11 December, 2004

Prague Day 1

It was a nailbitingly cold day in Prague. The temperature outside is approximately 27 degrees F. While I am not cold (I guess my standard is when I am shivering), without my cold weather gears I am a little uncomfortable if I were to stand still for too long. For that reason I have been on my feet all day, constantly moving around Prague's old quarters. The only time I stopped is when I am inside, or if I stop to inquire about ticket prices for concerts.

Prague takes its music seriously. Aside from the Czech National Concert Hall, almost every other street corner saw churches and cathedrals advertising its own concerts. Many offerings involve Christmas music. While I am intrigued about the Prague National Marionette Company's performance of Don Giovanni tonight, I think I will instead visit the Church of sv Mikulas' Christmas concert (oddly enough for a Christmas concert, the prominent feature of this performance is Mozart's Requiem).

Prague is a beautiful town. In the city center, where almost all of the city's feature attractions are at, roccoco, art nouveau, gothic, and baroque architecture compete with each other. Even with the winter cold, tons of tourists are here. While the downside of the mad crush of visitors makes the atmosphere a little Disneyland-like, complete with t-shirt and trinket stores, Prague is definitely worth seeing.

Praguers are a friendly lot. They seem happy even in the cold and welcome travelers to their city. The Czechs seem to be able to go from Czech to German to English without any problems. I wish I have that sort of language ability. Along with my Austrian roommate at the hostel, we plan to visit a neighborhood pub tonight to sample Czech goulash and pilsen beer.

However, I question how the locals can afford their own city. The average Czech makes around 30-40 crowns per hour. Paying 29 crowns a beer is almost 1/8 of a Czech worker's daily wages. Noentheless, they love their beer here.

It seems like such a shame that I only have today and tomorrow morning in this city. I would like to return one day.

On December 12, 2004 I will leave the Czech Republic and make my way to Dresden. I will probably bunk down in Dresden or Leipzig for the night and return to Frankfurt with next morning's 6am train for my plane back to the States. If I stay in Dresden, I will visit the Semper Opera House and try to get tickets to an opera. It is a bargain at around €13 a ticket.

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