Getting in the Swing of Things
September 9, 2009

Sunday was the last time I was in the city center – I’ve been so busy with course-related work that I haven’t had the chance to do sightseeing during the week.

However, in the span of time from my arrival on Thursday until the end of the weekend, I was able to visit some of the most beautiful man-made sights of history.

Wenceslas Square, facing the statue from a distance

Despite my jetlag and consequential late sleep, I went with my roomate Amanda on Friday to visit the city center for the first time.  Ascending from the Metro station, the first thing I saw was the famous statue of St. Wenceslas in the square (rectangle, actually) bearing his name.  Wow.  I was really in Prague.  That’s when it hit me for the first time.  For those of you who aren’t Czech enthusiasts, St. Wenceslas is the Bohemian patron saint; he was martyred by his brother Boleslav on the Feast of Sts. Cosmas & Damian on his was to church.   And I saw his statue!

From there, we walked to Old Town Square which is a tourist mainstay, and rightfully so.  This medieval town center is home to the great Astronomical Clock to which tourists flock at the top of every hour for a brief show of pre-industrial ingenuity.  I still haven’t caught it at the right time – someday.  Ambling around the city center on the East side of the Vltava river, we snuck a peak into the Old Jewish Cemetary and I had my first Czech pivo (beer) along with fruit dumplings in a nearby restaurant.Charles Bridge and Rudolfinum taken from Kampa Island

Finally, after much walking, I had my first glimpse of the Charles Bridge.  I’d been waiting to traverse this bridge for years now.  Built in 1357 by Bohemian King/Holy Roman Emporer Charles IV, it now features statues of Bohemian saints and public figure.  These statues were added relatively recently, many  in the 18th and 19th centuries.

I went to Sunday Mass at Our Lady Victorious Church in Mala Strana (Little Quarter) where the original Infant of Prague statue can be found.  I don’t know much, but many miracles have been attributed to the small statue of Our Lord as a child.  The church itself was not huge, smaller than St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.  The Infant was in a glass case on an altar on the right side of the church, surrounded by pilgrims lining up to pray behind the circle of kneelers encircling it.The Infant of Prague Statue

Yesterday was my first day of teaching – already!  I knew that I’d be teaching that soon, but it felt so sudden!  It went rather well, and I felt rather comfortable speaking with the class and guiding practice.  My presentation and clarification of grammar was weak, but it was my first lesson, so I am optimistic about potential future improvements.  Tomorrow I’m going to be doing a listening lesson, through the context of “school days”.  Hopefully it will pan out well.  Tomorrow evening, I hope to [finally] go to the city center again, maybe see a sight/museum, and go to Tesco for a surge protector and a Citibank atm for some czech crowns.  I wish banks would be open during the evenings or at least Saturday mornings here!  My classmates and I may try to make plans to get together for a pivo on Friday orsightseeing on Saturday.  I want to see more of Prague, but we have lots of assignments and lesson planning coming up! Wow!  Wish me good luck!  Here’s hoping everything is going swimmingly back in the US. – Ahoj! (“bye” in Czech)

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