Friday, August 2, 2013

Visit to Prague

   I have had the luxury to live in Europe for four years.  During that time I was able to travel around to different places and see many things.  I was not fortunate to travel to Prague during that time.  I had always been weary about it, and I still felt that way when Don announced we would be going here for the cohort's international business trip.  We arrived after a long flight and the last thing I wanted to do was take a walking tour of the city, especially in 90+ degree temperatures.  With much internal complaining, we met our guide and headed to explore the streets of Prague.  
   The area around the hotel is reminiscent of many other European cities I have visited.  Old buildings mixed with new ones, small shops and cafes, and the occasional large shopping complex.  However that all changed once the group got off of the tram in the center of the city.  The streets and alleyways are like a step back in time.  Our walked us along various souvenir, crystal and garnet shops to the famous Charles Bridge.  Although hot, the bridge had a sense for grandeur, due to its length and the numerous statues of saints looking down from either side.  From there, we walked to the Old Town Square and marveled at astronomical clock.  Further on we walked to Wenceslas Square, while our guide filled our ears with stories of Mozart, emperors, and how life was during Communist occupation. 
  The second day of the trip proved to me even more amazing.  We went on a guided walking tour of Prague Castle.  I found it amazing that the castle is still used by the current president.  The most amazing feature of the castle was St. Vitus cathedral.  The size and the detail of this church rivals any I have seen in my travels.The views from the castle are simply amazing, as you can see the entire city sprawled out below you.   Immediately after the castle tour, I went on the Segway movie tour.  Having never been on a Segway in my life, I was a little out of my comfort zone.  Those who were with could see this because when I first got on it; it almost bucked me off!  I figured ok...if this is how it is going to be, then at least I will be good for some comic relief.  After a few minutes I was able to get the hang of it and I felt more comfortable.  With the Segway, we were able to climb hills and see some parts of Prague that would have taken hours by foot.  It was also neat to learn what movies have been filmed in Prague, whether the setting was Prague itself, or another European city.
   The final view of the city I got was by boat.  We took an evening two hour cruise with jazz music, and of course, beer!  It was a relaxing time in the open air watching the various landmarks of Prague pass us by.  In contrast to the hot days, the evening cruise was very comfortable.  Everyone in our group seemed to enjoy the atmosphere, especially since our schedule was so hectic.
   Prague is a beautiful city.  I have enjoyed my time here immensely.  Above all, I have enjoyed spending time with the members of the 2014 cohort and the distinguished guests of the 2013 cohort.  Getting away from class and spending time with one another has been the best part of the trip!  I have had spending time with them with good food, good beer, and good conversation!


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