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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 6
Europe 2005
London, Paris, Normandy, Prague


Carol and David  
Day 6

Carol slept like a baby. I, on the other hand, woke up every hour, on the hour, thanks to the grand Old Town Square clock, which sounded like it was in our bathroom. Our room is fantastic – ultra modern, astoundingly comfortable, with a terrific queen-sized bed. I watched Carol as she got into bed last night – she was sound asleep before her head hit the pillow.


We woke at 8:30, very late for us, and showered and dressed for the day. After a very delicious breakfast of eggs, sausages, fruit, cheeses and excellent coffee, we headed to the ancient Jewish quarter. Our first stop was the “Old-New” synagogue – the oldest in Europe (built in 1270). It is hard for us Americans to comprehend such history. It was here that Rabbi Low conjured up the myth of the Golem. We asked so many questions that a wonderful Czech woman named Irene took us under her wing and gave us a private tour. She was very informative and sweet and we thanked her profusely (with a 50 koruna note).


Statue in Prague


The Jewish Quarter in Prague


Irene and David


Then on to the Jewish Museum, which was very crowded but very interesting, then out into the somber, ancient Jewish cemetery with the thousands of fading tombstones. In the Museum we were especially moved by the thousands of names written on the walls of the Czech Jews murdered by the Nazis. For me the most emotional moments were spent in a room lined with artwork from young Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust.


Ancient tombstones in the cemetery in the Jewish Quarter in Prague


Carol at the Jewish cemetery in Prague


It was a very emotional morning and at 1:00 we walked to Old Town Square and sat outside in a café and enjoyed a lunch of goulash soup, French fries, beer and fantastic people-watching. The Italians definitely seem to lead the tourist population in numbers. They are also, in our opinion, the most attractive as well.


Guy hanging out a window in Prague near the Jewish Quarter


A lamp shop in Prague


As we sat eating lunch, a young Russian fellow named Vladimir stood nearby and cut out my profile on blank paper. We thought he did a good job so we gave him 200 koruna ($9) for it. We liked it so much we asked him to cut Carol's profile as well. He was very nice and we snapped his photo.


Vladimir and Carol


The Old Town Clock


Characters on the Old Town Clock


Characters on the Old Town Clock

Over the next couple of hours we window-shopped through Old Town Square, then strolled to Karluv Most (Charles Bridge) which is lined with vendors on both sides, walked across the Vlatava River (a tributary of the Elbe) and into Mala Strana (“Lesser Quarter”) and sat in Malostranske Square where we rested with beer, a Cohiba and cappuccino. Excellent spot, in the shadows of the old Castle, for people-watching.


Kentucky Fried Chicken menu in Prague
Carol on the Charles Bridge
The Castle viewed from the Charles Bridge


Blind musicians on the Charles Bridge
Carol on the Charles Bridge
Musician on the Charles Bridge


Statue on the Charles Bridge
Puppeteer on the Charles Bridge


Cobbles in Prague
Cobbles in Prague
Cobbles in Prague
Cobbles in Prague
Cobbles in Prague
Cobbles in Prague

Cathedral at New Town Square in Prague


We had heard/read that Prague is reminiscent of Paris. We don't see or feel that very much. It more reminds us of Italy, Florence particularly, and a little bit of Amsterdam (the trolley.) It is so relaxing to be sitting in a café in the very center of Europe with my best pal.


Our next several hours were spent slowly touring the Lesser Quarter. We passed several embassies and watched the Czech police examine all passing vehicles for bombs. They used mirrors on poles in order to look underneath. It rained on and off but not very hard. One place that caught our attention was the Wallenstein Palace with its interesting walls of man-made stalagtites. After wandering around quite a bit, we walked back across the Vlatva to Old Town Square and sat at an outdoor café and had a Budweiser – this is an original Czech beer, not the mainstream American brand – potato and mushroom soup, goulash soup and garlic bread. As soon as we sat under the tent-like awning, it began to pour but only for a minute or two. We were snug and enjoyed every moment.


Carol at the American Embassy in Prague

Venetian-like passageway in Prague's New Town

Carol near the man-made stalagtites at the Wallenstein Palace


At 5:30pm (8:30am Los Angeles time) we called Carol's folks and her sisters Arlene and Suzanne. We wish they could be enjoying this with us and it was nice to hear their voices. We moved from café to café, people-watching and listening to the many different languages and accents. U.S. English is scarce. Most prevalent is Italian, German and Russian. As usual, we are noticing the universal “sameness” among people.


A horse-drawn procession ambles by our cafe


We then window-shopped down winding, cobblestone streets until we found ourselves near the hotel. We examined several menus at several local restaurants before deciding on Dahab, a middle-eastern restaurant less than 20 yards from the hotel. Dahab was recommended to us by Charlie, who had picked us up at the airport and it was an excellent choice. My chicken with grilled onions and rice was superb – best meal so far on this trip. Carol had chicken tangine with vegetables, olives and couscous, and it also was delicious.


Carol at Dahab
David at Dahab

After dinner, at 9pm, we drifted slowly back to the hotel and fell into bed.


Pedometer reading for today - 6 miles

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