Notes from a Day in Prague

The following are excerpts from the journal entry on the last day of my trip to Prague, Czech Republic. Originally written March 17, 2008

I set out early today to catch the Charles Bridge before it got packed. It wasn’t raining before I left but it’s coming down fairly steady now. Without proper sunlight the photos at Charles were a bust. However, I should get some neat ones around the Jewish Quarter, particularly in the cemetery. Now its off to the US Embassy (AKA MacDonald’s).

“Abeles, Adolf-1942…”

“The end of the 18th Century saw a fundamental change in the social status of Jews in the Habsburg Empire. The reforms inaugurated during the enlightened absolutist reign of Joseph II were directed at the creation of a strong centralist state…”

I stopped in a touristy pizza joint for two reasons: 1) I’ve had a terrible stomach, and if I’m going to pay to shit, I might as well do it on a nice toilet and 2) pizza sounds real good at the moment.
The Jewish Quarter was quite extraordinary. The holocaust has never quite hit so close to home as when I saw my family’s name (Abeles) in red letters as victims of the Nazi regime. And yet, I don’t feel as if I feel enough. Not just in this case either; I go along with life in a highly scientific, almost disconnected, non-emotive state. Stephanie noted as much the other night.

The rest of the day was somewhat uneventful, apart for (FINALLY!) getting my rucksack (!!!) I immediately showered and shaved and changed my underwear. It was glorious. Of course, now I feel that I’ve overpacked.

Other than that (as the man at the desk put it) “surprise” I made one last venture into the city. Unfortunately the museum of the city of Prague was closed. It was bitingly cold, even while donning my much-missed double-layered hoodie, and I just did not have the energy or desire to fight the weather an longer. Prague was great to me and I hope to be back one day. Now it’s off for one last Czech meal and then on to Budapest!

Minutes later, At the Restaurant
I don’t know why, but I just feel comfortable in the Czech Republic, despite not speaking a word of Czech. It’s weird, some places just feel right. As a point of contrast, I never felt at this home in Japan.

Meanwhile, there is a music video playing with some crazy shit going on—some old dude just sprouted peacock feathers! The people aren’t overly kind or friendly, nor are they rude or grumpy, they are just unpretentious and living their lives. I like that. I can relate to that.

 22:14-On the Train to Budapest
I have a cushy bottom bunk with two friendly Korean girls en tow. A huge improvement over the psycho, drunk, probably-descended-from-Nazis Austrian that I encountered last time. The train is nearly empty, a bit spooky actually. My companions are scared out of their wits. Traveling can be scary at times, certainly. I’ve found a lot of people don’t like traveling by train, especially at night. However, I’ve always quite enjoyed it.

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