Nom de Plumage

February 22, 2013

Prague Delights All The Senses

Filed under: Travel Journal — nomdeplumage @ 4:23 pm
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English: 3:4 Portrait crop of Franz Kafka

English: 3:4 Portrait crop of Franz Kafka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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No guesses on how I spent the night – cold and shivering. Due to the extreme weather circumstances, you would think that the hostel would show some compassion and turn the heaters on?

 

Laura and I have a 10:30 am rendezvous which I am really excited about. When you meet someone and have the good fortune to become friends so quickly, it is a situation to behold and be grateful for. Never one to let an opportunity like this pass, I leave early for our meeting point. Only, I believed that we communicated well on where we would meet and quickly learnt my mistake. After waiting some time and with no sign of Laura, I check my the map and look up at the street sign, quickly realising I am at the wrong place. In my panic, I start pacing up and down the road, searching for Laura.We both had underestimated the size of the plaza and the amount of humanity that passes. Half-an-hour passes and I had to start facing facts that we somehow missed each other. I am so upset and just as I was about to leave, I hear my name called. Thankfully, it was my friend.

 

Yesterday, Simon had intrigued us about a museum dedicated to paintings/pictures created by children whilst held prisoner and awaiting transportation to death camps. Four thousand pictures are found years later in two suitcases that were secretly hidden by a woman teacher whom ultimately perished along with many of her students. The teacher inspires the children to focus on something positive to help pass their time and ease their tension. Innocent drawings depicting the simple joys of family life and homes, that only the tender minds of children can reproduce. The walls are lined with these pictures, a reminder of innocence lost and that no-one, age or sex, is spared.

 

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A memorial dedicated to one of Prague’s most famous son’s, is Franz Kafka. I have to be honest and write that I have read none of his books, but I do know the literary contribution that he has made. The statue is ideally situated at the entrance to the Jewish Ghetto, a place once loathed and void of any compassion, is now a suburb beautifully restored and preserved. A not so famous statute (of I do not know who?), is also near the Jewish Ghetto. What is so intriguing about this particular iron masterpiece for both Laura and I, is the Czech version of our Aussie ‘Ned kelly‘. It brought a smile to our faces and we loved this unique piece. DSC00110

 

The walk through the Castle District, is made more perilous after the heavy downfall of snow from yesterday. To walk the slippery and thick snow is tough and requires concentration and caution. It is a massive area and one worth seeing. The beautiful and very old cathedral is one of the main features, along with a library of very rare and well preserved ancient texts, the castle which is still guarded by some very dedicated soldiers who are good sports in allowing us to take photo’s with them and the iconic wide wooden doors made famous from the movie “Amadeus” in the 1980’s. Something that I really loved and admired, are the unique and utterly beautiful carvings that are intricately and painstakingly reproduced on the walls of  a house. I have never seen anything so beautiful and no photo can do justice to the craftsmanship shown here.

 

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Charles Bridge is an iconic and very beautiful medieval link over the Volta River. The two black gates at either entrance, are huge and were once the cities gunpowder storage. A scary thought? Spanning the  bridge at even intervals, are statues (some missing) that give this medieval link over the river Volta, a ‘guard of honour’ like no other.

 

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The weather, although not snowing, is still cold and we are in need of some hot refreshment. We discover a nondescript little cafe with only two tables on our way back to the Old Town Square. Laura orders for us both a hot chocolate, while I guard a table. It was apparent from our very first sip, that this hot chocolate was to the the mother of all hot drinks. Thick liquid molten, it was so delicious that we both looked at each other (shy and embarrassed) to admit wanting another. I confessed first and Laura went to shamefully ask for round two. The cafe owner laughed and made us each another, what would become the best hot chocolate EVER!

 

Old Town Square has come alive with colours, children singing and the smell of hot food for the annual Christmas Market. Traditional in it’s hand-made baubles and decorations, and unique in the food that is on offer. I personally loved and salivated over the open pork spit, spitting and permeating the air in that delicious and pungent smell of roast pig. I laughed at the poor male vendor, who had a very fussy woman customer fighting with him over the best part of the pork crackling. She was adamant and determined to get the best crackling.

 

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To continue the ‘medieval’ tradition of Prague, Laura lead me to an underground dungeon and into a quaint restaurant. It was by no means on the same par as the restaurant we ate dinner at last night, but the food and service were both exceptional. To sample something completely off the radar, we both experimented and ordered roast rabbit with spinach, dumplings and a side order of seasonal vegetables. We could not fault the dinner and I certainly enjoyed the wild, but delicate flavours of a meat I would not normally eat. It is to be our farewell dinner, not just from each other, but from Prague as well. Upon reflection at my trepidation in coming to Prague, is all but a memory and I could never have dreamed that these two days would become two of my best so far. Not just the beauty of the city, nor the wonderful food and drinks, but the hospitable and memorable people that I had the privilege to meet.

 

Thank you.

 

Cover of "Amadeus - Director's Cut (Two-D...

Cover via Amazon

 

Monument to Franz Kafka by the sculptor Jarosl...

Monument to Franz Kafka by the sculptor Jaroslav Róna (2003), next to the Spanish synagoge, in Prague, Czech Republic. Bronze, height 375cm. Note: Freedom of panorama#Czech Republic Français : Monument à Franz Kafka, œuvre du sculpteur Jaroslav Róna (2003), près de la la synagogue espagnole à Prague, en République tchèque. Bronze, hauteur : 375 cm. Note : Liberté de panorama#Tchéquie (République tchèque) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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