It’s been awhile since I’ve been in Europe and I’ve forgotten just how much history exists here. I have to say that I also don’t remember as many tourists in other European trips as I’ve seen today in Prague. It’s so crowded with people and their cameras and tour guides that I kept feeling sorry for the actual residents of Prague.
Anyway, back to the history. One of the things I love about going to New York is just imagining all of the history that exists there: how the city was built and how it’s evolved. You can see it in the architecture, visiting the tenement museum, and walking through SOHO and picturing all the “sweatshops” that existing on the top floors of those buildings that now house multi million dollar lofts. But that NYC history is nothing compared to what you see in Europe. As the driver brought us from the airport to the hotel last night, someone asked him when Prague was founded. He said it was the 6th or 7th century. That’s pretty remarkable.
This morning we had a guided tour where they drove us to Prague Castle and then proceeded with the walking portion through the castle and ending in Old Town Square. Besides a girl that is traveling with her grandparents and appears to be in her early 20’s, I’m the youngest by a long shot. My parents would probably bring the age average way down too if they were here. I had to laugh internally when the tour guide kept repeating to be careful walking on the cobble stone streets. She apparently has had several accidents with past groups.
Lunch and the rest of the day was at our leisure. I made my way back across the Charles Bridge and found a nice shaded spot for lunch which of course included a Czech beer. After lunch I walked back toward the Jewish Quarter. It was a very impactful visit, which I’ll touch more specifically on in my next post after I’ve visited Terezin as well. I will say that it was amazing how much was preserved through the centuries and how many synagogues existed in such a small area.
After that I walked through Old Town Square again and ate a sweet bread I kept seeing people eating all day. There was a huge crowd, along with police and ambulances on stand by, watching a hockey game on a big screen. I made my way through some of the smaller streets taking it all in.
As I came back to the hotel for a rest, I turned on CNN to hear that there was a shooting today at a Jewish museum in Belgium. While I know I’m not in Belgium, it still feels a little too close for comfort just a few countries a way while I was also visiting the museum of my ancestors. Stay tuned in the next couple of days for more on the Jewish Quarter and Terezin, a concentration camp where they took all the Jews from Prague.