Out to the airport to pick up Mom. Had lovely old man sitting next to me on the bus who kept pointing things out that he thought I might be interested in (in a smattering of various languages, just to cover all his bases), so kept hearing things like "Holiday Inn", "Strom", "das auto". Highly informative. Once Mom got settled, we headed out to Old Town for an easy afternoon of strolling around, poking in and out of souvenir shops, and checking out the Christmas Market. Had some hot wine and about 329409 pounds of Prague Ham and watched the astronomical clock go off. Worked off the ham by hiking up all of the steps in the tower in the Church of our Lady before Tyn to check out the view...
*Disclaimer - I played around with the contrast. Prague in the middle of December is not so fantastically colorful - it's mostly grey.
Sorry to kill the dream.
Happy Birthday to me. Woke up feeling old, and yet incredibly immature for my age. Remember being little and thinking you'd have it totally together by this time? Hell, I'd settle for slightly together. :) We spent the day roaming around New Town. Had lunch at Song Lam, which has delicious Pho and little eggrolly type things and is the perfect food for rainy, cold days. Had dinner at Apetit @ Lucerna Palace so that Mom could try out some Czech food (and Czech beer, of course):
Mom had the Svíčková, a personal fave. Nom nom. Spent the night planning our weekend trip to Vienna.
I finnnnnnally got to check out the Jewish Quarter, Josefov. In the process of getting there, we found a couple little shops that we had to peek into. The first was Apropos, which is full of gorgeous fabulous sparkly things that I must own all of. You can see their website here: Apropos. Want it all. Then found another little shop that sold Reisenthel bags. Got one that is the perfect size for weekends away - like for Vienna! Yay! I never can say no to cute luggage.
We got tickets to the Jewish Museum, which actually consists of a number of different synagogues and the old Jewish Cemetery. Each tells the story of Prague Jews throughout history - daily life, religious ceremonies, and of course, the Holocaust. Pinkas Synagogue's walls are covered with the names of the 80,000 Czech Jews who died in the Holocaust and is a completely overwhelming thing to see. The Pinkas Synagogue also has a display of art created by children being held in the Terezin concentration camp/ghetto before deportation to other camps. It's absolutely heartbreaking.
Terezin was used by Nazis as propaganda, aimed at showing the world that they created model detainment camps full of happy, healthy inhabitants, with orchestras, art, theater, and education. The International Red Cross was invited in to see for themselves the situation that existed there, though only after a number of inhabitants had been shipped out to Auschwitz. There were approximately 15,000 children sent to the children's dorms at Terezin - only 93 survived.
The Spanish Synagogue also has a number of interesting documents and photos from Terezin. If you can peel your eyes away from devouring the stunning Moorish designs throughout the massive synagogue, you'll learn quite a bit.
No tour of Josefov is complete without a trip to the cemetery. Because this was the only place that Jews were allowed to be buried, bodies had to be stacked, and now the cemetery is approximately 12 layers deep and absolutely crammed full of tombstones.
Had worked up quite an appetite by this point, and were rather chilly, so went in search of a cup of tea and something to nibble on. Ended up in Bakeshop, home to the most scrumptious (& expensive) bites from heaven. Had mushroom quiche that was absolutely divine, and bought an apricot almondy thing that was almost like shortbread and so.effing.good. Bakeshop shall be evil to both my wallet & my waist.
Went to one of my favorite places anywhere later on... IKEA. Everyone knows my dream job would be IKEA furniture putter-togetherer. Given that it's so huge here, maybe there's a market for that after all :) Got a desk, which will totally transform my life. No more lesson planning on my bed and falling asleep using text books for pillows with a notebook poking me in the back. Ahhhh!
It was time to check out Prague Castle. Apparently, we were not the only ones with this on the agenda, as lines were milllllles long, despite the rain. Decided to poke around Hradcany instead and let the crowds clear, so we went down the castle stops and in and out of some little galleries and shops. Found a little shop that sold adorable deco-y hats, and got a very sassy chapeau.
Came back to the castle just in time for a whirlwind tour of the important bits. Mom is definitely a fan of Golden Lane, though who isn't? It's so freakin' cute, looks like Disney made it.
Then it was an early night so prepare for a super early train to Vienna, which I will tell you all about... tomorrow. It's time for me to get some sleep. Dobrou noc & dobře spát!