DAY 3 – Tuesday, June 25, 2019 – Prague
After a delicious breakfast at the Penzion Ganymed, eleven people in our group took the bus with Misa and George to their ancestral places.
Marlene, Barbara, and I went with fourteen others on a tour of Prague. Misa’s colleagues, Hana and Sylvee, were our tour guides/babysitters for the day.
Our tour started at Vsyhrad “Upper Castle” where we saw views of New Town, St. Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle.
We stopped at the rotunda of St. Martin with the cannonball embedded in the bricks.
St. Martin of Tours was born in 316 or 317. As a teenager, he was baptized into the church despite opposition from his parents. At the age of 15, he was forced to enlist in the army. He became a calvary officer and earned the respect of his soldier for his kindness and humility. In the winter of 334. Martin tore his cloak in two to share with a beggar. Afterwards, he had a vision of Christ wearing the cloak that he gave to the beggar. For Martin, this was a sign that he should stop being a military soldier and become a soldier of Christ. He finally left the military in 356, and became a monk in 358. He eventually founded a monastery in Marmoutier, near Tours. In 271, at the request of the people, he was elected the Bishop of Tours. Martin died November 11, 397.
The St. Martin Rotunda is the only preserved building from the Middle Ages at Vsyehrad. It dates to the late 11thcentury. The cannonball embedded in the eastern wall dates to the conquest of Prague and Vsyehrad by the Prussian Army in 1757.
We walked on a stone path overlooking the maternity hospital where most babies in Prague are born.
Dick scolded a few people for spending too much time taking photos and not keeping up with the group. Dick’s childhood friend, Dan, read m my mind and questioned, “What’s the hurry?”
We wandered around the Church of St. Peter and Paul and the Vsyehrad Cemetery. It was very hot. After a short break, we headed into the city.
We had lunch at Havelska Koruna, a deli that served traditional Czech cuisine at bargain prices in the heart of Prague. The server was not happy that Barbara and I just had a chicken breast with ham, cheese, tomato, and egg – with no giant side of rice or pasta.
After lunch, we walked around areas of Old Town and admired the architecture of this amazingly old city.
Old Town (Stare Mesto) is the most lived-in part of Prague. Old Town Square, Old Town Hall and its astronomical clock, Estates Theater, Tyn Church, Charles Bridge, and the Prague Jewish Quarter are all in Old Town.
A third “babysitter”, Valesty, joined us. We had a short beer/soda break on a secluded patio, and then walked past the Old Jewish Cemetary to the Museum of Decorative Arts.
There was an exhibition on glass and another one on textiles.
The most fascinating exhibit to me, though, was one called ‘Returning Identify’. It included artifacts that had been seized by Nazis from Jews under Nuremberg Laws enacted in 1939.
Eighty years ago, on June 21, 1939, Konstantin Von Neurath, the Reich Protector in Moravia and Bohemia, introduced the Nuremberg Laws. It defined who was considered a Jew by the Nazi authorities, forbade Jews from dealing freely with their own property, unless it was authorized by the Reich and required Jews to declare to the German authorities all collections of articles of gold, silver, platinum, precious stones, and pearls work 10,000 crowns or more. Later, the German authorities forced Jews to surrender all of their assets to Nazi organizations or seized and confiscated their property directly. The art market experienced a boom during these years, and even neutral countries were involved in the art trade. This did not cease when the war ended. Allied forces searched for properties in Germany that had been confiscated by the Nazis in order to return it to its rightful owners. However, theft by members of the Allied forces was common.
We got on Tram 17 and headed back to PRISTAVISTE. On the walk from the tram stop back to our hotel, a crazy man in the tunnel yelled at a couple of the “kids”. It’s quite scary when you don’t understand the language.
When we got back to the hotel, we rested for a bit and waited for our group to go to dinner. Barbara and I were antsy. We wanted to get going sooner, but we were afraid we would miss meeting up with our group. Come to find out . . . there is a bar right next door to our hotel that we could have visited. Our group walked past that bar and another bar on the same side of the street, and then crossed the road and stopped at the Brew Pub. Misa and George went in and decided we should go back to the last place we passed. The wait staff and bartender did a great job serving a large group without notice. We had pork and French fries.
NA STRAH VEE – Cheers!
Barbara was corrected by the bartender. “Thank you” is DIKWEE, not DICKEY. After dinner, our group got up to leave. I still had half of a beer left, and Barbara and I had just struck up a conversation with the people sitting next to us. We asked Marlene if she wanted to stay, but she declined. Barbara ordered another beer after the rest of our group left. Our new friends were: Peter, Paul, and Jinik. We learned a lot!
1 beer = 1 PIVO; 2-4 beers – 2-4 PIVAS; 5+ beer = 5+ PIV.
Young people don’t say DIKWEE; they just say “Thanks”.
They told us about a plum liquor, SLIVOVITZ; they though we should take 5 liters of it home as a Czech souvenir. One = medicine; two = crazy! They taught us a toast that translated to, “Go in and go out” – and please don’t rub (burn) along the way. We learned later this plum liquor, which is clear of color, is like moonshine.
It took a while – in fact, I think that’s when Jinik bought us another beer, but we learned about NAMES Day. St. Barbara’s day is April 12! OMG! 4/(4+8)! Barbara’s lucky birthday numbers! Mary is celebrated on December 9 (my brother’s birthday).
Barbara learned some naughty words. All I remember is HLOEPA DIVKA, dumb bitch. That’s when Jinik bought a second round. I was full and tired; I gave my beer to Paul. Then, Barbara and I split hers.
We said our good-byes and headed back to the hotel at 11:00 pm. As we arrived at the gate to Penzion Ganymed, we realized that Marlene had taken the keys. How were we going to get through three sets of locked doors? We thought we may have to ring David, the owner and concierge. Alas, the gate was open. Just as I was wondering if the door into the hotel would be open, I heard “click” as Barbara securely closed the gate behind us. Oops! If the hotel door is not open, we’ll be trapped here between the locked hotel door and the locked gate. Luckily, the door was propped open. Well, that isn’t a very secure hotel. We climbed up the stairs to Room 6.
Poor Marlene had been worried about us for hours. After a frantic scolding, she told us how she had just gone down and propped open the door and unlatched the gate so we could get back in. All’s well that ends well!
Do you know any naughty words in a foreign language?