Sunday, June 18, 2006

I'm back!

Listening to: 'Art of War' by Vanessa-Mae (Sergei Prokofiev) [Best of Vanessa-Mae]

Flew in last evening. Wow, what a trip. I have to say, Prague isn't the most amazing city I've ever been to (Rome, Florence and Barcelona are way cooler), but it is up there with the best. It is also one of the cheapest - the whole trip (6 days), including travel from college to the coach station and back, cost less than £250...beat that! Luckily my visa was free...the Czech Embassy in London seems to like Sri Lankans for some reason. And of course how could a trip with two of my bestest friends on the planet not be amazing?!?!?!

So yeah, here are the highlights. If you're planning on visiting Prague, make a note of these. It helps if you're a student and have a student card - there are opportunities to get major discounts on touristy entrance tickets. That said, if you go converting stuff into Sterling, you're gonna be laughing your ass off the entire time...stuff is dirt cheap (e.g.-7 day travelcard for £7).

Prague Castle:
The main castle in Prague, seat of the Czech kings during the Middle Ages...I won't bore you with the Lonely Planet description, just Google :D! It's also a popular concert venue, so you might wanna time your trip accordingly.

Old Town:
It has a funky Astronomical Clock, which you can read about here. These days, the highlight is a big screen for World Cup matches.

Jewish Quarter:
There are lots of Synagogues in Prague...I had never been to one and I'm not too clueful about Jewish culture, so I found this quite enlightening. I found the Pinkas Synagogue quite a sobering experience.

Karlštejn is about a half hour by train from Prague, and home to a castle (bearing the same name) that houses the crown jewels (which we didn't get to see, unfortunately). It's not as fairytale-like as those commissioned by Bavaria's mad King Ludwig, but it's still quite picturesque.

Kutná Hora:
A quaint town about an hour by train from Prague, and once home to the deepest silver mine in Europe. Apparently the silver trade made town very rich (in the 15th century), but they had dug out all the silver by the 16th century, reducing the town to...nothingness: a perfect example of unsustainable industry! Now it has a funky Silver Museum and a beautiful Gothic cathedral dedicated to St. Barbara, the patron saint of miners. The town was hit by the deadly Plague, and one of the results was the Sedlec Ossuary - eerie, but amazing. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There's a lot of other stuff to see, like Loreta, Petrin Hill and Vyšehrad, but the ones I mentioned were the ones that I liked the most. I also saw Antonín Dvořák's tomb at Vyšehrad, and learnt that Albert Einstein and Franz Kafka were thick buddies. I also found out that Johannes Kepler discovered two of his Laws of Planetary Motion while in Prague. Oh and I saw a century-old telescope used to observe solar activity...and it still works! The Philosophical Library and Theological Library of the Strahov Monastery (on Petrin Hill) were also quite cool.

We took lots of photos (about 500 between the three of us), although admittedly quite a few of them are a bit random - I swear Bang Bang is in love with her feet! I still haven't seen all the pics myself, but will hopefully venture onto Flickr once I've sorted all mine'll be easier than posting everything here.

The 'girly trip' aspect was covered too - I've giggled more in the past week than I've done all year! We came to the conclusion that Czechs are very pleasing on the eye, especially those of the male variety. However, it's a tad difficult to see a guy's face when his tongue is down his girlfriend's throat. Oh well, they still qualify for eye candy (i.e. not when they're busy snogging)! We didn't shop, mainly 'cos we're perpetually broke students and also 'cos we were too busy sight-seeing (or sleeping).

There are loads of lovely memories from Prague, including lazing on the grass at the Royal Palace Gardens, singing on the train from
Karlštejn to Prague, and scaring the poor Americans who had to share a room with us - I don't think they'd met such giggly students in a while! All in all, a wonderful week with wonderful people in a wonderful city.

BTW commiserations to the Czech team for losing to Ghana (!!) - poor Petr Cech must be distraught! Oh and way to go South Korea for forcing a draw with France! I'm not really into footie, but seeing as one of my closest friends is South Korean, I can't really cheer for anyone else :D. Too bad Cha Du-Ri's not playing...he's cute ;-). As for the cricket...well if England keeps bowling badly, we can't help but win now, can we?

I guess I have to put at least one pic here, so I'll leave you with this night shot of Prague Castle, taken from across the river Vltava.

1 comment:

  1. glad u liked Prague :) i did too, altho i don't recall being given a free visa on my SL passport !i remember we got assaulted by drunken yobs on the flight from London who were obviously going for a stag do and had started drinking before they left heathrow.. return journey was nightmare too cos the flight got delayed cos of snow on the runway but the actual time we spent in Prague was amazing.. really good fun. i loved the castle and Charles Bridge.. very romantic indeed. didn't care for the food much tho..

    have u been to Budapest?


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