Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Across the River Vltava

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After several hours of airborne travel and lingering around airports to catch connecting flights, I finally arrived in Prague on Sunday evening. Barely settling into the apartment, Professor Darling beckoned all of us in the program to join him on a night tour to czech out the city. All bundled up and with camera in hand, several of us decided to brave the cold, the wet, and the grey in order to explore our home for the upcoming month.

We jumped on a tram to Vltavsk√°, then on a metro/subway car until we reached Muzeum, and finally we embarked and began to walk throughout Old Town Prague. The weather quickly bested most of us in the group as we realized that we had not packed for the uncharacteristically cold temperatures, but Darling led us forward and the sights around us slowly improved the mediocre weather.

In Old Town, we passed several lit cathedrals filled with local residents of Prague and global visitors attending Sunday evening mass. Then our group filed beneath the Old Town Bridge Tower, and we found ourselves on a nearly deserted Charles Bridge. Pictured above, the Charles Bridge was constructed from 1357 to 1402 and links two parts of the city across the Vltava River--Old Town and Lesser Town. From the bridge and through the constant rain drizzle, I was able to view an iconic scene of Prague featuring St. Nicholas Church of Lesser Town and Prague Castle. All along the bridge, there are also 30 Baroque statues that honor various saints and serve as ornamentation.

Despite the bitter cold, the unfavorable weather cleared the bridge and much of Old Town Prague, allowing us to walk through the city relatively undisturbed by many of the 8 million tourists who visit each year. I am looking forward to calling this city my home for the next month and hopefully seeing past the general tourist attractions. I hope to explore the various nooks and alcoves of Praha and discover real Czech culture, and a true connection to my own roots.