Thursday, September 18, 2014

Prague Promenade

Our final full day in Prague was one of those ultimate tourist experiences. Despite having had quite a full day of sightseeing and partying the day before, we created a jam-packed schedule for ourselves, beginning with a tour of the Jewish Quarter. We had heard this was a good cultural thing to explore, as there are many beautiful synagogues and cemeteries to explore, though of course the old Jewish ghettos are no longer in existence here. It was admittedly a long tour and the guide, while incredibly knowledgable, was not incredibly engaging. I did realize that the group was mainly comprised of Jewish people, interested in their history around the world. This did not make the tour any less interesting to me but did make me realize that there is so much to the legacy that I will never truly understand, having been raised a Roman Catholic. My sister, however, was raised Jewish, so I was exposed to the religion and culture from a young age and felt happy to know as much as I did while we walked through the different spots on our tour. The architecture was masterful and the impact of a wall filled with the names of those Czech citizens lost in the Holocaust was profound. (A bit of explanation if you're interested: Because the tour guide was a bit insecure, it did last much longer than necessary but overall I was pleased with how much I learned.

From days bygone to Bohemian beer, we had just about an hour to grab a quick lunch (imperative to our afternoon plans) before hopping on our next adventure... a true Prague necessity... A Beer Tour. This was another recommendation from cute Australian tour guide in Vienna, something that I'm surprised we actually didn't come to on our own while planning the trip. Just like the Austrians are proud and protective of their wine, Czech natives live and breath for their beer. It's a true staple of the culture, something no one would bat an eye at if seen drinking a bit on the way to work in the morning. It's not about the alcohol, it's about the taste and Prague is quite a mecca. We ended up being the only two participants on this tour, making it slightly less ridiculous but certainly more informative. Our guide was a young Irishman who knows quite a lot about his craft. We tasted about 11 different types of beer, stopping at three different breweries around the city. Some of the beers were flavored like banana, cherry, or nettle! We also tasted what is supposedly the strongest beer in Prague X33, which has an alcohol content of 12.6%. While the tour was really a great time, I think my body decided it was pretty much done with beer at this point. As we walked around after the tour in search of a quick bite to eat before our evening engagement, I felt increasingly sick, similar to the effects of food poisoning... Perhaps it was beer poisoning? Perhaps it was extreme dehydration? Perhaps it was the fact that I had been partying daily for the past week? One can never tell, but I was not in top form.

Luckily, our final plans for the day were calmer than most. We had purchased tickets to see the Black Light Theatre of Prague, what promised to be sort of a modern dance performance very popular around the city. Though I was rather uncomfortable via beer sickness, I did enjoy the spectacle of costumes and dancers brought to life by the effects of a black light. There was a mime act in between the dance numbers that was a bit too cheesy for my taste, however. Two guys and a girl playing the cliché story of a police officer consistently thwarted by the hijinks of two wily thieves who all engage in merrymaking slapsticks along the way. It was tolerably amusing the first three times they came out on stage then became progressively more irritating, especially as all I really wanted to do was eat some food and go to bed.

Still, it was a truly satisfying day in this magical city. We decided to hang our party shoes up for the evening and relish in the aftermath of a day filled with accomplishment. The next morning we woke up feeling much better, had our final breakfast at our lovely hotel, and hit the town for some last minute shopping and promenade through the streets. We did a lot of walking in Prague, more than either of the other two cities, and we were very pleased to have had such lovely weather to accompany us. As we sipped our aperol spritzes in view of the Astronomical clock while a jazz band played in the background, we said our farewell to Eastern Europe and clinked our glasses to an amazing holiday.

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