The Estates Theatre at night.
Weâ€™re sorry for the long absence in our posting. Last night we drafted an entry that was subsequently eaten by the Ethernet God of the Pagan Romans. Bummer. It was good.
Real quick, weâ€™re now in Rome. Itâ€™s morning (8am local) and weâ€™re getting ready to hit the streets to see as many sights as possible.
But first we need to catch up on what weâ€™ve done since our last post.
25 Aug. contâ€™d
We love Prague.
As you as you step onto the streets in Old Town Square, you think itâ€™s the most beautiful place youâ€™ve ever seen. Then, you turn the corner to another street, which is then the most beautiful thing youâ€™ve ever seen. It is definitely a fairy tale setting. The movie Amadeus was filmed in Prague, in part because of its untouched beauty. Itâ€™s almost like time stopped â€“ all of the buildings are still hundreds of years old and there is not a Starbucks or McDonaldâ€™s on every corner.
Beth and Randy at Praha Castle.
Randy and I have never been opera fans. In fact, Don Giovanni was the first opera weâ€™ve ever seen. To be honest, I didnâ€™t know what to expect but when we read that it was showing at the same theater in which it premiered, we couldnâ€™t pass it up. Iâ€™m glad that we didnâ€™t. It was one of the most wonderful stage productions I have ever seen. And, I couldnâ€™t help but wonder who sat in our same seats almost 300 years ago at the premier.
The church at Praha Castle, St. Vitus's Cathedral.
On Saturday we started our day with breakfast at our hotel. Which, located on top of a hill, has beautiful views of the city. The hotel breakfast was served on the patio and just being outside was a treat in itself â€“ finally, a location in Europe with warm weather during the summer.
From breakfast, we headed towards Prague Castle and were greeted by towering church bells, the changing of the guard and more breathtaking city views. From the castle, we walked down a long, narrow and charming street of stairs to the Charles Bridge. I told Randy that I was very happy to have been walking down that street as opposed to up that street. Note- when you go to Prague, start with the castle and not the bridge, unless you are deliberately trying for a workout.
St. John Nepomuke statue on Charles Bridge. It was added to the bridge in 1683.
The Charles bridge has a rich history. In 1648, the truce of the Thirty Yearâ€™s War was signed in the middle of the bridge. Today, it is adorned by statues of famous saints and used for pedestrians (mostly tourists).
After crossing the bridge, we continued through town to The Jewish Quarter, which is home to the old Jewish Cemetery, founded in 1478 and for over 300 years was the only burial ground allowed for Jews. Because of the lack of space, people had to buried up to 12 layers deep. It is estimated that over 100,000 people have been buried in this tiny one black city space.
After visiting the Jewish Quarter, we stopped for lunch of meat and Pivo before heading back to the Old Town square to finish some shopping. From there, we went to the Mozart Museum, located in the house where Mozart stayed while finishing Don Giovanni.
The museum is small, but does a good job of describing the relationship between Mozart and the Czechs. An Austrian, Mozart was never fully appreciated by his home country and more welcomed in Prague. As a result, he chose Prague as the premier city for Don Giovanni.
Beth at breakfast.
That was pretty much our day in Praha and we canâ€™t wait to come back.
26 Aug. (Sunday)
Yesterday was a travel day.
We started early in Praha with a communication breakdown between us and our transfer service. No big deal, we still made it to the impressive Praha airport in plenty of time.
We were amazed at the cleanliness and efficiency of the Praha airport. We wish all our airport encounters were more like the positive experience we had there.
Tower at Charles Bridge heading into Old Town.
We had a layover in Brussels. A few weeks ago, Randy emailed a friend and former co-worker who now lives in Brussels, Matt Winslow, and informed him of our somewhat lengthy layover. So, Matt met us at the airport and we were able to visit and chat about the Winslowâ€™s life in Brussels, Texas and national politics, football (the American kind), etc. Matt had with him a friend from his MBA days at UT. We had a really good time yucking it up at an airport bar. In fact, the title of this post comes from a comment made by Matt when we told him about our fascination with the Czech peopleâ€™s seemingly obsession with 80â€™s music (everywhere we went, we heard 80â€™s music blaring from radios).
We parted ways and boarded our plane for Rome. We finally claimed our bags an hour after we landed, and then we had Mario Andretti drive us to our airport. But we made it in one piece.
Once we unloaded our bags in our room, we quickly walked to a neighborhood restaurant, â€śThe La Trattoriaâ€ť (some of you may get this joke, itâ€™s Mickey Blue Eyes). We had a nice, authentic Italian meal and great wine.
And that was the end of our day.