Have You Seen Us Lately? Dot Org

RSS Feeds


My Cones Are On Fire!

Yet again, CouchSurfing comes through with a winner! Yesterday we met up with our new friend Anna and spent the night in her flat outside the city center. Today she took us to Karlštejn village which is about a 45 minute train ride southwest of Prague.

Exiting the train station we sampled some of the commie cola that we learned about a few days prior.

It’s sort of like a cross between RC Cola, root beer, and black licorice. You wouldn’t think it, but the advertising teams are fierce up here boy!

After getting our jolt on, we headed up the hill towards the castle.

Upon arrival at the castle gates, we discovered that entrance required a guided tour.

We decided to skip the tour since by now we’ve sort of overdosed on castles and jewels, and instead just continue on our hike along the path, deep into the wilderness.

The colors of the leaves were so vibrant my brain felt over stimulated! I hadn’t experienced a pallet like this since living in Connecticut over 17 years ago. It was nice to truly experience autumn again. If I only I had room in my bag to pack a rake so I could have made a pile of leaves to jump in.

We hiked for over 15 kilometers…

…that’s nearly 10 miles…

…past all kinds of colorful plants…

…and colorless animals…

…until we reached our destination in the city Beroun. We found a nice little resteraunt in the center of the city square where we ate a feast before taking the train back into Prague for our final night in the Czech Republic.

Marketing And Fundraising. 10th Century Style

While you all are probably caught up in the marketing and fundraising going on during these last couple weeks before the general election, we are pondering how it all went down a thousand years ago.

If there is anything thing to praise organized religion for, it’s that they really know how to raise a bunch of money, and they really know how to market their beliefs to the little people — hence allowing them to raise more money. Smart. Real smart. We’ve seen evidence of their success in over 10 counties now, and today we saw yet another impressive representation of their ability for them to finance and build some really amazing structures.

St. Vitus Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral located within Prague Castle that was first built in the year 925.

It has undergone several upgrades since then as has the castle itself. Actually the castle as a whole is sort of ugly in my opinion. From the outside it looks pretty impressive…

…but inside the castle walls it’s a giant hodgepodge of new…

…and old developments all mashed together with no thought whatsoever given to continuity. Here you can see the cathedral in the background with a much more modern building in the foreground, and then some modern art version of an obelisk off to the right. Bleh.

You can still look past the eyesores however and appreciate the beauty of the ancient architectural accomplishments.

As well as the meticulous stained glass craftsmanship that went into the creation of the colorful windows.

It’s not hard to imagine how 1,000 years ago, people could so easily be manipulated into believing there was a higher power, and the church was a direct link to that higher power. I mean for goodness sake, just look at that building! No being of this earth could possibly design this cathedral! Right? I can’t say I really blame the peasants of the day for falling for the scam. Here, take my pence too.

Heck the gods even had the foresight to predict The Empire Strikes Back and foreshadowed it’s creation with this mid evil replica of Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

Damn they’re good!

And if that doesn’t convince you… well then, you just get stabbed and beaten into submission before you start to believe.

On to happier thoughts and images…

Autumn is in full swing and the colors throughout the city are eye-popping!

It’s starting to get cold and gloomy at night now.

Time to start planning our escape to Asia where we can wear shorts again. It’s hard to believe we’ve already been in Europe for 3 months now, and within a couple weeks we’ll be in Hong Kong! That’s just crazy talk!

A Hammer And Sickle

Today’s source of entertainment was a journey back in time to the days of communism in Czechoslovakia.

And what better place to experience what is was like than the Museum of Communism. You know the one… it’s the one located next to the casino, right behind McDonalds. Ya, that communist museum. 🙂

Next to some of the statues and paintings of Marx, Lenin and Stalin…

…were some recreations of environments at the time the communist party was in power. Like this grocery store with a total of 2 kinds of canned food to choose from…

…complete with the advertisement for Kofola, the commie version of cola…

Or this replica of the Berlin Wall

The most disturbing part of the musuem was the recreation of the school house where the description on the wall explained how the children were taught from a very young age how to hate people that had great wealth or ventured outside the norm.

Ahhh, there’s nothing like a good ol’ fashion brain washing to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Of particular interest was that 20 years into the Communist regime the Czech government begin to ease restrictions on freedom of press, art, and speech. This did not please the Soviets, and led to the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, which was designed to crush the liberalizing reforms. Any sign of disapproval of the regime was persecuted by secret police and opposition moved underground or became limited to isolate acts of protest, such as the suicide of Jan Palach, student of Charles University, who lit himself on fire, and burned to death on Prague’s Wenceslas Square in 1969.

R.I.P. Jan!

Maddening March On Prague

Arriving in the Czech Republic was a bit of an adventure (isn’t it always??). We had mapped out our route from the train station to the hostel and according to Google Maps it was less than a kilometer away. Easy. We failed to inform Google however which of the 3 train stations we would be arriving at. So what should have been a short walk, ended up being a disorienting treasure hunt looking at the sides of buildings for street signs.

Looks like we weren’t the only ones looking for a sign.

Eventually we found a tram stop and were able to point ourselves in the right direction towards the hostel. At the hostel we picked up a map and from there on, navigating was a non-issue.

Today we navigated our way through the city center towards the famous 15th century Charles Bridge.

Along the way we encountered numerous stores selling marionettes…

…along with theaters that were advertising puppet shows. Sort of odd, but ok. By far the most impressive store on the ave was this mega-mart-o-matryoshkas.

There was a matryoshka for just about every character known (and unknown) to mankind. From The Simpsons to The Chicago Bulls. You name it. They got it.

After marching across the bridge past some of the statues…

…and street performers…

…we walked up to the bell tower…

…of St. Nicholas Church…

…to take in an amazing view of the city of Prague!

After taking it all in, things started to get a little strange. First of all as we crossed back over the bridge, there was a giant inflatable purple bunny floating down the river past the National Theatre.

The cheshire cat must not be far away.

We didn’t find the cat or a caterpillar, but we did find Vanity, Greed, Death, an infidel and The Apostles all hanging out at the Astronomical Clock.

We hung around until 6pm to watch the animitronic contraption unfold into it’s wild circus of dance.

And if things couldn’t get any more bizarre… on the way back to the metro we heard (and felt) the defening bass of that oh-so-annoying euro house music down a cooridor. Not being ones to ignore our curiosity, we followed the sounds to see where all that noise was coming from. As we drew nearer, we saw some flashing strobe lights, and some local youths dressed in the oddest apparel.

We couldn’t quite figure it out, so we walked along further past colorful vans. Each one more colorful and odd than the one before it…

All of them were just lined up on the street next to old town square. Each van with it’s own unique decorations. And each van with it’s own crowd of about 25 youths trailing behind it. And each van blaring it’s own unique mix of drum-and-bass or other various forms of electronica. The music was so loud I could barely hear myself think. But I was able to find someone that could hear me…

…so I asked him what all the hubub was about. He explained that it was a protest against the goverment for their privacy violation policies involving RFID chips, CCTV cameras, and other various big brother like activites. Now that’s something I can get behind! So I strapped on a pair of stilts and quickly whipped up a head-mounted CCTV cameara out of some cardboard I found in a nearby dumpster and joined the march.

Apparently the way to protest something in Prague is to stand so close to thumping woofers that your heart skips a beat. YEAH!! That’ll show em!

The Archives