Monday, July 1, 2013
We took our first trip on the Prague subway this morning. Our director, Sandy, picked us up at the dorm and we walked over to the metro stop. We got on the train and met the Czech kids downtown. The Czech kids took us on a tour through downtown Prague. This is where the Velvet Revolution took place. We then saw some more of the men who painted themselves to look like statues. They waved us up to take a picture with them. Next, we walked to the National Theater. There was an awesome clock tower we went to after the theater called the Astronomical Clock. It was made in 1410 and it is the most visited clock tower in the Czech Republic. It is the seat of the Old Town council. At each hour, the clock opens and 12 apostles rotate through the windows. There was a myth that other countries wanted clocks just like the one the man made for the tower. The people of Prague wanted the tower to stay special to them so they gouged his eyes out. The man who created the tower did something to the clock so that it wouldn’t work. Eventually someone fixed it and now the characters come out of the clock again. We passed by this cute outside restaurant with really cute floral cushions.
Our next stop was the Charles Bridge. This is a very famous and oldest bridge in Prague. There was another bridge that was older but it fell down. There is a story that the Charles Bridge was put together with eggs. I guess fried eggs made the stones stick. There is a statue on the bridge and you are supposed to touch the golden dog. If you touch the dog, it is said you will come back to Prague. There were so many cute stands on the bridge with cute jewelry and souvenirs. On our way to the Lennon Wall we stopped by the smallest street in the world! It was so skinny! We also passed by these controversial sculptures/fountains in which the men would pee out the water. Their hips move around and if you send a text message to the organization, the sculptures will spell out what you wrote in the text message.
We walked by the lock bridge next. It is said that you put a lock on this bridge to lock away your love. We passed by another lock gate that had even more locks than the bridge! I could tell the Lennon Wall was approaching because I saw the John Lennon Pub. This is definitely a place I need to go to before I leave! We got to the Lennon Wall and it was even cooler than I imagined. (Get it, imagined?) It was so long! There was so much paint on the wall but we found so many things that related to us. There was “Mizzou” written on the wall, the college we all go to; there was “GBS” written on the wall, the high school Lisa, Katie, and I went to; and there was a Chicago Blackhawks sticker on the wall. Ironic since the hawks just won the Stanley Cup! We decided we have to come back and paint on the wall. There was even a man playing guitar and singing Beatles songs at the wall.
As our stomachs started to rumble, the Czech kids took us to an awesome Mexican restaurant. We filled up on quesadillas and margaritas and then headed to the top of the Petrin Lookout Tower. Before climbing up these stairs, we went up a small tram that took us to the base of the tower. This is where people kiss on May 1st under the trees. This May 1 holiday takes the place of the American Valentine’s Day. We saw this crazy man who was acting like a bird, a kangaroo, a caveman, and even an elephant. He even made noises like an elephant! We all were laughing during his entire performance and the Czech kids said they had never seen anything like it. We climbed the 299 steps to the top of the tower. This is even more than our climb up the Arc de Triomphe. You can literally see the entire city of Prague here and it is stunning. It almost looks like a mini Eiffel Tower! Every single building has a red roof in downtown Prague. From the top, we could see the Prague Castle.
We walked down the steps and headed to the Prague Castle. This is where the president lives. The Czech people do not like the president so much but we got to go so close to his house. If a flag is waving, it means he is home. There were these soldiers at the entrance who did not smile. We kept trying to get them to laugh but they wouldn’t budge. The detail on the architecture of the castle was so beautiful. Our last stop on our tour was the Golden Street filled with these tiny houses. They had been there for centuries and have always been short and small. It was so lucky the Czech students showed us around today. I couldn’t thank them enough. We literally saw the entire town in one day. Although we have to go back and really take in the city, it was nice to gain an outlook of what is to come for the next 4 weeks.