Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prague - It's in the Czech Republic.

Prague... Oh, Prague. What can I say against thee? Though thy streets made my feet ache, as my choice in shoes was not the most intelligent, and though your endless windows of Marionette dolls did cause me some amount of fear, I am at complete and utter contentment in my journey with you. I might even, dare I say it, love thee. Yes, I shall relinquish this feeling to all my joyful readers.

I, Linze, LOVE Prague.

I can just hear my Kindergarten nemesis saying, "If you love it so much, why don't you marry it?" in the background. Kid, I would if I could.

Okay, not really.

However, Prague really is one of my new loves when it comes to Europe. The city itself reminds me somewhat of Vienna or Salzburg (they were all under the same reign at one time), but more Eastern European. I can't say that it's not what I expected, cause I really didn't expect anything. As I said in the entry before, I did not know a whole lot about Prague before deciding to go. I've had so many wonderful friends tell me how beautiful it was, but I wasn't really expecting it to be so great. Certain cities in Europe have been cool to visit, but I have no desire to return. Example? Paris. *Gasp* Did she say, Paris? Why, yes. Yes, she did.

I loved the girls I met in Paris and loved seeing all the sights... It's an INCREDIBLE city. The art, the architecture, the food... It's breathtaking stuff. However, all the trash-lined streets, urine-smelling sidewalks, tricky and devious gypsies, creepy sexual advances... They kinda ruined the ambiance. It was a GREAT experience, and one I am grateful for, but I have no desire to return to the "city of amore." Perhaps I WILL return one day, but it's not a priority for me.

ANYWAY, this entry is NOT about Paris, but about Prague... Oh, how I love Prague. Haha!

I got to Prague via night-train and it was actually a good experience - I slept alright and it was fun to say I had tried it. The bummer was waking up and then having someone tell me we were delayed two hours. So, after fourteen hours on a train (rather than the twelve hours planned) I finally got to Prague, oder Praha! It took me a bit of time at the Hauptbahnhof there to figure out exactly how to buy a ticket for the public transportation so that I could get to my hostel. In reality, I could have easily walked to my hostel (no sweat) from there, because it was rather close. However, I finally figured things out, called Ben (my friend I was meeting there) and he directed me on how to get to the hostel. We checked in, got a map, looked at my list of places to see, and we were off!

We had walked for only a few minutes before I was singing the praises of the city, as was he.... The buildings are all fabulous and the colors... There are little castles and cathedrals throughout the entire city, and it's just got a good feel. Take it from this point of view... Ben claims to be a person who took 24 pictures total on his mission - obviously not a huge picture taker - and he took a good amount of photos on this trip. Yea - it's a pretty amazing city. Aside from the beauty, it's got a charged energy about it too... It's not fully explainable, but it's present.

So, we headed to the main square and took in Tyn Church & School, St. Nicholas Church, the Astronomical Clock, and the statue of Jan Hus. We even bought postcards and trdelnik -really good, wrapped sweet-bread. We walked the streets over to the castle and then followed a wedding party (one of MANY we saw there - I think "Destination Wedding" was too literal a term in regards to this place...) up some stairs, past the vineyards, and to a rather beautiful lookout of the city. We took a zillion and one photos before venturing onto the castle grounds. The "castle" itself is whole area, apparently. We saw St. Vitus's beautiful cathedral, and the castle grounds. Royalty and country politicians still live and work there to this day - it's a fully functional place.

We strolled the gardens and enjoyed stumbling onto random buildings, statues, a little waterfall, and cute bridge... It was just nice to wonder. I had my list of things to see, but wasn't even sure what they all were. Haha!

That afternoon we headed to grab a donner sandwich before heading into "Lesser Town" or "Little Town." It really isn't as glamorous as the main city streets with all their spires and grand buildings. (Sidenote: I just spelled "glamorous" by singing the Fergie song... Yea.) What is fabulous about "Little Town" is the little alleys that remind one of Italian alleyways and the colors on the building that make one recall their days strolling Downtown Disney. It's got a little quaintness to it all...

We walked along and randomly stumbled into the Church of Our Lady Victorious, which contains the "Infant Jesus of Prague." It's a small replica of the Christ child, adorned in rich clothing and jewels (green and gold), that sits in a case on the wall of the church's side-alter. It's really beautiful, but nothing overwhelming... nothing to search out, but it was nice to stumble across. I spent time later in the week trying to "stumble across" the Lennon Wall, but that didn't go as well... just sayin'.

