Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving, Prague 2013

"Prague never lets you go.  The Dear little mother has sharp claws." -Franz Kafka

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, we drove to Prague in the Czech Republic.  Now I realize I am that girl that says, "this place is definitely my favorite!" For each new city we visit.  But I must say this time... With certainty... This city speaks to me, it's artists, music, history, architecture, food, people, the language, the culture... It's a Mecca of magnificent beauty that sings to my soul... Okay that is a little dramatic but it really is awesome.

The Christmas market (which comes highly recommended in Prague) was just setting up so we were able to parruse the vendor's stands along Prague's Old Town cobblestone streets.  For less than $10 Patrick picked out a journal, Rowan picked out a hand painted wood carved puppet, Liam a hand painted train, and Teddy a collectors coin.  I highly recommend visiting Prague before they switch over to the Euro dollar!

Street performers are on many corners.  I have realized mimes are in great abundance.  Liam told me the one he posed for a photo with is his "new friend."  There was also another street performer making the biggest bubbles I have ever seen with rope and two sticks.  With a crowd of children gathered around, he gave Patrick a shot at making his own.

We saw several foot massage places with customers in the windows wit their feet soaking in a fish aquarium, while small fish would eat the dead skin off the bottom of their soles.

We all genuinely enjoyed the local food.  I had Czek goulash twice.  I can only describe it like a stew with either chuck beef or pork.  We dined on potato and bread dumplings, cheese plates, some of the most delicious sauerkraut I have ever had, and of course... more pork.  What is funny is since we have moved to this region of Europe the biggest choice you have is pork.. Yet I have not seen one pig since our arrival.
We walked the Old Town. New Town, the Jewish quarter/cemetery, the astronomical clock, Saint Nicholas Church, and Charles Bridge.  Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and Bohemia proper.  Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava RiverPrague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100-year existence. The area on which Prague was founded was settled as early as the Paliolithic age.  Prague was the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of Czechoslavokia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Year's War and in 20th-century history, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.

Prague Castle is a castle in Prague where the kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslavokia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept within a hidden room inside it.  The Guinness Book of World Records lists Prague Castle as the largest ancient castle in the world.

The Prague astronomical clock is a medieval astronomical clock located in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still working.

The Old Jewish Cemetery, the Jewish Quarter of Prague in the Czech Republic. It was in use from the early 15th century (the oldest preserved tombstone, the one of Avigdor Kara, dates back to 1439) until 1787. Its ancestor was a cemetery called "The Jewish Garden", which was found in archaeological excavations under the Vladislavova street, New Town. The numbers of grave stones and numbers of people buried there are uncertain, because there are up to 10 layers of bodies. Jewish people were not allowed to be buried outside of the Jewish cemetery.  So to solve that problem, they would take off the headstone, throw down some more soil, and layer the bodies like a taco salad and slap the headstones on the top layer.  That is why there are headstones leaning on one another. It has been estimated that there are approximately 12,000 tombstones presently visible, and there may be as many as 100,000 burials in all. Liam felt the desperate need to touch each and every headstone within his tiny reach.

We made a quick rest stop on the way home in the village of Rothenburg.  With one of the most famous Christmas markets in Germany, it is an incredible intact village from the 1500's complete with a protective wall surrounding its perimeter.  
As we drove back home into our quaint little village of Weilerbach, Christmas band music filled the crisp evening air, decorative trees and Christmas lights lit up the corner to our small neighborhood, and locals stood on our street corner Christmas market sipping Gluwein (a warm spiced wine) visiting, laughing, and being merry.  

Daniel and kiddos, Prague.

Love all the ornate doorways.

Old Town.

Another doorway

The Bubble Master.

Watch out, Patrick!

Fun popping bubbles with Patrick having a go at it.


A tourist getting the dead skin eaten off his feet.

Us at the palace.

Prague Castle

Patrick on the castle grounds

Daniel and I had a child on our shoulders at any given time.
This is how your tour Europe and get a work out!

Impressive castle gates.

Patrick and the guard.

Teddy and Daniel taking in the view of Prague.


Patrick and I on Thanksgiving day.

Liam keeping things real.

Acordian player at dinner, this woman in the hat was singing with him. 
This restaurant is over 600 years old.  They serve one beer.
It has not changed.

Give thanks.

Marylou and Rowan.

4 in a row.


Astronomical clock.

All gussied up at the astronomical clock.

Jewish headstones.

Jewish cemetery.

Teddy in the cemetery.

Liam touching each and every stone.

The big boys.

Charles Bridge

Chilling on the stairs of Saint Nicholas

The beggars always held this position.

View on the Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge View.


Liam's new friend.

Old well in Rothenburg

Carolers in Rothenburg

Teddy's Rothenburg

Patrick's new ride.

More beautiful doors.

UP on the perimeter wall.

View of Rothenburg.

Another door!

Guarding the Palace, Prague in the background.

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