As amazing as Vienna was, our excitement for Prague was high. A few on the bus had already been so they had told us about the amazing city (and shopping). Firstly however there was a sombre stop at Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
On the drive there we were given a briefing about the camp before shown a documentary. Already we were feeling the misery that was expected for such a terrible place. How can any human treat another like this? It is something that should never be repeated again and I hope no one allows it to happen. Once we arrived we were shown different directions we could go and option of an audio guide. I chose to do the audio guide, not the best idea in this case. I found that the guide gave too many accounts and reportings from the whole camp rather than explain what each room, site and marking meant. It distracted me from what really happened so personally I wouldn’t recommend the guide. There was too much to take in, after I decided to turn off the audio I then had to sit down and just cried! I let it all out. The camp was so quiet and peaceful. No noise except for the birds and occasional skuffling of feet from other visitors. How can it be that only about 70 years or so earlier the quiet would have been bought by absolute terror, the men, woman, children of all races and religions at this site walking to and from their “jobs” in fear of making too much noise which would anger the guards. You could feel every fibre of their presence. I hated it, i felt so much pain and had to get out of there. This all happened in the last century. No way can this ever happen again!
We got back on the bus and all was quiet. No one wanted to talk about what we had just seen and felt. Eventually we snapped out of our shock and started to get excited again for Prague. There was to be a big night out tonight after a walking tour, the group were going to Karlovylazne which is one of the biggest clubs in Europe, five floors all with a different theme. If you’re looking for a massive night out in Prague, this is the place to go! You have your top 40’s, hip hop, old school and even an ice bar. The following day, there were some dazed looks on a few faces. Those who went out last night were still reveling in the madness. Apparently I unfortunately missed out on a great night out.
Now Prague, part of the Czech Republic it was hidden for decades behind the former ‘Iron Curtain’ that was Soviet Rule, once opened up to the rest of the world it boasted a few gems for everyone to see. More than just a killer night life, its gothic spires, grand palaces and charming squares make it perhaps the finest medieval city in Europe. We caught the underground train (such a nice clean train station I must add), to meet with a tram line which would take us up the hill to the Castle District. We had seen a lot of castles by this stage of our trip, but something about them all being in one place made it very interesting (it also made it easier to see them all). Catching glimpses through the crowds of people to see the sites, it was a busy day in central Prague. Being a Sunday, we weren’t able to enter the Cathedral, however it was mighty impressive on the outside and there was a queue of people lined up waiting to go in. Whether they were Catholic or just pretending to so they could go inside, we didn’t want to join in.
We then decided to wander around and try find the Lennon Wall. Since the 80’s this wall has been filled with John Lennon inspired graffiti and messages of hope and peace. Authorities used to paint over the messages, however nothing would stop the young Czech students wanting change to their communist country. When we were there, there was a talented young busker singing Beatles songs for change. It was peaceful, not much “city noise” and everyone visiting for the same reason. I am a big believer in peace and want the world to change so being here was a highlight for me.
After the visiting the wall, we headed off to find some food in the main centre. I decided I was going to eat everything I set my eye on haha, quiche, cinnamon scrolls, macaroons, and a salad. Perhaps I was a bit hungry? It wasn’t like i didn’t have breakfast or anything either! We passed the Astronomical Clock on the way but as it wasn’t “on the hour” it wasn’t doing anything. It was interesting to see though. The third oldest clock in the world built in 1410, on the hour, every hour, a small trap door opens and Christ marches out ahead of his 12 disciples, while the skeleton of death rings a bell to a defiant statue of a Turk, it is 15 century afterall. Below the Clock are 12 medallions with the signs of the zodiac, showing the correct sign for the month. A legend, has it that the clockmaker was blinded by the Prague Councillors so that he could not repeat his work; in turn, he broke down the clock, and no one was able to repair it for the next hundred years. Sassy clock maker!
This city has so much history, and its worth a visit. There is defiantly something for everyone here, I would love to come back soon. Winter during the Christmas markets would be heaven! I think Prague has been such a highlight for this trip. One of my favourite cities so far.