Monday, April 13, 2009

This week my parents came to Prague. They stayed at an apartment very close to the kolej so I could walk there and meet them. With the apartment came the tour guide Katarina. She is extremely nice and knowledgeable and gives very detailed tours of Prague and any where in the Czech Republic. The first day I was there I walked up to the apartment to meet them, as mom had told me to, and no one was there. They forgot about me. So I went back to the kolej and waited for them and then we had an early dinner at the monk restaurant because I was hungry and I wanted to go to one of the other literature classes open mike night. So then I went to the open mike night and it was really good. After that I met the Howitzer and my mom at Cafe Louvre for dessert.

The next day my dad and I went running in the morning and then I went back to my room to shower and have kolej breakfast. Unfortunately when I went to shower there was no hot water! Luckily I was able to just walk up to the apartment and shower there. Then we went to the Lubkowic Museum and walked around Prague for a while and eventually had a lunch of fried street food in Old Town Square. After that we met up with Katarina for our tour. She took us to the Jewish Quarter but everything was closed because it was Passover so we could only look at everything from the outside. Then we went around Old Town Square and she told us the history of everything. This all took four hours and was very tiring. It was very informative though.

On Friday we went to Terezin. Terezin was a fortress originally built for military battles. It was then turned into a work camp where people would go during World War II and the Holocaust before being shipped off the concentration camps. It was an extremely disturbing place and Jan's mother actually died there. We saw rooms where prisoners were kept and hundreds of people would live in places meant to hold maybe 20. There were also cells where people would be forced to sit in the dark and others that did not provide enough oxygen. These places would be freezing in the winter and hot in the summer and it these were obviously terrible conditions for people to live in. People in this camp were forced to lay the railroad tracks that would be taken to the extermination camps. Terezin was also used as the show camp for the Red Cross to show them that prisoners were being treated well and had a show bathroom that was never used and did not actually function. It was also where people were involved in the arts and the Nazis took advantage of this to show that it was a place where Jews could live separate from others and with their own kind. It was very disturbing. What was even more disgusting was the fact that the officers had a swimming pool and nice apartments for themselves to use and prisoners would only discover this before they were about to be executed. Going to Terezin was a very strange and sad experience. Another thing that I found very strange is that people still live in the town. We saw kids playing in the park and people just walking around. They were also riding their bikes and walking on the train tracks.

On Saturday we did something a little more upbeat for their last day in Prague. We went to Karlstejn Castle. It was less than an hour away and was at the top of a giant hill. We walked up there and the views were spectacular. We did a tour of the castle and were also able to walk around the outside and see the beautiful views. After the castle we headed back to Prague where Mom and I went shopping at Wenceslas Square since I did not realize that the weather would get this warm in Prague and I did not actually bring any spring clothes. Then we went back and relaxed and wanted to go to dinner at the other monk restuarant but for some reason it was closed. So we went to another place that ended up being very good and we sat inside but had a great view of all of Prague. After dinner we just went to the Hanging Coffee Pot for a drink because they wanted to see it and then we just hung out in the kolej for a few minutes because my parents had to wake up early for their flight home.

On Sunday my friends and I went to Radost for Easter brunch. It was really good and we had a lot of fun. Then Joanna and I went to the grocery store and walked there since it was such a nice day.

Today we did not have classes since it is Easter monday. On Easter Monday in the Czech Republic the boys whip the girls. It is a very strange tradition. While I was running I ran past some young teenage boys with a whip and one start to run behind me. This would have been extremely scary if I did not know that it was just a tradition so I turned around and just stared at them so they stopped. They looked about 14 so they probably thought I was their age. Then later we all went to a really nice park and just hung out and read for a while.


  1. wow, how fun to have your folks there
    I love it, Howie "the chick magnet" that is soo funny
    Terezin must have been very sad but so important to never forget
    Love you and miss you
    your GM

  2. Mary, just what do you find funny about that???

  3. When you say they whip the girls do you mean they actually hit them with a whip?!?!?!?

  4. yes! they wake them up by whipping them for "good luck" and to make them pretty.