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Marvelous Prague

July 13th, 2009

Prague may have been the single most important stop on our trip, because Czechoslovakia was home to one branch of her family. You could spend days visiting Prague and not tire of it, but given our ambitious itinerary to see as much of Europe as possible, we are not spending too much time at any one city. Imagine skipping a stone flint across a pond — skip skip skip skip before it slows down and sinks. We are skipping across Europe.

We decided, then, to take a walking/bus tour of Prague to see as much as we could. Our guide looked 40 but said he had been giving tours for 35 years, which puts him around my age, 57, I’d guess. I didn’t ask him because he was shy.

We were in a small tour van, about 15 of us. It had been billed as an English-speaking tour but there were French speakers on board, too, and our guide was trilingual — Czech, French and English.  We visited all the “towns” of Prague — New Town, Old Town, Lesser Town (on the way up to the castle) and the phenomenal Castle town, with the only functioning castle in Europe and perhaps the finest cathedral I have ever seen. I was more impressed by it than by Notre Dame, which we saw on our last trip to Europe to visit Daughter.  (Daughter is expanding our horizons, you see.)

While walking the castle grounds, I asked the guide what is the greatest frustration of his business. “It’s when I’m told I’ll have a van filled with English speakers but when I get in, I discover there’s not a single English speaker among them. They are Turkish, Chinese, Portuguese… and there is just nothing for me to do.”

I won’t go into a blow-by-blow description of our day, but rest assured we ate local food (for dinner, Jeanne had what she proclaimed as the best duck of her life, and Daughter and I had pork ribs; for lunch, the ladies had beef goulash and I had lamb). We ended the day at the ballet, “The Best of Swan Lake.” Because of ticket confusion — we wanted reserved seats and were sold general-admission seats — we were re-seated in the third row center. 

Back now at the campsite, I’ll see how many photos I can download into an album called “Prague” for you to click on if you want to see some of the sights. As time permits — maybe after we return home — I’ll add more. 

Prague is very photogenic.

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