Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Prague in a Day - The Goldbergs in Europe Day 8

We got off to a great start on Day 8 with a wonderful breakfast at the Josef Hotel's patio breakfast area.  The food was just right to give us the energy for a full day.

We took a quick stroll around the downtown area and popped in and out of some stores while we waited for our tour to begin.  The shopping and sites in Prague were just as I remembered them.  There were tons of stores selling crystal, glass, and more touristy souvenirs.  There were also all kinds of people from bachelor parties to old asian tour groups.  We were definitely not quite in our element.

We both had a perception of Prague going into the trip that was, to an extent, shattered when we realized that we were just two of about 30,000 tourists in Prague on any given Monday.

We decided that it was best to, rather than be constantly be annoyed by the multitudes of people of fanny packs and large cameras, that we should include them in our story.  Here are just a few:

We spent most of the afternoon on a private tour we arranged through the hotel with a great guide, named Teresa.  Teresa, a local of Prague, gave a great tour.  What was of special interest to Hannah and I was that she was one of the 6000 Jews actually living in Prague.  This is a tiny fraction of the number that lived in this city before the 1900s.  This is evident by the tour of the Jewish quarter where we saw at least 5 synagogues in a tiny area.  Teresa explained to us that the loss of 2 generations of Jews in the 20th century has diminished not only the Jewish population but also the ability for young Jews to meet other young Jews.

We stopped for a quick picture for our parents at the wall devoted to the memory of John Lennon.  Lennon's was special time for Prague as it signified speaking out against communism and led up to the end of it.

Our tour of the old town, Jewish quarter, King Charles Bridge, and the Prague Castle ended at the monastery where the monks have brewed their own special beer for hundreds of years.  This was a great time to treat ourselves and our guide to a little local flavor.

After having a farewell drink with Teresa, Hannah and I stopped off for a beer at the oldest pub in Prague.  This pub was nothing more than a couple of old men sitting in what looked like an old stone building serving Czech beer from behind a table.

 It would have been a quick beer if it wasn't for making the acquaintance of Matz and Martin.  Matz and Martin were two extremely animated Swedish fellows that Hannah I spent the next 3 hours chatting with at the pub.  Actually, they did most of the chatting.   We were most impressed by how they had memorized every episode of Friends, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia....quite a mix.  We took turns trying on their Jagr hockey jerseys and taking random pictures.

They consistently berated us for knowing nothing about hockey players, especially the Swedish ones.  I think they thought that if they kept saying names of players that we'd miraculously become experts at the sport.

We narrowly managed to escape the clutches of the Swedish and went out for another decent, yet overpriced dinner in Prague.  In as much as we had a great time together, we were looking forward to going to a less touristy place and seeing more of Europe.

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