Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Wonderful Mix of Old & New in Prague

Dear Em,
There were so many reasons why I loved our adventure in Prague, but my favorite was the amazing combination of modern & historical. While we were in Prague, we met a couple English travelers. One of them asked me if I was amazed by how much history we were surrounded with in Prague. I told him I was. I truly loved it. He told me, "I like American history a lot too." I blurted out, "Why, because we don't have any?" I was kind of surprised by my words. I had never really thought of it that way, but it was hard for me not to when I was surrounded by such ancient history. America seems almost like a toddler in comparison to the adulthood of Prague, & there were historical reminders of that throughout the modern city. The English traveler laughed at me. "No, it's just younger history, like me," he said (he was in his seventies).

I know we have history in our country. History has always been one of my favorite subjects, but I'm not often reminded of it when I walk down the streets of my state. I feel like for the most part, when things become old in the U.S., we knock them down or gut them to make way for the new. I don't feel a sense of history all around us.

Prague was much different. It was a modern city, with modern conveniences. Yet, there was evidence of it's history and amazingly detailed architecture all around us. One of our favorite spots in Prague was the Old Town Square, which dates back to the 12th century. There you will find the the Old Town Hall Tower & Astronomical Clock. You'll also find the square filled with food & craft vendors. We enjoyed yummy crepes, sausage, & hot wine.

We walked over the Charles Bridge, one of the most astonishing civil Gothic-style bridges in the world, almost every day. Construction on it started in 1357, & it is decorated with 30 mostly baroque-style statues. There are beautiful views of the city from the bridge. During the day, it is a bustling & fun place, because cars do not drive across it. Instead, it is filled with vendors selling art, jewelry, & souvenirs.

Just across the Charles Bridge, we made our way to the Prague Castle. It is the largest ancient castle in the world. The history of it stretches back to the 9th century & is where Kings of Bohemia, Roman Emperors, & the Presidents of Czechoslovakia & the Czech Republic have held office. I've seen castles in Ireland (& one in Napa), but nothing on this scale. These castle walls held a whole city. I felt a little like I was walking onto a scene in Game of Thrones (I actually felt like that quite a bit while we were in Prague). Perhaps the most intricate & ornate was the St. Vitus Cathedral.

Gargoyles! Both scary & amazing at the same time.

These were painted on the ceilings of the castle. How Game of Thrones is this (or maybe how Prague Castle is Game of Thrones)?

There were guards marching through & guarding the castle walls. It was kind of fun for me.

I was struck by the beauty of the of historical buildings throughout Prague. I think sometimes we get into the mind frame that old things are dark & ugly...& well, old, but it was the historical details that made this modern city truly beautiful. It will forever change the way I look at things & feel so fortunate to have experienced it all.

For now, we'll just have to settle with the cardboard castle that's in your room.

I love you so,

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