Sunday, September 7, 2014

A lovely warm Friday in Prague.

After our early start yesterday and our late finish we both took the chance to catch up on some sleep! Thankfully the Marriott serves breakfast until 11 ... how civilized!! Mick was up around 8:30 plotting and planning to protect us from all possible future dangers and Elaine enjoyed a significant lie in. After breakfast we chatted with Martina who booked us onto a tour of the Jewish area in the afternoon and sorted a few other things for us. Elaine headed back upstairs to read the SMH on the iPad and catch up on the news of the world and home and Mick found his way to the larger railway station to buy our tickets for the next leg to Berlin for Monday.

After a beer and sausage lunch ("Czech tradition" grinned the vendor to Mick) we found our way, via the really swanky shops in Parizska St. to the meeting with Matthew, a young local Jewish man, an a small group of retired American Jews. They were surprised and pleased to find a couple of Gentiles who would be interested enough to spend three hours finding out about the history of the Jews in Prague, we were surprised at their reaction and felt, if anything, it was a simple manifestation of the insularity of the average American - we muttered something about reading books and education, but felt most welcome (Mick kept nudging Elaine saying : "Don't mention Gaza!").
Matthew was very knowledgeable and pleasant (reminding us of a combination of our Matt and Ben, in a nice sort of way!) and we were immersed into the generally tragic history, the Synagogues, the significant people, the very few buildings which remain, the memorials, photographs and artefacts. It was an extremely "dense" tour in that it really only covered part of one decent city block and yet we enjoyed it very much. I don't know that we will ever truly appreciate the experience of these people but we were very glad that we took the time. Among the memorials, perhaps the most poignant for us, was the display of the children's drawings from Terezin camp which was the staging camp just outside Prague. It made us so very conscious of the children in detention on Manus Island and other places under our present regime back home. Quite chilling!

The day was very warm and sunny - defiinitely a sunscreen and hats day!! - so we repaired for a tourist beer in the front eople-viewing row of the Old Town Square before home for a shower, change and out (on the trams for a change this time!) to a "night spot" called the "Jazz Dock" which is on the river and highly recommended among the hipsters on TripAdvisor etc.
As recommended, we were there early for music that started at 10 pm and we enjoyed an outside table next to the river and a simple, but very adequate and dumpling-free meal and a few drinks. As the music time approached we negotiated the agitation of the young maitre de woman who was suggesting that we needed to go as we did not have a reservation inside. With our finely honed crowd skills we managed a couple of seats at the bar and stayed for most of the first set of "Shalab Toulouie Trio" who blend Persian and flamenco music (they had performed the longest soundcheck in our experience at least an hour an a half! and Shalab looked like Rob Stitch with a goatee ... so we weere a bit distracted). The percussionist was great but Shalab's singing wasn't, so we slipped away into the night.

A tram ride home through different parts of the city, and ice cream and a welcome bed completed  a simple day in Prague! This is a very lovely and entrancing city.

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