Monday, September 26, 2011

PRAGUE – CZECH REPUBLIC – Commercialism, Communism, a Classical Concert and Creepy Characters

So today we went off to explore a little bit more of Prague on our own.

Its been another beautiful blue skied day – about 24 degrees – no cardie needed, not even of an evening.

Our first stop was the Charles Bridge, as it was so packed with tourists yesterday we didn’t get a proper look.

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It was less busy today.

The bridge is lined with statues of saints and martyrs some of which people rub for luck.

I rubbed a doggie statue which I hope was the Saint of doggie luck, it might be dodgy luck but I will remain positive.

(Graham says its all a load of poppy cock, bah humbug)

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There was also this interesting shrine – people had put padlocks all over it and I saw others touch the icon and then throw something, that looked like a piece of screwed up paper into the river. ( I guess with a prayer written on it).

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We then took a wander through the Old Town.

There are thousands of shops which are amazing but very, very tourist orientated.

There are windows full of sparkling gemstones, garnets and amber.

Other shops have wooden toys or colourful marionettes.

There are painted eggs or eggs decorated with crystals.

Delicate glass Christmas decorations, amazing displays of bohemia crystal in every colour you could imagine.

(Mum, you would love  it)

I especially loved the Babushka dolls all beautifully hand painted in the brightest colours, I nearly bought one until we did the exchange rate in our heads and realised it was au$200. Beautiful thing, but really quite impractical. I bought a nice piece of Bohemia Crystal instead, a little sweet dish.

And, of course they are a lots of shops selling the obligatory snow globes, fridge magnets and t shirts that are found in any tourist destination in any part of the world.

Then after a lunch of that truly international dish – pizza – we ventured off for some education at the Museum of Communism, which is ironically located next to the casino and above that symbol of western capitalism, McDonalds.

What a horrible thing communism was/ is, the poor people got poorer and the rich got richer.

The people were brainwashed and lied to.

There was a display with a classroom which made us realise that if we had of gone to school in Czechoslovakia this is how it would have been for us.

Once communism ended the life span of the Czech people increased by five years as the farming practices and the pesticides used were poisoning them.

Then we watched an emotional film on the 1989 revolution – Thousands Czech people, many of our own generation, protesting in the Wenceslas square where we had walked that day. They where being physically beaten by their own police force.

No wonder people in this part of the world do not trust the police.

It brought to my mind this lyric…..

‘Australians all let us rejoice,

for we are young and free’

Anyway, the Czech people seem to be dealing with their post communism life rather well.

They even have a pub called the Propaganda Pub!

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I’ll tell you a tale as told to us by one of our tour guides.

High on the hill, overlooking the city there once stood a giant statue of Stalin.

This was erected at great expense, despite the poverty of the city and the need for hospitals and healthy food etc..

The statue was eventually demolished.

When the city was visited by Michael Jackson in the mid 90’s they briefly erected a statue of him on that spot!

(this is true – I checked it on Wikipedia)

But the site now contains a giant metronome. To remind the people that life can change in a beat.

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Anyway, to continue on a more light hearted note…

This evening we attended an organ recital in a beautiful old church, Beethoven, Handel, Bach etc..

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And a girl with a beautiful voice like an angel sang and I nearly cried.

 

Then for something completely different we went on a ghost tour to learn about all the creepy characters of Prague.

We were assured by the guide  that the stories were all 30% true, all very silly really. 

 

 

 

Until next time, Red heartRed heartRed heart Kim

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