Greetings from Praha! I am finally starting to get on regular schedule with school. With Wednesdays and Fridays off I have plenty of time to discover the city and travel on the weekends! I definitely can’t complain about that. The courses I am taking are History of Jewish Communities, Czech Film History, World War II and New Europe, and Capitalism vs. Communism at Charles University. I will be coming back a European history buff; beware history majors…
I am starting to feel less like a tourist everyday; travelers have even asked me for recommendations. We explored Old Town and had the traditional Czech dessert, Trdlenik. Trdlenik is made from rolled dough and then grilled on a stick and coated with both sugar and cinnamon. It is easy to immerse in the culture in Old Town; there are people playing music, horse drawn carriage rides, traditional Czech foods and artists painting.
We walked to the Lennon Wall near Charles Bridge. Since the 1980’s, the Lennon Wall represented not only a memorial to John Lennon and his ideas for peace, but also a monument to free speech and the non-violent rebellion of Czech youth against the regime. I felt breathless as I read and re-read the words of love and of peace that vibrantly covered the wall. I stared for a long time at the lyrics to The Beatles lyrics painted on the wall:
“All these places have their moments of lovers and friends I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living, in my life I loved you all. And I know I’ll never lose affection for people and things that went before, I know I’ll often stop and think about them in my life I loved you more.”
I thought of friends and family who inspire me everyday. I had no idea it would be such an emotional experience. We even got to leave our mark on the Lennon wall when some girls offered us their paint and brushes. Not many people can say they had the chance to paint on the John Lennon wall so that is a memory I will always cherish.
The weather finally warmed up and a few friends and I went to the beach on Saturday. The beach was really relaxing and a nice change of pace from the city. There are endless activities from beach volleyball courts to ping pong tables set up all along the Vltava River. For anyone who knows me, they know I’m hardly coordinated enough to play sports so we opted to relax in the sand and have dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the beach. Then we went to a music festival a few blocks down from our apartment. We made our way to the front row and ended up singing along in Czech even though we had no idea what it meant. Stands were set up and people were grilling sausages and burgers. I cannot seem to escape the delicious temptations of food and sweets.
We had an ISA excursion to Czech Switzerland, a national park that borders Germany. We took a bus to Czech Switzerland and we hiked for a few hours and had lunch at the top looking out over the mountainous scenery. It was beyond beautiful!
It is hard to believe a month has passed, and still Prague never ceases to amaze me everyday. I have already learned so much about others and myself in the last month and I know I will look back on this experience for the rest of my life. October will be filled with many more memories as I travel to Rome, Berlin and Krakow! With only a few months left I know I’ll take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.