After finishing up my classes in Berlin, I packed up all my suitcases and left the student dorms at Goerzallee on Saturday, July 12. I can't say I was particularly sad to leave the dorms, but I was certainly sad to say goodbye to all the people I had met there! Lennart, a previous exchange student, was kind enough to let me leave my two suitcases at his apartment for two and a half weeks. What a guy! With just a backpack and a purse, I headed off to Prague with three other student from my program.
The ride to Prague from Berlin was very beautiful, as we followed a river and some mountains. And when we got to Prague - wow. I had no idea the city would be so beautiful! This is the view from the rooftop of our hostel.
On our first night, we walked around and found a place to eat dinner and watch the World Cup game. The next day, we spent the entire day walking around the city, just exploring on our own. The hostel was just a short walk from the old town center. We walked around a market with souvenirs and fresh fruit on our way to the old town square. My pictures of the square aren't great - mostly because it is such a touristy area that there are lots of people in each one. I just loved the old, painted facades of each building around the square, as well as the clock tower and fountain. We hung out a bit in the square before walking towards the famous Charles Bridge. I was absolutely gushing the entire time over how beautiful I found the city. Every direction I looked, I saw something I wanted to look at! The Charles Bridge was definitely one of the most beautiful parts of the city. There are enormous gates at each end of the bridge, and across the river the red roofs and churches make such a gorgeous panorama. Also along the bridge are statues and lots of vendors with paintings and jewelry.
As we crossed the bridge, we saw a market down below, and went to investigate. It was an annual French market, where they mostly sold bread, cheese, wine, and spreads. There was also a small band playing French music at the end! I thought it was adorable!
Across the Charles Bridge is a small square, a monastery, a park, and a palace. We went up in a tower to look back over the city, which was incredible. We also went in a church that was probably the most beautiful church I've ever seen. It was so grand and so many decorations were painted gold! I couldn't believe my eyes. We stayed in the church for a very long time.
We also walked up to the monastery and to a tower in the park. The tower was a replica of the Eiffel Tower, and people say it is higher than the Eiffel Tower... because it's on a huge hill! It was nowhere near as big.
We took a look, and then headed back to the monastery to try the beer there. It was great! Prague is known for its beer, and this was definitely the best beer we had there. The monks also had this cute method for beer-making on the wall. Dad, do you use the same method? :)
Later, we walked back across a different bridge to get a view of the Charles Bridge.
That night we watched Germany WIN the World Cup! It was definitely sad to not be in Berlin for the final game, and I heard from a few friends who were still there that it was crazy when Germany won! It was still great to watch, though! It was also great to sit down - we walked a lot that day!!
On Monday we took a tour of the city and found out what we had been looking at the day before. In the afternoon we met up with one of our old exchange students, Selma, who lives in Munich! It was so great to see her! The five of us went to visit the old Jewish district of Prague, which has an incredible cemetery as well as tons of artifacts from before the second World War. Prague had a big Jewish population then, and the Jewish district was used as a Jewish ghetto for a bit. By that night, I was exhausted from so much walking, and I went to sleep early.
On Tuesday, we took a tour of the palace. The tour didn't go inside the palace, but we toured the palace grounds, which were beautiful! This church was particularly impressive. Also, here is another picture of the view!
After the tour, we went to see the garden at the Senate, which has peacocks, a coy pond, a wall of fake stalagmites (or stalagtites? I always forget which is which), and owls. The Senate building was beautifully painted as well!
That's all from Prague!