We headed back toward the city center and decided that we'd hit up Wenceslas Square, grab something to drink, and decide on what to do with the evening. Now, I'm usually a big planner, right? I've got my trips pretty well down pat... This trip I was WAY more relaxed about everything... I had places written, but just went with it and saw the things on the list all in time - nothing specific. On most of my trips though, I have traveled alone... so I don't plan the evenings. It seems silly to some, I'm sure, but I like to be a bit over-cautious. In a city and country that I don't know, with languages I am unfamiliar, I figure it's best to be in at my hostel by the time it's grown dark. Thus, I am in by no later than 9pm usually if I am alone. So, when Ben turned and asked, "What do we wanna do tonight?" I hadn't actually considered it an option till I was already on the train to get there... I LOVE seeing a city at night though, so it's perfect!

We decided on a Czech music show at a local opera house/theater, followed by hittin' up St. Charles' Bridge for some night-shots. We headed to the theater, found someone who spoke Czech (Ben speaks Russian, so he was stumbling through some basic Czech, but the lady wasn't havin' his attempts...), secured tickets, and headed inside right away, as the show was about to begin. We were quickly ushered in the doors and some random man jumped in front of us, shouting, "Quick picture! Quick picture!" I flashed a cheesy grin, knowing they were craving more money for a photo we could take (I'm obviously not big on that gig.), and then we rushed to grab our seats. We were near the very back, and as the show started we realized that it was not what we imagined...

We were at a Czechoslovakian musical. You read that right. A Czechoslovakian MUSICAL.

As they begin to speak, I started to laugh, realizing we weren't going to get any of this... Ben was smart and checked for subtitles... They were there, but we were sitting too far back to see them... So, we moved up. Security in those places was nothing... In fact, I took pictures (Yes, the man is flying on a giant, bird foot... No, I still don't know why.). Why, you ask? Because no one would believe me if I told them about this crazy production... The plot took forever to develop, but once it did, a fairly predictable and typical ending ensued. However, the steps to get to that ending were all over the place! Some of the voices were good, others rather raw, and the translation between languages HAD to be a bit off. We were laughing through a good deal of the show over translation errors (I hope) and because we couldn't really believe we'd stumbled across this show. Visually, the show was a 10. The sets and costumes were great, and there was SO much to take in through the eyes... I mean, this show was all about spectacle.

Sidenote: Aristotle's Six Principles of Tragedy are as follows: Plot, Character, Thought, Diction Musical, Spectacle. I can still see my teacher, Miss Jones, dancing across the stage to help us remember these in order... I still do. Classic. Anyway, I (along with many others) have adapted this theory amidst all our intake of acted art. Whenever I see a musical, television show, drama, film, etc. I think "What importance does each of these six principles play in the piece?" I can already tell you that shows like The Office or Modern Family - two of my favorites - are more character driven than plot driven. I think this kind of humor is popular right now... It's always had a significant presence in sit-coms, but it's stronger today.

Why am I telling this lovely "sidenote?" Because the Czech musical we saw was mostly spectacle... and when that's the main thing driving it, it says something significant about it not being a very strong musical. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it a lot! It's nothing I'd purchase the music for, or go to again and again... but it was fun! We really did spend most of the time laughing and joking about the craziness of everything that was going on, but that just made it all the better. So, if you're ever in Prague and need something to do at night for under 10-15Euro, and you want a laugh, go see the Baron Parsil!

Sidenotes: They totally broke into Mamma Mia's "Money, Money, Money" song in the middle of the second half - NO JOKE. They stole the song and changed it to be in an Indian style. Second, they all clap in UNISON at the end of the show! No joke here either... Curtain calls start off scattered, and get on a beat! It's a weird feeling. I tried to break it a few times and got some abrasive glances shot in my direction. Bizarre! Haha...

We over toward St. Charles' Bridge after the show was through, but ended up taking the long route somehow and walked along the waterside. It was nice and not too busy... perfection on a Fall evening. We stumbled onto the corner where the Dancing House along the way, so we stole some pictures at night... It looks much cooler at night. We got to the bridge, snapped some night-shots and then headed back to the hostel via the main square and tourist shopping areas, stopping for gelato on the way. Somehow, we chose the most expensive gelato place out of all of them too! Boo. I was content to believe that ours must have tasted dramatically better than the others or something... Haha! Either that or I must resign that we're just stupid... Yea, ours tasted better.

That was day one... More on Prague, tomorrow. The SONG OF THE DAY has a picture slide show of Prague with it! :)

P.S. Before I got on the train there, I dyed my hair.... DARK. Hm.... New me? For now!

Song of the Day: A current favorite off of the new (YES. NEW.) David Archuleta CD is Stompin' the Roses. It's so realtable to things in my life right now... a little TOO much, actually. Haha! SO, here you are - Enjoy! :)


MKS said...

im so glad you loved prague!!

Ash and Matt | A SoCal Story said...

Prague is on our must-do list for out next trip to Europe. So whenever that comes around, I'll have to call you for some tips! It looks so beautiful and I've yet to hear a single bad thing about it.