggested a garnet store a few blocks from the Spanish Cathedral if we wanted to get garnet jewelry, which Prague is known for. Dad and I went and got some earrings.

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We went to Pizzeria Kmotra for lunch and got pizza!

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For lunch we went to Pizzeria Kmotra and got a margherita pizza. Dad also got tomato soup.

While we were eating, this guy showed up. I wanted to take him, but he was wearing a tag.

This is the Mayor’s Elevator, on the right side of the foyer. The President’s Elevator (formerly the Emperor’s Elevator) is on the left.

After lunch we went to the Municipal House, which is very fancy. It’s a multipurpose building that does concerts and dance lessons and things. It opened in 1912 and was one of the first buildings in Europe to have electric lights and elevators.


Smetana Hall is a concert venue inside the Municipal House named after Bedrich Smetana, a Czech composer. The organ in Smetana Hall is also electric.


Many of the rooms inside the Municipal House were designed by Alfons Mucha. After we finished our tour, we went to the Mucha Museum and saw a lot of his work and a video of his life.

We got back to the hotel just in time for dad’s friend Greg to pick us up for dinner. Greg and his wife are missionaries in Prague. We went to a restaurant near their house, then went to their house for dessert, which was some kind of Czech cake.

Find all my posts from this trip here.

A Trip to Prague and Budapest: Day 4

My dad and I are on a Rick Steves Tour in Prague and Budapest. This was our fourth day in Prague and our second day of the tour.

You can find all my previous posts about this trip here.

This morning we met in the lobby of the hotel and Peter, our guide, handed out tram tickets to everyone. He led us to the tram stop and we got on the 22 up to Prague Castle.

We met Martin, who is our guide for Prague, since Peter is a Hungarian native and can tell us more about Budapest when we get there.

We went into the castle through the security checkpoint, where you have to put your bag and any metal in your pockets on a table and walk through and the guards say you’re fine and to go on.

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The lights at Prague Castle are cool.

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We went to St Vitus Cathedral first.

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The front part of St Vitus Cathedral.

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Most of the Cathedral, including the front part, was built in the 1800s.

The inside had pretty stained glass and a lot of tombs.

The side of the cathedral is where you can see the original parts built in the 1300s on the right and the newer parts on the left.

The back is the original construction and has flying buttresses fortifying the towers against wind damage.

We then went to the Old Royal Palace and St George’s Basilica. I don’t remember anything about St George’s Basilica.

There was a lot about Maria Theresa, the Hapsberg queen who was a great leader and barely lost any of her kingdom to wars and had 16 children, including Marie Antoinette.

Then we went to the Golden Lane, which is tiny houses that had been cheap housing for artists and writers in the 1800s. Kafka lived in one of the houses. You can tell which one because it is selling his books. The ones at the beginning are shops and the ones at the end are set up to show what they were like at various historical periods.

I didn’t buy anything at the shops because they were crowded, but I did like the part set up like a film studio, with a cutting room and a showing room.

We then went to see the window where people were defenestrated and the changing of the guard in front of the castle.

After that, we went to the Strahov Monastery for lunch. It is a brewery, so I was hoping for a tour of that, but we just had lunch. We got soup and everyone at our table got goulash because it was loud and we couldn’t hear the other options and the waitress was annoyed we asked five times.

Because it’s a brewery, it’s known for its beer, so I’m disappointed Bryce isn’t here to try all the beer. I’ll have to bring him sometime.

After lunch, my tour buddy and her mom got on the tram with me and my dad and we helped each other find our way back to the hotel. We keep being told the tram is easy to use. The hard part is figuring out when to get off. We decided if we got super lost, we would get off and find a Starbucks and use their internet to find our way back to the hotel, but we made it without having to resort to that.

Find all my posts from this trip here.